AI-powered recommendations: the roles of perceived similarity and psychological distance on persuasion

Jungyong Ahn, Jungwon Kim, Yongjun Sung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Artificial intelligence (AI) plays various roles in our daily lives, such as personal assistant, salesperson, and virtual counselors; thus, it stands out in various fields as a recommendation agent. This study explored the effects of perceived similarity and psychological distance on the persuasion of AI recommendation agents through two experiments. Results of Experiment 1 elucidated that individuals feel more psychologically distant when they interact with AI recommendation agents than with human agents as a result of a different level of perceived similarity. Furthermore, psychological distance plays a mediating role in determining the effectiveness of desirability- vs. feasibility-focused messages in health-related issues. In Experiment 2, we manipulated the AI speaker's level of perceived similarity via anthropomorphism and found that the AI's recommendation with secondary (vs. primary) features is more effective when AI is humanized, and the reverse was found in non-humanized AI conditions. Both theoretical and managerial implications are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1366-1384
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Advertising
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Ministry of education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2019S1A3A2099973).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Advertising Association.


  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • anthropomorphism
  • construal level theory (CLT)
  • psychological distance
  • recommendation agent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Marketing


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