The placebo effect in web-based personalization

Cong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Prior studies on web-based personalization have discussed various ways to personalize a message by incorporating the message recipient's characteristic information in the message content. The current research argues that personalization effects depend not only on message content, but also on message context. Using the placebo effect framework, it is demonstrated through an experiment that a personalized message is more effective than a non-personalized message when the message receiver “expects” it to. When the person has no such expectancy, however, a personalized message does not outperform a non-personalized message. This placebo effect in personalization is especially salient for individuals with a lower level of need for uniqueness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101267
JournalTelematics and Informatics
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • Expectancy
  • Need for uniqueness
  • Personalization
  • Personalized communication
  • Placebo effect
  • Priming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Law


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