Forced Exposure and Psychological Reactance: Antecedents and Consequences of the Perceived Intrusiveness of Pop-Up Ads
The idea that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction has been termed reactance in psychology literature. Reactance theory is a social psychological theory that explains human behavior in response to the perceived loss of freedom in an environment (Brehm 1966). Reactance is postulated to be experienced in response to the environment and used to help persons reestablish freedom and control of a situation. When there is a threat to a person's freedom, that person will attempt to restore the freedom by exhibiting opposition or resisting pressures to conform (Brehm and Brehm 1981). Similarly, consumers have been shown to interpret commercial messages actively and react against threats of persuasion to further their own goals. This chapter explores Web surfers' reactions when they are forced to view advertising. Reactance may be especially important in light of new advertising delivery techniques developed for the Internet, such as pop-up ads.