Free Smiles are Worth a lot for Social Media Influencers: The Mediating Roles of Warmth, Competence, and Admiration
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.
Abstract: This research examines how visual representation of social media influencers affects perceptions and attitudes toward influencers and their persuasive messages. Using the theoretical frameworks of the Stereotype Content Model (SCM) and the Behaviors from Interpersonal Affect and Stereotypes (BIAS) Map, Study 1 demonstrated that influencers with broad smiles were perceived as warmer and more competent and evaluated more positively than those with closed smiles. Study 2 revealed that warmth and competence judgments led to admiration toward the smiling influencers, which in turn resulted in positive attitudinal and behavioral responses to their persuasive messages. By investigating the mediating effects of judgments and emotional responses toward influencers, this study reveals social cognitive mechanisms underlying psychological processing of influencer messaging.