The Atlanta Injury News Blog

Personal Injury Lawsuits in Media Can Lead to Betrayal Effect

When consumers learn of an unsafe product, either due to a lawsuit or product recall, it can lead to the inclination of declining to use a product that is actually very safe. ABA Journal cites an example of this "betrayal effect" from a study conducted by Northwestern law professor Jonathan Koehler and University of Texas marketing professor Andrew Gershoff.

The study asked test subjects to choose between two cars: one had an airbag that was less likely to save a life in a serious accident; the other had an airbag that was more likely to save a life in a serious accident, but had a minuscule chance of causing death. Most participants chose the first option and avoided the airbag that is generally the safer choice.

Stories in the media say that many drug medications are now being voluntarily recalled, including the Johnson & Johnson products Tylenol and Benadryl. Yet it's important to note that the recall is only a precautionary measure because the company says that they're in the midst of reviewing their manufacturing process and safety procedures. According to, Johnson & Johnson has stated that it is not likely that any of the recalled products are actually tainted in any way.

Perhaps consumers shouldn't fear taking allergy relief or pain relief medicine just because of a voluntarily recall. Furthermore, consumers should try to avoid becoming a victim of the betrayal effect and look further into product recalls and product liability suits. After all, emotions should not get in the way of rational decision making.

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