Autonomy and control: How political ideology shapes the use of artificial intelligence

Yuanyuan Cui, Auckland University of Technology
Patrick van Esch, Kennesaw State University


Leveraging the context of artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled checkouts (e.g., Grab-and-Go checkouts), we show that, across four studies, consumer response depends on their political identity salience: consumers with higher political identity salience (vs. the uninvolved) evaluate and respond to retailers using AI-enabled checkouts more favorably compared with self-service kiosks. Moreover, among these consumers, we propose and find political ideology as a boundary condition; liberals prefer AI-enabled over self-service checkouts, whereas conservatives are indifferent. Utilizing an autonomy-based model, we demonstrate that liberal consumers' greater preference for AI-enabled checkouts is driven by experiences of autonomy, which then elicits approach emotions.