Do You Read Those Click-Through Agreements?

How often do you read every word of those click-through agreements (CTA) when you are registering new software or completing other online contracts?  A recent issue of Law and Human Behavior presented the results of two studies aimed aimed at empirically measuring the extent of non-readership of click-through agreements (CTAs), identifying the dominant beliefs about CTAs contributing to non-readership, and experimentally manipulating these beliefs to decrease automatic non-reading behavior and enhance contract efficiency.  In the initial questionnaire study (Study 1), as predicted, the vast majority of participants reported not reading CTAs and the most prevalent beliefs about CTAs contributing to nonreadership included: they are too long and time-consuming, they are all the same, they give one no choice but to agree, they are irrelevant, and vendors are generally reputable. Manipulating these beliefs on a simulated music website (Study 2) revealed an increase in readership. In addition, CTA comprehension and CTA rejection rates were both increased significantly by manipulating the length of the CTA. These results demonstrate support for the influence of widely held beliefs about CTAs on contract readership, provide evidence against the common “limited cognition” perspective on non-readership, and suggest that presenting CTAs in a short, readable format can increase CTA read-ership and comprehension as well as shopping of CTA terms.

For the abstract.

Related Stories

  • When Children Testify About Aubse
  • When a Loved One Commits Suicide
  • Stories I've Been Following


The information provided on the is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

PsyWeb Poll

Are you currently taking or have you ever been prescribed anti-depressants?
Total votes: 3979