Self-affirmation through the choice of highly aesthetic products

Claudia Townsend, Sanjay Sood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Scopus citations

Abstract

Just as good looks bestow an unconscious "beauty premium" on people, high aesthetics bestows an unrecognized benefit on consumer goods. Specifically, choosing a product with good design affirms the consumer's sense of self. Choice of a highly aesthetic product was compared with choice of products superior on other attributes including function, brand, and hedonics to show that only aesthetics influences a consumer's personal values. In study 1 a prior self-affirming task leads to a decrease in choice share of a highly aesthetic option. Studies 2 and 3 mimic prior research on self-affirmation with, however, choice of a highly aesthetic product replacing a traditional self-affirmation manipulation. Choosing a product with good design resulted in increased openness to counter-attitudinal arguments and reduced propensity to escalate commitment toward a failing course of action. There are numerous implications of this form of self-affirmation, from public policy to retail therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-428
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2012

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Anthropology

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