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When Your World Must Be Defended: Choosing Products to Justify the System

Keisha M. Cutright, Eugenia C. Wu, Jillian C. Banfield, Aaron C. Kay and Gavan J. Fitzsimons
Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 38, No. 1 (June 2011), pp. 62-77
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.1086/658469
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/658469
Page Count: 16
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When Your World Must Be Defended: Choosing Products to Justify the System
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Abstract

Consumers are often strongly motivated to view themselves as part of a legitimate and fair external system. Our research focuses on how individuals adopt distinct ways of defending their system when it is threatened and, in particular, how this is revealed in their consumption choices. We find that although individuals differ in how confident they are in the legitimacy of their system, they do not differ in their motivation to defend the system when it is threatened. Instead, they simply adopt different methods of defense. Specifically, when an important system is (verbally) attacked, individuals who are the least confident in the legitimacy of the system seek and appreciate consumption choices that allow them to indirectly and subtly defend the system. Conversely, individuals who are highly confident in the system reject indirect opportunities of defense and seek consumption choices that allow them to defend the system in direct and explicit ways.

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