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Egocentric Categorization and Product Judgment: Seeing Your Traits in What You Own (and Their Opposite in What You Don’t)

Liad Weiss and Gita V. Johar
Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 40, No. 1 (June 2013), pp. 185-201
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.1086/669330
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/669330
Page Count: 17
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Egocentric Categorization and Product Judgment: Seeing Your Traits in What You Own (and Their Opposite in What You Don’t)
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Abstract

Previous research uses categorization principles to analyze the interplay between individuals and groups. The present research uniquely employs categorization principles to analyze the interplay between individuals and products. It proposes that consumers classify owned (but not unowned) products as integral to their personal self (experiment 1). Consequently, consumers judge product traits (e.g., masculinity) as consistent with their own traits (assimilation) if they own the product, but as inconsistent with their own traits (contrast) if they interact with the product but do not own it, even when owning the product is nondiagnostic of its properties (e.g., following random ownership assignment; experiments 2–4). For example, less creative consumers who enter a drawing for an iPhone may judge it as less creative (assimilation) if they win the product, but as more creative (contrast) if they do not win the product. Moderators of these effects are identified, and their theoretical and substantive implications are discussed.

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