To Self-Enhance or Self-Verify? How Cognitive Cost of Decision-making Influences Product Preference for Low Self-Esteem Consumer

  • Hoi Ching Michelle CHAN (Speaker)

Activity: Talks or Presentations › Other Invited Talks or Presentations


One of the core stones in marketing is that consumers use different products to build and manage their self-images. Traditional view in marketing suggests that consumers want to increase positivity of their self-images, therefore they are attached to products associated with favorable user image and avoid to consume products connected with unfavorable user images. Notably, a recent paper from Stuppy and her colleagues (2020) suggested that the mentioned selfenhancing ‘motivation should only be applicable to consumers with high self-esteem, whereas those with low self-esteem would rather pursue the self-verification motivation and prefers inferior product, symbolizing a less positive consumer image, over superior products. In this paper, we aim to investigate and demonstrate a boundary condition by proposing the role of product choice difficulty in influencing how low self-esteem consumers choose a superior vs. an inferior product. Specifically, we propose that low self-esteem consumers would pursue a self-enhancement motive when as choice becomes more cognitively difficult. Consequently, their choice between a superior and an inferior product would depend on the relative strength between a self-enhancement and a self-verification motive. A total of four studies, including two pilot studies and two full studies, provided supports for our theoretical framework.
Period8 Apr 2021
Event titlePostgraduate Seminar Series
Event typePublic Lecture