Title

Cuing Consumerism: Situational Materialism Undermines Personal and Social Well-Being

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

3-2012

Abstract

Correlational evidence indicates that materialistic individuals experience relatively low levels of well-being. Across four experiments, we found that situational cuing can also trigger materialistic mind-sets, with similarly negative personal and social consequences. Merely viewing desirable consumer goods resulted in increases in materialistic concerns and led to heightened negative affect and reduced social involvement (Experiment 1). Framing a computer task as a “Consumer Reaction Study” led to a stronger automatic bias toward values reflecting self-enhancement, compared with framing the same task as a “Citizen Reaction Study” (Experiment 2). Consumer cues also increased competitiveness (Experiment 3) and selfishness in a water-conservation dilemma (Experiment 4). Thus, the costs of materialism are not localized only in particularly materialistic people, but can also be found in individuals who happen to be exposed to environmental cues that activate consumerism—cues that are commonplace in contemporary society.

Keywords

Consumerism, materialism, situationism, social engagement, well-being, personal values

Discipline

Marketing

Research Areas

Marketing

Publication

Psychological Science

Volume

23

Issue

5

First Page

517

Last Page

523

ISSN

0956-7976

Identifier

10.1177/0956797611429579

Publisher

Association for Psychological Science

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1177/0956797611429579

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