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Title: Do clothes make the man? Three essays on choice and possession in relation to consumers' self-concept.
Other Titles: Do clothes make the man? Three essays on choice and possession in relation to consumers' self-concept.
Authors: Claus, Bart
Issue Date: 26-Jun-2014
Abstract: A person’s self-concept is an idea – a mental aggregate of perceived attributes of herself. Literature shows that possessions and consumer choices are important contributors to, and reflections of this self-concept. Consumer choices might provide concrete, observable proof as instantiations of an otherwise abstract mental image that is a self-concept. This proof might be all the more evident in the case where a choice culminates into a durable bond between a person and a tangible object, which is the case when a choice becomes a possession. This dissertation is therefore situated at the interplay of these three: the self-concept, consumer choice, and possessions. In a first essay, we reinterpret psychological ownership based on a construal level theory account to show that possessions are psychologically more close than identical items not owned. In a second essay, and given the close connection between choices and the self, we find that communicating these choices to others in the form of advice can be a source of self-threat when the advice is not followed. A last essay finds that choice situations offering options that pose a threat to the stability of self-views invoke compensatory behavior to counteract that threat.
Table of Contents: GENERAL INTRODUCTION 1
THE SELF-CONCEPT AND THE ROLE OF CONSUMPTION AND POSSESSIONS IN SUPPORTING IT 2
INTRODUCTION TO ESSAY 1 8
INTRODUCTION TO ESSAY 2 10
INTRODUCTION TO ESSAY 3 11
ESSAY 1: A BIRD IN THE HAND IS CLOSE, NOW, CERTAIN, AND YOURS: OWNERSHIP AS PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTANCE 15
INTRODUCTION 16
CONCEPTUAL BACKGROUND 17
HYPOTHESIS DEVELOPMENT 18
STUDY 1 21
STUDY 2 31
STUDY 3 34
GENERAL DISCUSSION 36
ESSAY 2: THE IDENTITY-THREATENING NATURE OF REFERRAL FAILURE 43
INTRODUCTION 44
REFERRAL FAILURE AS IDENTITY THREAT 45
PREFACE TO THE PRESENT STUDIES 48
STUDY 1 49
STUDY 2 51
STUDY 3 54
STUDY 4 59
GENERAL DISCUSSION 62
ESSAY 3: RISK COMPENSATION IN CONSUMER CHOICE 69
INTRODUCTION 70
CONCEPTUAL BACKGROUND 70
STUDY 1 74
STUDY 2 78
GENERAL DISCUSSION 79
GENERAL CONCLUSIONS 83
THE SELF AND POSSESSIONS 83
SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION OF THE FINDINGS 84
CLOSING THOUGHTS 89
REFERENCES 91
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: TH
Appears in Collections:Research Centre for Marketing and Consumer Science, Leuven

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