ArticlePDF Available

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


Abstract and Figures

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.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Psychological Science
The online version of this article can be found at:
DOI: 10.1177/0956797611429579
2012 23: 517 originally published online 16 March 2012Psychological Science
Monika A. Bauer, James E. B. Wilkie, Jung K. Kim and Galen V. Bodenhausen
Cuing Consumerism : Situational Materialism Undermines Personal and Social Well-Being
Published by:
On behalf of:
Association for Psychological Science
can be found at:Psychological ScienceAdditional services and information for Alerts:
What is This?
- Mar 16, 2012OnlineFirst Version of Record
- May 14, 2012Version of Record >>
at NORTHWESTERN UNIV LIBRARY on September 7, 2012pss.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Psychological Science
23(5) 517 –523
© The Author(s) 2012
Reprints and permission:
DOI: 10.1177/0956797611429579
Materialism can be defined as a value system that is preoccu-
pied with possessions and the social image they project.
Veblen (1899) argued that for many people, social status is
defined by possessions, and that this definition produces an
endless drive to acquire ever more impressive belongings.
Attempting to derive a sense of self-worth from materialistic
pursuits appears, however, to be a dubious proposition. Indeed,
a wide variety of correlational studies indicates that individu-
als who score higher in materialism evince lower levels of
mental and physical well-being (for reviews, see Burroughs &
Rindfleisch, 2002; Kasser, 2002). For example, Kasser and
Ryan (1993, 1996) found that more materialistic individuals
showed lower levels of psychological adjustment and social
functioning. More materialistic values also predict higher lev-
els of anxiety and unhappiness (Kasser & Ahuvia, 2002) and
are associated with lower-quality social relationships (Kasser
& Ryan, 1993, 2001).
Although this literature has produced rich insights, its
correlational nature raises two issues worth further consider-
ation. First, there is the matter of causality; it could be the case
that materialism is a consequence of personal dysfunction,
rather than vice versa. For example, attachment to possessions
could arise as a compensation strategy among individuals with
social-affiliation deficits (Clark et al., 2011; Lastovicka &
Sirianni, 2011). Experimental evidence would help to bolster
the case that materialism undermines well-being. Second, the
individual differences perspective on materialism could be
usefully augmented by research investigating situational fac-
tors that can activate materialistic thinking. It may be that
many individuals, in the right circumstances, will adopt a
materialistic mind-set, possibly to their personal or social det-
riment. Experiments manipulating potential situational trig-
gers of materialistic mind-sets are needed to explore these
Culturally omnipresent consumer cues are obvious candi-
dates for serving as triggers of situational materialism. Con-
sider advertising. Although estimates of the average number
of daily exposures to advertisements vary greatly, one of the
most widely accepted estimates is 245 daily exposures (accord-
ing to the Advertising Media Internet Community, 1997).
Contemplating the desirable goods in advertisements may be a
Corresponding Author:
Galen V. Bodenhausen, Department of Psychology, Northwestern
University, 2029 Sheridan Rd., Evanston, IL 60208
Cuing Consumerism: Situational
Materialism Undermines Personal and
Social Well-Being
Monika A. Bauer, James E. B. Wilkie, Jung K. Kim,
and Galen V. Bodenhausen
Northwestern University
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 consumerismcues that are commonplace in contemporary society.
consumerism, materialism, situationism, social engagement, well-being, personal values
Received 7/15/11; Revision accepted 10/20/11
Research Article
at NORTHWESTERN UNIV LIBRARY on September 7, 2012pss.sagepub.comDownloaded from
518 Bauer et al.
common route to the activation of materialistic mind-sets.
Another common media practice is using the term consumers
to refer generically to the public (as opposed to using other
potential generic terms, such as Americans or citizens). A
news story about American income-tax rates, for example,
might focus on the impact of contemplated tax hikes on “con-
sumers.” By framing the news in terms of its relevance to a
consumer identity, these messages may directly activate a con-
sumption mind-set in the audience. In the studies that follow,
we developed experimental manipulations analogous to these
features of everyday life situations to investigate whether such
manipulations would situationally activate materialistic think-
ing and the unsavory social and psychological consequences
with which dispositional materialism has previously been
The possibility that materialistic mind-sets could have an
immediate adverse impact on well-being is suggested by
research showing that when particular values are situationally
activated, an ensemble of corresponding values are likely to be
co-activated, while incompatible values are inhibited (Maio,
Pakizeh, Cheung, & Rees, 2009). Building on evidence that
values can be classified into 10 broad categories that are
related to one another in a circumplex structure (Schwartz,
1992), Maio et al. found that activating values in one portion
of the circumplex resulted in collateral activation of neighbor-
ing values, but inhibited values on the opposite side of the cir-
cumplex. Materialism should activate values in Schwartz’s
self-enhancement quadrant, which focuses on wealth, achieve-
ment, power, and status; at the same time, it should deactivate
values in the self-transcendence category, which prioritize
concerns about other people. Feelings of dissatisfaction may
arise from this pattern for at least two reasons. First, as Veblen
(1899) argued, activation of materialistic thinking is likely to
elicit a vicious cycle in which one feels continuously dissatis-
fied relative to individuals who own more (Ordapayeva &
Chandon, 2011). Second, if materialism deactivates social
engagement, it could undermine momentary feelings of
belonging that have proven to be of central importance to
well-being (Baumeister & Leary, 1995; Helliwell & Putnam,
Experiment 1
Our first experiment examined whether common indicators of
impaired well-being previously shown to be related to disposi-
tional materialism—namely, negative affect and low social
engagement—would be susceptible to influence by situation-
ally induced materialism. A pilot study was conducted to
determine whether presenting depictions of luxury goods can
activate materialistic strivings. Specifically, 47 undergradu-
ates were randomly assigned to view a series of either 24
images of luxury goods (e.g., electronics, jewelry, cars, cloth-
ing) or 24 images of natural scenes devoid of consumer
products, and to rate their pleasantness. Then, as part of an
ostensibly unrelated study, participants completed a series of
questionnaire items (using 9-point response scales) that
included portions of the Aspiration Index (Grouzet et al.,
2005) that are commonly used to assess materialistic concerns
(i.e., the Money, Social Image, and Popularity subscales). As
shown in Table 1, the pilot study confirmed that exposure to
desirable consumer goods increased materialistic aspirations.
In Experiment 1, we sought to determine whether these same
images could undermine mood and social engagement.
Participants. Fifty undergraduates (28 female, 22 male; mean
age = 18.84 years) participated as part of a requirement for
their introductory psychology course.
Procedure and materials. Participants were seated in private
cubicles. They were told that, prior to the main study, they
would be asked to rate the pleasantness of visual stimuli that
were being considered for possible use in research on visual
perception. Participants were randomly assigned to view the
same 24 images of luxury consumer goods used in the pilot
study (consumer-cue condition) or 24 images categorized as
neutral in valence in the International Affective Picture Sys-
tem (Lang, Bradley, & Cuthbert, 2008; control condition).
Thus, the images in the consumer-cue condition were rated
more pleasant than those in the control condition, but given
our prediction of greater negative affect in the consumer-cue
condition, this difference in stimulus pleasantness worked
against obtaining support for our hypothesis.
The “main study” consisted of questionnaires that included
items from the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS;
Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988) and a measure of preference
for social involvement. The PANAS items required participants
to rate the extent to which they were feeling a series of emo-
tional states at the present moment, on a scale from 1 (very
slightly) to 5 (extremely). Nine items, including sad and happy
(reverse-scored), assessed depressed affect (α = .84); seven
items, including nervous and distressed, assessed anxiety (α =
.90); and three items, including guilty and ashamed, assessed
self-dissatisfaction (α = .67). Preference for social involvement
was measured by asking participants to indicate what percent-
age of their free time they would like to allocate to various activ-
ities. The list included social activities (e.g., participating in a
student group, going to parties) and nonsocial ones (e.g., read-
ing, watching television); we summed the percentages allocated
to the social activities to create an overall index of desire for
social involvement.
Results and discussion
Participants in the consumer-cue condition reported signifi-
cantly higher levels of depressed affect and anxious affect
(and marginally greater self-dissatisfaction) than participants
in the control condition (see Table 1). In addition, they
expressed significantly lower preferences for social activities
at NORTHWESTERN UNIV LIBRARY on September 7, 2012pss.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Cuing Consumerism 519
(see Table 1). Thus, situational exposure to stimuli that elicit
materialistic mind-sets was indeed associated with the same
indicators of lower well-being seen in studies of dispositional
Experiment 2
Our second experiment was designed to expand the prior find-
ings in two ways. First, we investigated a different situational
cue to materialism by employing a task-framing manipulation
analogous to the media’s consumer-framing of the daily news.
Specifically, we framed the experiment as a study of “consumer
reactions” (or, in a control condition, “citizen reactions”). Sec-
ond, we went beyond self-report measures to see whether mate-
rialistic mind-sets can also influence automatic reactions. We
used the Evaluative Movement Assessment (EMA; Brendl,
Markman, & Messner, 2005) to measure automatic evaluative
impulses toward various personal values, particularly values
that are central to materialism. To gauge automatic evaluative
impulses, the EMA takes advantage of the tendency to approach
positive stimuli and avoid negative stimuli. We examined
whether participants’ automatic evaluative reactions to terms
signaling materialistic values (i.e., words related to social status,
success, wealth, etc.) would become more positive after expo-
sure to a consumer cue. On an exploratory basis, we also mea-
sured participants’ reactions to several other types of values.
Participants. Fifty-eight undergraduates (37 female, 21 male;
mean age = 19.7 years) participated, receiving $12 for the
completion of two unrelated studies; the present study always
came first.
Procedure and materials. Participants completed the ex-
periment at individual computer stations. The experimental
manipulation was conveyed by the initial task instructions, to
which participants were randomly assigned. In the consumer-
cue condition, the heading for the instructions was “Consumer
Reaction Study,” and the stated purpose of the study was to see
“how well consumers can rapidly categorize objects.” At the
end of the instructions, participants were asked to confirm
their eligibility for the study by checking a box indicating that
they were “an American consumer.” In the control condition,
everything was the same except that the word “consumer” was
always replaced with “citizen.”
Table 1. Effects of Consumer Cues on Participants’ Responses in Experiments 1 Through 4
condition Control condition Comparison of conditions
Experiment and dependent
measure M SD M SD t p d
Pilot study
Materialistic aspirations 5.07 1.07 4.23 1.05 t(45) = 2.70 .01 0.74
Experiment 1
Depressed affect 2.65 0.73 2.29 0.53 t(48) = 2.00 .05 0.55
Anxious affect 2.02 0.90 1.41 0.46 t(48) = 2.98 .004 0.78
Dissatisfaction with self 1.82 0.87 1.42 0.62 t(48) = 1.89 .065 0.51
Hours allocated to social
activities (%)
31 7 38 12 t(43) = –2.38 .02 0.70
Experiment 2
EMA: self-enhancement score 94.28 125.09 18.19 123.90 t(56) = 2.33 .02 0.59
Experiment 3
Competitiveness 4.79 1.08 4.20 1.26 t(64) = 2.04 .05 0.49
High-investment socializing 3.46 0.68 3.77 0.56 t(64) = –2.05 .04 0.48
Low-investment socializing 4.42 0.40 4.14 0.74 t(64) = 1.99 .05 0.47
Experiment 4
Feelings of responsibility 5.21 1.51 5.87 1.26 t(76) = –2.12 .04 0.47
Feelings of obligation 5.44 1.39 5.82 1.25 t(76) = –1.28 .20 0.29
Trust in other people 4.08 1.56 5.33 1.30 t(76) = –3.86 .001 0.80
Viewing other people
as partners
4.69 1.42 5.49 1.47 t(76) = –2.43 .02 0.53
Believing other people should
use less water
3.56 1.77 3.13 1.64 t(76) = 1.13 .26 0.25
Note: Variation in the degrees of freedom in Experiment 1 is due to missing data for one measure. EMA = Evaluative Move-
ment Assessment (Brendl, M arkman, & Messner, 2005).
at NORTHWESTERN UNIV LIBRARY on September 7, 2012pss.sagepub.comDownloaded from
520 Bauer et al.
After being oriented to the task in one of these ways, par-
ticipants were asked to complete the EMA procedure. They
were first given a list of the task stimuli, which fell into three
focal categories: positive emotion words (e.g., happy), nega-
tive emotion words (e.g., sad), and non-emotion words.
Although not described as such to the participants, the words
in the latter category reflected a variety of social values.
Of primary interest were words reflecting self-enhancement
values (i.e., wealth, image, success, power, competitive). We
also included words relating to conservative self-restraint
(i.e., moderation, discipline, obedience, frugal, humble), to
self-transcendence (i.e., honest, equality, helpful), and to
self-indulgence (i.e., pleasure, enjoyment, indulgence, thrill).
Participants were allowed to study the list until they under-
stood which stimuli belonged to each of the three focal
To begin the EMA task, participants typed their name into
a box. Then, they completed a simple categorization task that
consisted of five blocks of trials. On each trial, participants
saw their own name alongside one of the experimental stimuli
(i.e., a positive emotion word, a negative emotion word, or a
value-relevant word). Whether the stimulus appeared to the
left or to the right of the participant’s own name was deter-
mined randomly. Participants were asked to move the stimulus
word toward their name if it was a positive emotion word, and
to move the word away from their name if it was a negative
emotion word; they did so by pushing the left button on a
response pad to move the stimulus to the left, and the right
button to move it to the right. Instructions regarding the value-
relevant words varied by trial block.
In the first block, value-relevant words were not presented.
In the second block, participants were instructed to move
value-relevant words away from their name. Following the
standard procedure (Brendl et al., 2005), we provided error
feedback after anticipation responses (less than 100 ms fol-
lowing stimulus onset), late responses (more than 3,000 ms
after stimulus onset), and responses in the wrong direction.
Having familiarized themselves with the procedure for mov-
ing value-relevant words away from their name, participants
completed the third block of trials using the same instructions.
In the fourth block, participants were told to use a new rule
regarding the value-relevant words, which should instead be
moved toward their name. After practicing this response pat-
tern in the fourth block, they completed the fifth, and final,
block using these new instructions. Within each block, presen-
tation order of the word stimuli was randomized, with the con-
straint that each stimulus appeared three times. Thus, in the
critical blocks, participants responded to each of the value
words three times (i.e., they moved each word away from their
name three times in Block 3 and toward their name three times
in Block 5). To the extent that participants had a positive eval-
uative impulse toward a given value term, response times for
moving it toward their name should have been shorter than
response times for moving it away from their name (see Brendl
et al., 2005).
Results and discussion
After excluding trials on which participants responded incor-
rectly, we determined each participant’s mean response time
for each item, separately for each movement direction (toward
vs. away from name), and an EMA score was computed by
subtracting the mean of the “toward” response times from the
mean of the “away” response times. The larger the difference
score, the more positive the evaluative impulse toward that
stimulus. We then computed average scores for each of the
four types of value items (self-enhancement, self-restraint,
self-transcendence, and self-indulgence). These scores were
analyzed as a function of the task-framing manipulation.
Although there were no significant or marginal effects
involving the exploratory value categories, the critical, focal
category of self-enhancement values showed the expected
effect (see Table 1). Specifically, participants were faster to
“approach” words reflecting materialistic values, such as
wealth, image, and success, when the categorization task was
framed as dealing with consumer reactions, compared with
when the same task was framed as dealing with citizen reac-
tions. Thus, situationally activated consumer cues can reorient
automatic response tendencies, bringing them into greater
alignment with materialistic concerns.
Experiment 3
In Veblen’s (1899) influential analysis of materialism, the
human tendency toward acquisitiveness and conspicuous con-
sumption reflects a competitive jockeying for social status
(e.g., Ordapayeva & Chandon, 2011). Critiques of consumer
economies have emphasized their tendency to engender com-
petitive rather than cooperative social orientations (Kasser,
Cohn, Kanner, & Ryan, 2007). In our third experiment, we
directly examined the effects of consumer cues on feelings of
interpersonal competitiveness. In addition, we utilized a dif-
ferent manipulation of consumer cues. This time, we relied on
a common experimental procedure for priming mind-sets: the
scrambled-sentences task (e.g., Srull & Wyer, 1979).
Participants. Sixty-six undergraduates (42 female, 24 male;
mean age = 19.0 years) participated as part of a requirement
for their introductory psychology course.
Procedure and materials. Participants were asked to com-
plete several experimental tasks on a computer in a private
cubicle. The first one was presented as a study of “cognitive
aspects of linguistic processing.” In reality, this was the prim-
ing task. Participants were given 30 word strings, each consist-
ing of five words. For each string, they had to select and order
four of the words to form a valid English sentence. For partici-
pants randomly assigned to the consumer-cue condition, 20
of these word strings (67%) contained a word related to
at NORTHWESTERN UNIV LIBRARY on September 7, 2012pss.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Cuing Consumerism 521
materialistic concepts (e.g., buy, status, asset, expensive). In
the control condition, highly similar word sets were created
except that, in each instance, materialistic concepts were
replaced with mundane, nonmaterialistic ones (e.g., replacing
the word expensive with the word accurate).
Next, participants completed an ostensibly unrelated sur-
vey study that included, among filler items, a three-item mea-
sure of competitiveness and the desire to outdo other people
that was adapted from the Contingencies of Self-Worth Scale
(Crocker, Luhtanen, Cooper, & Bouvrette, 2003). Participants
indicated their agreement with each statement (e.g., “Doing
better than others gives me a sense of self-respect”) on a scale
from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). To further
explore the implications of materialistic mind-sets for social
engagement, we also asked participants to rate their interest in
pursuing a variety of social activities over the coming months,
on a scale from 1 (not interested) to 5 (very interested). These
included five high-investment activities (e.g., joining a student
organization, volunteering for a good cause) and four low-
investment activities (e.g., watching a movie on television
with friends, having dinner with friends). We expected that the
negative effects of consumer cues on social engagement would
be especially pronounced in the case of the high-investment
activities, which involve cooperative (rather than competitive)
social structures. For low-investment forms of social engage-
ment that do not require a particularly cooperative orientation
or a concern for the common good, we expected the effects of
consumer cues to be minimal.
Results and discussion
The measure of competitiveness showed good reliability (α =
.81) and was influenced by the experimental manipulation in
the expected manner (see Table 1); that is, participants in the
consumer-cue condition reported a stronger desire to outdo
other people than participants in the control condition did. In
addition, situational activation of a materialistic mind-set
resulted in significantly lower motivation for high-investment
forms of social engagement. Unexpectedly, the consumer cues
also elicited significantly higher motivation for low-investment
forms of social engagement (see Table 1). This latter finding
may reflect the fact that situational materialists are not devoid
of social needs; being uninterested in more intensive, coopera-
tive forms of engagement with other people, they may instead
opt for cheap-and-easy ways to satisfy their need to connect. It
may also be that situational materialists appreciated the low-
investment, entertainment-related activities listed in our sur-
vey more for their hedonistic value than for their social value
per se.
Experiment 4
Our final experiment further explored the social ramifications
of situational materialism. To the extent that materialism
reflects a competitive orientation toward other people, it is
likely to be associated with selfish rather than cooperative
behavior in social dilemmas. Indeed, past research has shown
that dispositional materialists (who value money, fame, and
other extrinsic rewards) are likely to take more from a limited
common resource pool than individuals who value intrinsic
rewards such as intimacy and self-acceptance (Sheldon &
McGregor, 2000). In Experiment 4, we examined the ability of
situational consumer cues to evoke similar antisocial reac-
tions. We used a consumer-framing manipulation to investi-
gate this issue.
Participants imagined themselves facing a water shortage
that required restraint in their daily water use. They did so with
the water crisis framed as affecting either various anonymous
individuals or local consumers. Because “consumers” could
potentially be regarded as a generic identity that is shared with
other people (much as “Americans” could be a common generic
identity), one might expect this framing to result in more proso-
cial behavior in a social dilemma. Indeed, prior research has
shown that people involved in a social dilemma tend to show
greater cooperative restraint in using a common resource if they
feel that they have a common identity than if they are not united
by some kind of shared identity (e.g., Kramer, 2011; Kramer &
Brewer, 1984). However, we hypothesized that the competitive
feelings associated with consumer identities would preclude the
formation of feelings of trust and common cause that are other-
wise associated with shared identities; instead, we expected to
see greater selfishness and mistrust among “consumers” than
among “individuals” facing a resource dilemma.
Participants. Seventy-seven individuals (43 female, 34 male;
mean age = 32.0 years) were recruited from’s
Mechanical Turk Web site. They received $0.25 in compensa-
tion for their responses to a brief online survey.
Procedure and materials. Participants were directed to an
online survey that they completed on their own computers.
They were asked to read and respond to a scenario involving a
resource dilemma. Specifically, they read about a water crisis
affecting a set of four different individuals who access the
same well for their water. Respondents were asked to put
themselves in the place of one of these individuals (“A”). In
the consumer-framing condition, all of the references to the
persons involved in the crisis used the term consumers, and the
specific individuals were referred to as Consumer A, Con-
sumer B, and so forth. In the control condition, the term indi-
viduals was used instead (e.g., Individual A, Individual B,
etc.) to refer to the parties involved. The description of the
crisis indicated that, because of a drought, the local water sup-
ply was threatened, and the usual demand could not be met.
Participants were then given information about past usage lev-
els of the shared resource, which revealed that Consumer A/
Individual A (i.e., the person they were role-playing) had been
using more water than the others.
at NORTHWESTERN UNIV LIBRARY on September 7, 2012pss.sagepub.comDownloaded from
522 Bauer et al.
After reading the scenario, participants provided a number
of ratings on 7-point scales (1 = not at all, 7 = very much).
Specifically, they rated (a) how responsible they felt for deal-
ing with the crisis, (b) how obligated they felt to cut their water
usage, (c) how much they trusted the other parties involved to
use less water, (d) how much they viewed the others as part-
ners, and (e) how much they believed that the others should
use less water than they themselves did.
Results and discussion
As expected, the consumer framing resulted in lower feelings
of personal responsibility for dealing with the resource
dilemma, markedly lower trust in the other parties, and a sig-
nificantly lower tendency to view the others as partners in fac-
ing the dilemma (see Table 1). There were no significant
effects on participants’ feelings of obligation or belief that the
other parties should use less water than they themselves did.
Unlike responsibility (which is a self-transcendence value
related to benevolence), feelings of obligation involve confor-
mity values, and as such, they are not directly in conflict with
self-enhancement concerns the way that self-transcendence
values are (see Maio et al., 2009). However, in general, it is
clear that the consumer identity did not unite—it divided.
Thinking like a consumer again seemed to work against posi-
tive, cooperative engagement with other people.
General Discussion
These experiments consistently document the adverse, causal
effects of materialistic thinking on personal and social well-
being. With its focus on extrinsic signifiers of value, the mate-
rialistic mind-set orients the individual to competitive concerns
about relative standing, producing corresponding feelings of
anxiety and dissatisfaction, and disinclination to trust other
people and engage with them in deep, collaborative ways.
These results augment the rich literature on dispositional
materialism by documenting the existence of situationally
driven forms of materialism. The kinds of cues that triggered
situational materialism in these experiments are highly analo-
gous to features of everyday life that are extremely common-
place in contemporary postindustrial societies. Advertising,
which depicts an endless parade of desirable commodities, is
highly similar to the pictorial primes we used as consumer
cues in Experiment 1 (and the pilot study). Framing informa-
tion in terms of its relevance to consumers (rather than, e.g.,
citizens), as is very common in media discourse, is analogous
to the framing manipulations we employed in Experiments 2
and 4. Although we did not explore how long lasting the
effects of exposure to consumer cues might be, the ubiquity of
these sorts of triggering conditions in everyday life suggests
that even if the effect of any given cue is not particularly
enduring, it probably is not long until another one comes along
to reignite materialistic concerns and their negative implica-
tions for affect and social engagement.
The present findings are related to earlier findings (Vohs,
Mead, & Goode, 2006) that reminders of money orient people
to independence and therefore lead them to prefer greater dis-
tance from others and to be less helpful toward them. Vohs
et al. argued that “money brings about a self-sufficiency orien-
tation in which people prefer to be free of dependency and
dependents” (p. 1154). Here, we showed that a variety of con-
sumer cues can have a broad range of psychological conse-
quences that include not only lower preferences for social
contact, but also negative affect, competitiveness, mistrust,
and diminished feelings of personal responsibility, as well as
automatic activation of self-enhancement values. Although the
concept of money is tightly connected to consumer mind-sets
and luxury goods, it will be an interesting issue for future
research to examine whether money is functionally inter-
changeable with other kinds of consumer cues. We have
argued that consumer cues exert their effects through the
activation of self-enhancement values, rather than via a self-
sufficiency orientation per se. Future studies should examine
whether money primes and other consumer primes can pro-
duce psychologically distinct consequences.
An impressive array of research has connected the most pro-
found kinds of psychological well-being to intrinsic forms of
motivation (e.g., Ryan & Deci, 2000), yet it seems that contem-
porary cultures have come to emphasize extrinsic motivation at
every turn. Our findings corroborate the view that individuals
and societies pay a high price for adopting a ubiquitously con-
sumerist orientation that may undermine social cohesion. After
all, it is by investing in efforts to connect with and benefit their
communities that individuals often find personal happiness,
health, and life satisfaction (Helliwell & Putnam, 2004).
This ar ticle discusses research conducted by Monika A. Bauer
for her doctoral dissertation, under the direction of Galen V.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The authors declared that they had no conflicts of interest with
respect to their authorship or the publication of this article.
Advertising Media Internet Community. (1997, March 19). [The
Media Guru answers #1015]. Retrieved from
Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire
for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motiva-
tion. Psychological Bulletin, 117 , 497–529.
Brendl, C. M., Markman, A. B., & Messner, C. (2005). Indirectly
measuring evaluations of several attitude objects in relation to a
neutral reference point. Journal of Experimental Social Psychol-
ogy, 41, 346–368.
Burroughs, J. E., & Rindfleisch, A. (2002). Materialism and well-
being: A conflicting values perspective. Journal of Consumer
Research, 29, 348–370.
at NORTHWESTERN UNIV LIBRARY on September 7, 2012pss.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Cuing Consumerism 523
Clark, M. S., Greenberg, A., Hill, E., Lemay, E. P., Clark-Polner, E.,
& Roosth, D. (2011). Heightened interpersonal security dimin-
ishes the monetary value of possessions. Journal of Experimental
Social Psychology, 47, 359–364.
Crocker, J., Luhtanen, R. K., Cooper, M. L., & Bouvrette, A. (2003).
Contingencies of self-worth in college students: Theory and mea-
surement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85,
Grouzet, F. M. E., Kasser, T., Ahuvia, A., Dols, J. M. F., Kim, Y.,
Lau, S., . . . Sheldon, K. M. (2005). The structure of goal contents
across 15 cultures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
89, 800–816.
Helliwell, J. F., & Putnam, R. D. (2004). The social context of well-
being. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Bio-
logical Sciences, 359, 1435–1446.
Kasser, T. (2002). The high price of materialism. Cambridge, MA:
MIT Press.
Kasser, T., & Ahuvia, A. (2002). Materialistic values and well-being
in business students. European Journal of Social Psychology, 32,
Kasser, T., Cohn, S., Kanner, A. D., & Ryan, R. M. (2007). Some
costs of American corporate capitalism: A psychological explora-
tion of value and goal conflicts. Psychological Inquiry, 18, 1–22.
Kasser, T., & Ryan, R. M. (1993). A dark side of the American dream:
Correlates of financial success as a central life aspiration. Journal
of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 410–422.
Kasser, T., & Ryan, R. M. (1996). Further examining the American
dream: Differential correlates of intrinsic and extrinsic goals.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 280–287.
Kasser, T., & Ryan, R. M. (2001). Be careful what you wish for:
Optimal functioning and the relative attainment of intrinsic and
extrinsic goals. In P. Schmuck & K. Sheldon (Eds.), Life goals
and well-being: Towards a positive psychology of human striving
(pp. 116–131). Ashland, OH: Hogrefe & Huber.
Kramer, R. M. (2011). Cooperation and the commons: Laboratory
and field investigations of a persistent dilemma. In R. M. Kramer,
G. J. Leonardelli, & R. W. Livingston (Eds.), Social cognition,
social identity, and intergroup relations: A Festschrift in honor of
Marilynn B. Brewer (pp. 297–317). New York, NY: Psychology
Kramer, R. M., & Brewer, M. B. (1984). Effects of group identity on
resource use in a simulated commons dilemma. Journal of Per-
sonality and Social Psychology, 46, 1044–1057.
Lang, P. J., Bradley, M. M., & Cuthbert, B. N. (2008). International
Affective Picture System (IAPS): Affective ratings of pictures and
instruction manual (Technical Report No. A-8). Gainesville: Uni-
versity of Florida.
Lastovicka, J. L., & Sirianni, N. J. (2011). Truly, madly, deeply: Con-
sumers in the throes of material possession love. Journal of Con-
sumer Research, 38, 323–342.
Maio, G. R., Pakizeh, A., Cheung, W.-Y., & Rees, K. J. (2009).
Changing, priming, and acting on values: Effects via motiva-
tional relations in a circular model. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology, 97, 699–715.
Ordapayeva, N., & Chandon, P. (2011). Getting ahead of the Jones-
es: When equality increases conspicuous consumption among
bottom-tier consumers. Journal of Consumer Research, 38, 27–
Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the
facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-
being. American Psychologist, 55, 68–78.
Schwartz, S. H. (1992). Universals in the content and structure of
values: Theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries.
In M. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology
(Vol. 25, pp. 1–65). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.
Sheldon, K. M., & McGregor, H. A. (2000). Extrinsic value orienta-
tion and the “tragedy of the commons.” Journal of Personality,
68, 383–411.
Srull, T. K., & Wyer, R. S., Jr. (1979). The role of category acces-
sibility in the interpretation of information about persons: Some
determinants and implications. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 37, 1660–1672.
Veblen, T. (1899). The theory of the leisure class. New York, NY:
Vohs, K. D., Mead, N. L., & Goode, M. R. (2006). The psychological
consequences of money. Science, 314, 1154–1156.
Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and
validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The
PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
54, 1063–1070.
at NORTHWESTERN UNIV LIBRARY on September 7, 2012pss.sagepub.comDownloaded from
... Thus, our GPT sample showed the same pattern of results as Many Labs 2, in that we also fail to find an effect. STUDY 6. Bauer et al. (2012) surveyed 77 individuals to look at the relationship between consumer mindsets and trust in others. Their original sample found that referring to others as "consumers" (M = 4.08, SD = 1.56; here, 1 denotes "not at all" and 7, "very much") resulted in lower trust in a water conservation scenario than referring to them as "individuals" (M = 5.33, SD = 1.30), t (76) Disgust sensitivity and judgement of intentionality were positively related in both the gay kissing condition, r = 0.12, p < 0.001; and the kissing condition, r = 0.07, p < 0.001. ...
... For a presentation and a visual plot of the Cohen's d effect sizes and the 95% confidence intervals-across all original studies, Many Labs 2 replications, and our GPT3.5 re-replications-see Figure 1. (Bauer et al., 2012) Consumer framing resulted in lower trust ...
Large Language Models have vastly grown in capabilities. One potential application of such AI systems is to support data collection in the social sciences, where perfect experimental control is currently unfeasible and the collection of large, representative datasets is generally expensive. In this paper, we re-replicate 14 studies from the Many Labs 2 replication project (Klein et al., 2018) with OpenAI's text-davinci-003 model, colloquially known as GPT3.5. For the 10 studies that we could analyse, we collected a total of 10,136 responses, each of which was obtained by running GPT3.5 with the corresponding study's survey inputted as text. We find that our GPT3.5-based sample replicates 30% of the original results as well as 30% of the Many Labs 2 results, although there is heterogeneity in both these numbers (as we replicate some original findings that Many Labs 2 did not and vice versa). We also find that unlike the corresponding human subjects, GPT3.5 answered some survey questions with extreme homogeneity$\unicode{x2013}$with zero variation in different runs' responses$\unicode{x2013}$raising concerns that a hypothetical AI-led future may in certain ways be subject to a diminished diversity of thought. Overall, while our results suggest that Large Language Model psychology studies are feasible, their findings should not be assumed to straightforwardly generalise to the human case. Nevertheless, AI-based data collection may eventually become a viable and economically relevant method in the empirical social sciences, making the understanding of its capabilities and applications central.
... A social identity as a consumer might even have adverse consequences for energy citizenship. In a framing experiment, cueing a consumer identity (e.g., by labelling a task 'consumer reaction study' as compared to a 'citizen reaction study') led to less perceived responsibility and trust [98]. These findings support Lennon et al.'s [17] notion that the deficit model of individuals portrayed as consumers may undermine energy-related action, and highlight that the potential of the citizen-based approach may lie only in certain social identities. ...
Full-text available
Energy citizenship is an emerging concept in policy and practice. Yet scientific theorising around energy citizenship is scarce, and rarely bundled in interdisciplinary discourse. In this article, we present an interdisciplinary definition of energy citizenship as people's rights to and responsibilities for a just and sustainable energy transition. Energy citizenship contains multiple aspects and allows for various approaches, of which we zoom into psychological, legal, and economic perspectives on the topic. From a psychological perspective, we construct an empirically testable sub-definition of energy citizenship based on previous psychological theorising. A legal perspective shows, exemplarily for the EU context, that energy citizenship qualifies as an EU citizenship because it consists of a bundle of rights and duties of the individual in the context of a committed, just and sustainable energy transition. An economic perspective reveals how energy citizenship already takes shape in current EU directives, and how this implies a new – more collectivist – economic model. Drawing on the three perspectives, we then sketch energy citizenship as an interdisciplinary research field. As a conclusion, we present a transdisciplinary definition of energy citizenship that is suitable for policy makers, energy communities and citizens, as it explicates a co-responsible process of people and governments.
... Language can prime different values, as seen in the previous section. In an experiment, volunteers given a "Consumer Reaction Task" became more competitive, less likely to engage in collective action, conserved less water, and felt less personal responsibility for environmental problems than volunteers given an identical task labeled a "Citizen Reaction Task" (Bauer et al. 2012). The word "consumer" is more linked to E/SE values such as status, wealth, and power, while "citizen" is more linked to I/ST values such as social justice and responsibility. ...
Full-text available
Management theory is a diverse field where multiple theoretical perspectives coexist and coevolve, leading to conceptual pluralism. While conceptual pluralism is useful for grasping different aspects of the complex reality we live in, it may limit the further development of knowledge on elemental concepts. In this article, we focus on knowledge on the natural environment (NE) in management theory. We argue that management scholars and practitioners often rely on theoretical lenses that tend to reify the NE, thereby limiting the conceptualization of some of the essential properties of the NE. Drawing on the example of the conceptual development of the ecosystem services (ES) at the intersection of economics and biology, we identify the advantages and the limits of interdisciplinary theory-building and testing. Finally, we discuss how tools from the philosophy of science can be useful for proposing a way forward for integrating reliable knowledge on the natural environment in management theory.
... This study is even a blow to consumerism. Although consumerism was initially advocated for the purpose of protecting consumer rights [26], it has even been argued in recent years that it encourages mass consumption and reduces consumer well-being [27,28]. In recent years, the diffusion of the Internet has led to the consideration of digital consumerism, which does not compromise the well-being of consumers [29]. ...
Full-text available
This study focuses on the relationship between fandom and well-being. Fandom refers to the act of endorsing something, whether it is a person or a nonperson such as an artist, game character, or specific brand. In other words, fandom can be seen as the ultimate customer engagement. Previous study has suggested that customer-brand engagement contributes to improved customer well-being with the concept of flourishing. This study provides quantitative support for this finding by surveying those involved in fandoms. Under the COVID-19 pandemic conditions, people were subjected to various behavioral restrictions. Entertainment was deemed unnecessary , and various events had to be canceled or scaled back. However, fans supported their favorites in a variety of ways and in turn found fulfillment and happiness through such activities. In the long run, the act would have contributed to the improvement of the fans' own well-being. This study presents a way of value co-creation between the supporters and the recipients that can be paraphrased as that between a customer and brand.
... Those individuals tend to put possession in the center of life. Their lives are normally guided by the desire to acquire more goods, particularly the luxurious ones (Richins & Dawsons, 1992;Kilbourne et al. 2005;Bauer et al. 2012;Poraj-Weder, 2014;Chen et al. 2014;Yakobovitch & Grinstein, 2016). ...
Full-text available
This study aims to discover the materialism mediator that predicts the presence of academic motivation, the religiosity mediator predicts the presence of academic motivation and the religiosity mediator predicts the presence of materialism among Minangkabau university students in Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia. This study identified dimensions of materialism that relate to religiosity and academic motivation dimensions of religiosity that relate to materialism and academic motivation and dimensions of academic motivation relate to religiosity and materialism. The researcher administered the Materialistic Value Scale (MVS) to measure materialism, the Religious Commitment Inventory-10 (RCI-10) measures the religiosity, and the Academic Motivation Scale (AMS) measures motivation. It was administered to 382 students of Minangkabau university students in a public university in West Sumatra. Pearson correlation, multi-variable regression analysis, and independent t-test were conducted. The multiple linear regression is employed to predict the presence of academic motivation and materialism. The results displayed that the dimension of the religiosity which is more related to academic motivation is the interpersonal religiosity; the dimension of the religiosity which is more related to materialism is the intrapersonal religiosity; while the dimension of materialism which is more related to academic motivation is the pursuit of happiness.
... Thus, beyond calling for further research to test the effects of practicing kindness on materialism, initial practical recommendations can be initiated. In the modern world, many people struggle with their materialistic desires, which leads not only to a decrease in their well-being [1,3] but also to a deterioration of their social relationships [13,16,17,28], and therefore poses a threat to public health [22]. Moreover, materialistic attitudes toward buying lead to the overconsumption of goods and services, which contributes to the destruction of the environment [51]. ...
Full-text available
(1) Background: Kindness interventions assist individuals in the pursuit of greater well-being. However, little is known about whether these interventions can decrease materialism. The current study tested how kindness interventions decrease materialism and external aspirations. Furthermore, we tested whether these interventions influence impulsive shopping. (2) Method: We randomly assigned 122 females to a three-week intervention of practicing acts of kindness or a neutral intervention (practicing acts related to studying). Before and after the interventions, all participants reported their life satisfaction, level of materialism, and internal and external aspirations. (3) Results: Among women practicing acts of kindness, materialism and life satisfaction did not change compared to the control group, but in both conditions, life satisfaction increased, and materialism decreased. However, we found that practicing kindness was associated with (a) an increase in aspiration affiliation, (b) a reduction in the intention to shop impulsively, (c) less focus on external aspirations, and (d) more focus on internal aspirations. (4) Conclusions: Although our results show that practicing kindness does not lead to a decrease in materialism, they suggest that focusing on increasing personal happiness might lead to such a decrease. Furthermore, our research contributes to the existing literature by demonstrating that kind women are less oriented toward materialistic values.
... We controlled for materialism because making salient material products, as we do, can influence state materialism (Bauer et al. 2012), which may in turn affect SWB (Dittmar et al. 2014;Ryan and Dziurawiec 2001); and we found that attention to favorite possessions affects SWB independent of materialism. To further rule out the alternative explanation that our observed effects were driven by increased self-esteem due to recollection of a favorite possession, an ANCOVA on self-esteem, with perceived inequality and attention to possessions as factors, and income and materialism as covariates, were conducted. ...
Full-text available
Rising income inequality is taking a toll on people’s subjective wellbeing (SWB), and many commentators have implicated the role of material possessions, and thereby marketing, in this regard. Making a more nuanced argument, the present research proposes that certain material possessions – namely, favorite possessions – can mitigate the detrimental psychological effect of income inequality on SWB. In support of this proposition, experimental data from nine countries (N=3,687) and social media posts from 138 countries (N=31,332) converge to show that, while SWB generally declines as income inequality increases, encouraging consumers to attend to their favorite possessions can mitigate the negative effect of inequality on SWB. This is because attending to favorite possessions reduces consumers’ tendency to make social comparisons related to material resources and wealth, which otherwise arise when income inequality is high. Consequently, even when they perceive high income inequality, consumers feel less deprived relative to others, thereby buffering their SWB. These findings have meaningful consumer welfare implications. In particular, one way consumers can feel happier with their quality of life in an unequal society is to avoid comparing their material wealth to that of others and instead attend to the material possessions that are most special to them.
Given that flow experiences when shopping can encourage positive brand attitudes and purchase behaviours, consumer psychologists are interested in the antecedents to flow within retail environments. Emerging findings suggest that a materialistic goal orientation can undermine an individual’s tendency to have optimal experiences of flow. However, this existing work has been conducted largely within the field of Environmental Psychology and thus focused on flow experiences that occur in more ecologically sustainable activities. We hypothesized that materialism may not have the same flow-limiting effects when participants are engaged in shopping activities, which are more in line with the goals of highly materialistic individuals. Across two studies, we tested the relationship between materialism and the experience of flow during shopping activities using cross-sectional ( N = 886) and experimental ( N = 140) methods. Contrary to our hypothesis, both studies documented a negative effect of materialism on flow experiences when shopping, and this was not moderated by the type of store browsed. Accordingly, it appears that a materialistic goal orientation limits the extent to which people can have enjoyable flow experiences even during activities which are consistent with the life goals of highly materialistic individuals. We discuss the implications of these findings for wellbeing, marketing, and sustainability.
Purpose This paper aims to explore various cultural and behavioral issues associated with the problem of investment fraud in Indonesia. Design/methodology/approach By examining multiple cases of investment fraud in Indonesia as well as reviewing publicly available government reports, this study highlights several important cultural and behavioral issues associated with the susceptibility of Indonesian financial services consumers to investment fraud to understand better the dynamics of the victimization process. By using multiple cultural and behavioral theories, this study demonstrates how such issues shape the interactions between investment fraudsters and investment fraud victims. Findings This study demonstrates that multiple cultural and behavioral factors have created and shaped an environment where fraudsters can exploit people’s behavioral loopholes for their fraudulent schemes. In particular, the high power distance and high collectivism have been identified by this study as contributing to the high level of materialism in the country, which in turn makes people more susceptible to the temptation of get-rich-quick schemes. Investment fraudsters, being students of human behavior, use their behavioral knowledge to devise various means to deceive their victims. They use multiple psychological principles to stimulate target victims “gullibility to make them more vulnerable to fraudulent persuasion. In many cases, even financially literate people are not immune to fraudsters” deceitful messages. This study highlights gullibility production as a foundation for investment fraudsters to devise their means by which victims are manipulated to accept certain beliefs that depart from facts and evidence. Practical implications This paper contributes to the innovation in anti-fraud practice by building a better understanding of multiple cultural and behavioral issues associated with investment fraud victimization. Originality/value This paper brings a new perspective into the field of anti-fraud to stimulate innovation, in particular in investment fraud prevention.
The purpose of the study was to assess the relationship between Success Materialism and Happiness Materialism and show how these two dimensions of materialism influence an individual’s life satisfaction. The sample consisted of 80 males in the age range of 40-50 years with annual income of 8-10 lakhs INR. The tools used in the study were Satisfaction with Life Scale by Diener, Emmons, Larsen, and Griffin and Material Value Scale by Richins and Dawson. The results were analyzed using statistical tools for correlation and regression. The results indicated that happiness materialism has a significantly negative correlation with life satisfaction(r=-0.339,p<0.01). Success materialism and happiness materialism together contribute 9.4% variance in predicting life satisfaction, found to be significant at 0.01 level. The study concluded that happiness materialism can lead a person to be dissatisfied with their current standard of living and other pleasures of life which in turn negatively influence overall life satisfaction.
Full-text available
It is widely believed that increasing the equality of material possessions or income in a social group should lead people at the bottom of the distribution to consume less and save more. However, this prediction and its causal mechanism have never been studied experimentally. Five studies show that greater equality increases the satisfaction of those in the lowest tier of the distribution because it reduces the possession gap between what they have and what others have. However, greater equality also increases the position gains derived from status-enhancing consumption, since it allows low-tier consumers to get ahead of the higher proportion of consumers clustered in the middle tiers. As a result, greater equality reduces consumption when consumers focus on the narrower possession gap, but it increases consumption when they focus on the greater position gains (i.e., when consumption is conspicuous, social competition goals are primed, and the environment is competitive).
People may value their possessions, in part, because ownership of goods promotes feelings of security. If so, increasing their sense of security should reduce the value they place on possessions. In two studies we tested this prediction. In Study 1, participants who were assigned randomly to write about an instance of receiving social support placed less monetary value on a blanket they owned relative to participants who were assigned randomly to write about a pleasant restaurant experience. In Study 2, participants who were unobtrusively primed with security-related words placed less monetary value on a pen they just received relative to participants who were primed with positive or neutral words. Results suggest that enhancing interpersonal security reduces valuing possessions.
Empirical research and organismic theories suggest that lower well-being is associated with having extrinsic goals focused on rewards or praise relatively central to one's personality in comparison to intrinsic goals congruent with inherent growth tendencies. In a sample of adult subjects (Study 1), the relative importance and efficacy of extrinsic aspirations for financial success, an appealing appearance, and social recognition were associated with lower vitality and self-actualization and more physical symptoms. Conversely, the relative importance and efficacy of intrinsic aspirations for self-acceptance, affiliation, community feeling, and physical health were associated with higher well-being and less distress. Study 2 replicated these findings in a college sample and extended them to measures of narcissism and daily affect. Three reasons are discussed as to why extrinsic aspirations relate negatively to well-being, and future research directions are suggested.
In recent studies of the structure of affect, positive and negative affect have consistently emerged as two dominant and relatively independent dimensions. A number of mood scales have been created to measure these factors; however, many existing measures are inadequate, showing low reliability or poor convergent or discriminant validity. To fill the need for reliable and valid Positive Affect and Negative Affect scales that are also brief and easy to administer, we developed two 10-item mood scales that comprise the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). The scales are shown to be highly internally consistent, largely uncorrelated, and stable at appropriate levels over a 2-month time period. Normative data and factorial and external evidence of convergent and discriminant validity for the scales are also presented. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
Many personality trait terms can be thought of as summary labels for broad conceptual categories that are used to encode information about an individual's behavior into memory. The likelihood that a behavior is encoded in terms of a particular trait category is postulated to be a function of the relative accessibility of that category in memory. In addition, the trait category used to encode a particular behavior is thought to affect subsequent judgments of the person along dimensions to which it is directly or indirectly related. To test these hypotheses, undergraduates first performed a sentence construction task that activated concepts associated with either hostility (Exp I, 96 Ss) or kindness (Exp II, 96 new Ss). As part of an ostensibly unrelated impression formation experiment, Ss later read a description of behaviors that were ambiguous with respect to hostility (kindness) and then rated the target person along a variety of trait dimensions. Ratings of the target along these dimensions increased with the number of times that the test concept had previously been activated in the sentence construction task and decreased with the time interval between these prior activations and presentation of the stimulus information to be encoded. Results suggest that category accessibility is a major determinant of the way in which social information is encoded into memory and subsequently used to make judgments. (22 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
The authors propose that a full understanding of the relationship between optimal functioning and personal goals depends on understanding how goals relate to basic psychological needs. Results from two samples of US college students show that well-being outcomes are differentially associated with a focus on extrinsic aspirations (financial success, social recognition, and appearance) versus intrinsic aspirations (self-acceptance, affiliation, and community feeling). Across ratings of the importance, likelihood of attainment, and current attainment of goals, findings suggest that a relative focus on extrinsic goals is either negatively or neutrally related to well-being, whereas a focus on intrinsic goals is associated with greater well-being. Extrinsic goals are further shown to be associated with lower self-esteem and more television consumption (Sample 1) and greater drug use and a lower quality of relationships with friends and romantic partners (Sample 2). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)