What’S Important Depends Upon How I See Us: the Influence of Self-Construal on Choice and Advice-Giving

Jason Stornelli, University of Michigan, USA
Richard Gonzalez, University of Michigan, USA
Carolyn Yoon, University of Michigan, USA
People are often faced with the task of making consumer choices for others, such as making product recommendations. However, although a good deal of research has examined choices for oneself, we know relatively little about the ways individuals consider product features when choosing for other people. Past research (Kray & Gonzalez 1999; Kray 2000) has shown that decision-makers assign differing attribute weights in choice decisions for the self versus for others. We extend this model to a marketing context and hypothesize that self-construal influences this attribute weighting process by prompting individuals to engage in either self-other merging or increased perspective-taking when making choices for others; the former prediction suggests that participants with a collective self-construal should be more likely to weight attributes in choices for the self in the same manner as choices for close others, while the latter prediction suggests an enhancement of self/other differences in weighting for collectivist participants. Our results support the perspective-taking hypothesis – respondents primed with a collective self-construal were more likely to select an option that prioritized one attribute when choosing for others, and an option that facilitated tradeoffs when choosing for the self. In contrast, respondents primed with an individual self-construal did not choose significantly differently when asked to decide for the self versus for others. Future directions and implications of these findings for decision theory are discussed.
[ to cite ]:
Jason Stornelli, Richard Gonzalez, and Carolyn Yoon (2011) ,"What’S Important Depends Upon How I See Us: the Influence of Self-Construal on Choice and Advice-Giving", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 39, eds. Rohini Ahluwalia, Tanya L. Chartrand, and Rebecca K. Ratner, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 782-784.