Strategic Motivation Maintenance: the Case of Guilt-Seeking

Xianchi Dai, INSEAD, France
Klaus Wertenbroch, INSEAD, France
Contrary to previous claims in the literature that people avoid negative emotions, we propose that farsighted consumers may strategically self-induce guilt, a specific type of negative emotion. The underlying reason is that such guilt helps them build up their motivation to solve self-control problems, which is essential for the success of future task completion. This guilt seeking for the purpose of building up motivation thus systematically affects consumer preference and choices. A series of studies confirmed this prediction and also ruled out alternative explanations.
[ to cite ]:
Xianchi Dai and Klaus Wertenbroch (2008) ,"Strategic Motivation Maintenance: the Case of Guilt-Seeking", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 138-141.