Cognitive Load, Need For Closure, and Socially Desirable Responding: Cognitively Constrained Versus Motivated Response Biases in Cross-Cultural Consumer Research

Ashok K. Lalwani, University of Texas, San Antonio
Chi-Yue Chiu, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Recent research reveals cultural differences in consumers’ tendency to engage in socially desirable responding. Specifically, individualist consumers are shown to be prone to self-deceptive enhancement (SDE), the tendency to hold exaggerated views of one’s skills and abilities, whereas collectivist consumers are shown to be prone to impression management (IM), the tendency to distort responses to appear normatively appropriate. We examine the divergent moderating effects of cognitive and motivational factors on these relationships. Across six studies, we find that depleting collectivists’ cognitive resources impairs their ability to engage in IM but does not influence individualists’ tendency to engage in SDE. In contrast, collectivists’ tendency to engage in IM and individualists’ tendency to engage in SDE are both seen to increase with high (vs. low) need for cognitive closure (NFC). Implications of these findings on theoretical and methodological research on SDR are highlighted.
[ to cite ]:
Ashok K. Lalwani and Chi-Yue Chiu (2008) ,"Cognitive Load, Need For Closure, and Socially Desirable Responding: Cognitively Constrained Versus Motivated Response Biases in Cross-Cultural Consumer Research", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 759-760.