The Liberating Effect of Guilt-Sharing on Consumers’ Preference For Indulgence

Ozge Yucel Aybat, Baruch College, CUNY, USA
Thomas Kramer, Baruch College, CUNY, USA
In choices between indulgent and non-indulgent options, the latter are often preferred because indulgence tends to be associated with guilt. However, we propose that the amount of guilt experienced, and hence preference for indulgence, depends on whether consumers are in a lone versus shared consumption situation. Specifically, relative to choice of fruit salad, we found that respondents were more likely to choose two pieces of chocolate cake to be shared with another consumer than one piece of chocolate cake to be consumed alone. Further analyses support the hypothesis that reductions in feelings of guilt appear to be driving this effect.
[ to cite ]:
Ozge Yucel Aybat and Thomas Kramer (2010) ,"The Liberating Effect of Guilt-Sharing on Consumers’ Preference For Indulgence", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 754-754 .