Wanting What I Shouldn’T Have and Finding a Way to Get It: When Guilt Increases Hedonic Consumption

Yael Zemack-Rugar, Virginia Tech, USA
Lisa Cavanaugh, University of Southern California, USA
Gavan Fitzsimons, Duke University, USA
Previous research shows guilt is incompatible with hedonic consumption, particularly for those high in guilt-proneness. We identify a consumption situation in which these effects are reversed. We find that when a charity donation is attached to a hedonic want product, guilty individuals find this product more appealing and choose it more than neutral individuals. Interestingly, this effect is strongest for guilty individuals high in guilt proneness, and it persists even when the charity is disliked and not trusted. We suggest that an emotion-regulation process underlies these results.
[ to cite ]:
Yael Zemack-Rugar, Lisa Cavanaugh, and Gavan Fitzsimons (2010) ,"Wanting What I Shouldn’T Have and Finding a Way to Get It: When Guilt Increases Hedonic Consumption", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 288-291 .