Picture Yourself…: the Effect of Personal Imagery on Pragmatic / Ideal Trade-Offs

In order to understand consumers’ judgments and preferences researchers must first determine what inputs are recruited externally or retrieved from memory and understand how these inputs are weighted in decision outcomes. Construal-level theory provides a theoretical framework that explains how psychological distance alters the mental representation of these inputs and the effective weight that is attributed to “high-level” and “low-level” criteria. So far the notion of psychological distance has been explored in relation to spatial distance, social distance, or in relation to an event’s probability of occurrence. A form of psychological distance that has been less examined in relation to consumer decisions and behavior is the notion of personal perspective and self-imagery. We conceptualize that a first-person mental perspective would be represented at a more concrete, low construal level, therefore, more likely to make purchase decisions based on more concrete and pragmatic reasons. In comparison, individuals primed with a third person mindset may construe the same activity at a more distant and abstract level. Hence, we hypothesize that purchase decisions made under this context should be based on more idealistic rather than pragmatic reasoning. This paper is organized as follows. In study 1, we examined how perceived psychological distance affects how individuals weigh pragmatic and ideal dimensions in preference judgments. Study 2 involves the investigation of moderating effect of individual differences in self-orientation.


MengHsien (Jenny) Lin and Laura Smarandescu (2011) ,"Picture Yourself…: the Effect of Personal Imagery on Pragmatic / Ideal Trade-Offs ", 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: 835-836.


MengHsien (Jenny) Lin, Iowa State University, USA
Laura Smarandescu, Iowa State University, USA


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 39 | 2011

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