From Ideal to Real: How Taking an Idealized Perspective Can Undo Optimism

Individuals tend to make overly optimistic self assessments about themselves relative to others. While little studied in marketing, such optimism may have negative consequences both for marketers and for consumers themselves. Based on a selective hypothesis testing framework, this paper introduces and tests a method designed to attenuate optimistic self assessments. In particular, we demonstrate that prior consideration of idealistic performance attenuates comparative optimism and helps consumers arrive at more realistic self assessments. Furthermore, this attenuation is both mediated by increased consideration of realistic thoughts and shows promise as a technique to improve the quality of downstream consumer decisions.


Robin Tanner and Kurt Carlson (2008) ,"From Ideal to Real: How Taking an Idealized Perspective Can Undo Optimism", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 242-245.


Robin Tanner, Duke University
Kurt Carlson, Duke University


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35 | 2008

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