On the flexibility of self-repair: How holistic versus analytic thinking style impacts fluid compensatory consumption

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Consumers often respond to a self-discrepancy in a certain domain by engaging in consumption that may restore their perceived standing in that domain. However, less is known about when and why consumers seek products that affirm the self in domains that are important to their self-worth, yet unrelated to the discrepancy (known as fluid compensation). We address this gap by identifying an important factor that influences fluid compensation: thinking style. Across five studies and three follow-up studies, we find that people with a temporarily activated or dispositional holistic thinking style are more likely to engage in fluid compensation than people with an analytic thinking style. This phenomenon occurs because, by perceiving parts as more functionally related to a larger whole, holistic (vs. analytic) thinkers are more likely to view fluid compensation as instrumental to enhancing global self-worth. Holistic (vs. analytic) thinkers' greater propensity to engage in fluid compensation, in turn, better enables them to restore their global self-worth. These findings contribute to the literature on compensatory consumption, thinking style, and consumer wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • compensatory consumption
  • fluid compensation
  • self-discrepancy
  • self-worth
  • thinking style

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing

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