Self-Affirmation through the Choice of Highly Aesthetic Products

Dear readers, This may be old news to those of you whose subscriptions have not lapsed to the Journal of Consumer Research, but buying good-looking products evidently makes you feel better about yourself. My friend and colleague Alice Kriz called my attention to the August 2012 edition which carries a study Self-Affirmation through the Choice of Highly Aesthetic Products by Claudia Townsend and Sanjay Sood in which it was demonstrated that participants who picked out a better looking lamp (over perhaps a better functioning but less attractive one) increased their self esteem.

Another benefit of buying good looking product was that the participants were more open minded after their purchase. Perhaps with the positive glow of just acquiring something beautiful, they were more at peace with themselves, less guarded, and more empathetic to others’ views.

“What our research shows is that purchasing an attractive item causes a person to feel better about themselves {sic} and this ‘affirmation effect’ frees them up, mentally, to admit to the error in their ways. The result is that they no longer need to justify their initial bad investment with additional funding and consequently make better decisions.”

This is music to my ears. Music, I tell you: Buy beautiful lamps, feel great, and keep an open mind… perhaps you should buy some more beautiful lighting. I sense a virtuous cycle. Can I interest you in a pair of beautiful lamps?

 

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