Lines in the Sand: The Role of Motivated Categorization in the Pursuit of Self-Control Goals

16 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2009 Last revised: 22 Oct 2011

See all articles by Cait Poynor Lamberton

Cait Poynor Lamberton

University of Pennsylvania

Kelly Haws

Vanderbilt University - Marketing

Date Written: April 22, 2009

Abstract

This research explores goal-related categorization processes as part of a three-phase model encompassing both antecedents (goal selection) and consequences (purchase likelihood). In each phase, we identify conditions under which self-control goals (indulgence or restriction goals) and trait self-control may either correspond or conflict. Three experiments demonstrate that when no trait-goal conflict occurs, categorization patterns and purchase intentions are consistent with self-control tendencies. However, when conflicts exist between trait self-control and goals, individuals engage in motivated categorization or revert to behaviors consistent with trait self-control. Interestingly, results suggest that either conflict resolution mechanism may undermine the likelihood of goal attainment.

Keywords: categorization, self-control, motivated reasoning, indulgence, restriction, goal pursuit

Suggested Citation

Lamberton, Cait Poynor and Haws, Kelly, Lines in the Sand: The Role of Motivated Categorization in the Pursuit of Self-Control Goals (April 22, 2009). Journal of Consumer Research. Volume 35, Issue 5, Page 772–787, Feb 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1393419

Cait Poynor Lamberton (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Marketing Department
Philadelphia, PA
United States

Kelly Haws

Vanderbilt University - Marketing ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

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