It’s Not Me, It’s You: The Downstream Effects of Identity Threat in the Context of Gift Giving
Posted: 18 May 2010
Date Written: May 17, 2010
Prior research has established that an external threat to an individual’s identity can be resolved via an identity-congruent product choice which bolsters his/her identity. In the context of gift giving, we examine how purchasing an identity threatening product can itself create an identity threat. We posit that purchasing such a product can threaten an individual’s identity, particularly when purchasing for a close (vs. distant) friend who is an integral part of the self. Five experiments show that givers choosing identity-incongruent gifts for close friends experience an identity threat and are subsequently more likely to engage in behaviors that re-establish their shaken identity.
Keywords: gift giving, identity, identity threat, self verification
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