Recalling Past Temptations: An Information-Processing Perspective on the Dynamics of Self-Control

14 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2012

See all articles by Anirban Mukhopadhyay

Anirban Mukhopadhyay

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST)

Jaideep Sengupta

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) - Department of Marketing

Suresh Ramanathan

Texas A&M University - Department of Marketing

Date Written: December 1, 2008

Abstract

This research investigates how consumers respond to food-related temptations as a function of recalling their own behavior when faced with a similar temptation in the recent past. Bringing together different streams of relevant research, we propose and find that chronically nonimpulsive individuals display behavioral consistency over time - resisting (succumbing) when they recall having resisted (succumbed) earlier. In contrast, impulsive individuals show a switching pattern, resisting current temptations if they recall having succumbed, and vice versa. These propositions are supported by convergent results across four experiments involving real eating behaviors, response latencies, and hypothetical choices. Implications for consumer welfare are discussed and possible interventions are suggested.

Keywords: self-control, impulsivity, temptations, goal activation

Suggested Citation

Mukhopadhyay, Anirban and Sengupta, Jaideep and Ramanathan, Suresh, Recalling Past Temptations: An Information-Processing Perspective on the Dynamics of Self-Control (December 1, 2008). Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 35, December 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2168079

Anirban Mukhopadhyay (Contact Author)

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) ( email )

999999

Jaideep Sengupta

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) - Department of Marketing ( email )

Clear Water Bay, Kowloon

Suresh Ramanathan

Texas A&M University - Department of Marketing ( email )

430 Wehner
College Station, TX 77843-4218
United States

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