Investing the Self: The Effect of Nonconscious Goals on Investor Psychological Ownership and Word-of-Mouth Intentions

31 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2016

Date Written: January 20, 2016

Abstract

This research examines the impact of nonconscious goal activation on investors’ feelings of psychological ownership of their investment choices. An initial experiment finds that psychological ownership is greater when an investment choice is incongruent with a nonconsciously-activated financial goal. Consistent with the notion that psychological ownership engenders self-enhancement motivation, ownership is also positively associated with word-of-mouth intentions. However, two additional experiments show that these effects are attenuated when an investor’s decision process focuses on deciding in the “right way” (versus focusing on making the “best choice”). Findings across all studies support an integrative perspective on theories of psychological ownership and regulatory engagement: When individuals overcome personal resistance by choosing an option that is incongruent with a nonconscious goal, they experience greater feelings of engagement, which in turn lead to enhanced feelings of psychological ownership of the chosen option and greater word-of-mouth intentions.

Keywords: Psychological Ownership, Nonconscious Goals, Regulatory Engagement, Word-of-Mouth, Risk, Investor

Suggested Citation

Kirk, Colleen Patricia and McSherry, Bernard and Swain, Scott D., Investing the Self: The Effect of Nonconscious Goals on Investor Psychological Ownership and Word-of-Mouth Intentions (January 20, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2719333 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2719333

Bernard McSherry

New Jersey City University ( email )

2039 Kennedy Boulevard
Jersey City, NJ 07305-1597
United States

Scott D. Swain

Clemson University ( email )

Clemson, SC 29631
United States

No contact information is available for Colleen Patricia Kirk

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