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
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
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