Anthropomorphism and Self-Regulation: How Framing Products as Partners Versus Servants in Goal Pursuit Impacts the Pleasure from Goal Violation

Posted: 21 Nov 2017 Last revised: 22 Oct 2018

See all articles by Caroline Roux

Caroline Roux

Concordia University, Quebec - John Molson School of Business

Kamila Sobol

Concordia University, Quebec

Laura Goodyear

Concordia University, Quebec

Kelly Goldsmith

Vanderbilt University - Marketing

Date Written: November 16, 2017

Abstract

The current research examines how anthropomorphizing products as partners versus servants impacts self-regulation. We contend that when a consumer expects the product to function as a partner, the associated self-regulation goal (e.g., health) remains cognitively accessible, because the consumer is aware that she must continue her self-regulatory efforts in order for the goal to be attained. Conversely, when the product is expected to function as a servant, the associated goal will no longer remain accessible, due to the magical thinking that the product will achieve the goal independently (i.e., the consumer’s efforts are no longer required). As a consequence, the consumer will be more likely to enjoy and engage in behaviors that violate their initial self-regulation goal when the product is viewed as a servant (vs. a partner) in goal pursuit. Evidence from three experiments, involving both hypothetical and consequential behavioral measures, provides support for these predictions.

Keywords: brand roles, product roles, anthropomorphism, magical thinking, extraordinary beliefs, self-regulation, goal conflict

Suggested Citation

Roux, Caroline and Sobol, Kamila and Goodyear, Laura and Goldsmith, Kelly, Anthropomorphism and Self-Regulation: How Framing Products as Partners Versus Servants in Goal Pursuit Impacts the Pleasure from Goal Violation (November 16, 2017). Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management Research Paper No. 3072357, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3072357

Caroline Roux

Concordia University, Quebec - John Molson School of Business ( email )

1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
Montreal, Quebec H3G 1M8
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/profcaroroux/

Kamila Sobol

Concordia University, Quebec ( email )

1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
Montreal, Quebec H3G 1MB
Canada

Laura Goodyear

Concordia University, Quebec ( email )

1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
Montreal, Quebec H3G 1MB
Canada

Kelly Goldsmith (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Marketing ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

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