Avoiding Anxiety, Being in Denial or Simply Stroking Self-Esteem: Why Self-Positivity?

Journal of Consumer Psychology, October 2003

19 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2003

See all articles by Ying-Ching Lin

Ying-Ching Lin

National Chi Nan University - Department of International Business Studies

Chien-Huang Lin

National Central University - Department of Business Administration

Priya Raghubir

University of California, Berkeley - Marketing Group

Abstract

This paper studies the presence, resilience and direction of the self-positivity bias under various conditions to examine the role of self-esteem maintenance as an important antecedent for the bias. Experiment 1 manipulates the perceptions of the uncontrollability of cancer and presence of base-rate information as independent variables that together eliminate the self-positivity bias in perceptions of the risk of cancer. Experiment 2 shows the same effects using four life events that differ in terms of valence and perceived controllability. That is, base-rate information affects self-estimates for uncontrollable life events, reducing the self-positivity bias, but does not affect self-estimates for controllable events. Experiment 3 shows that these effects only apply to optimistic individuals who fail to incorporate base-rate information into their self-perceptions for controllable events. In contrast, pessimists use base-rates to update their self-estimates irrespective of the controllability of the event. Overall, the pattern suggests that self-positivity is attenuated in conditions that implicate self-esteem. Implications for health-care marketing are discussed.

Keywords: Self-positivity, health risk, base-rate information, optimism

Suggested Citation

Lin, Ying-Ching and Lin, Chien-Huang and Raghubir, Priya, Avoiding Anxiety, Being in Denial or Simply Stroking Self-Esteem: Why Self-Positivity?. Journal of Consumer Psychology, October 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=410561 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.410561

Ying-Ching Lin (Contact Author)

National Chi Nan University - Department of International Business Studies ( email )

1, University Rd, Puli
Nantou 545
Taiwan

Chien-Huang Lin

National Central University - Department of Business Administration ( email )

Jungda Rd., Jhongli City
Taoyuan, 32054
Taiwan

Priya Raghubir

University of California, Berkeley - Marketing Group ( email )

Haas School of Business
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
510-643-1899 (Phone)
510-643-1420 (Fax)

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
198
Abstract Views
2,413
rank
161,002
PlumX Metrics