The current research examines whether direct and vicarious identification with a low-status group affects consumers' desire for objects associated with status. Experiment 1 found that individuals who belonged to and identified with a status social category associated with relatively lower status (Blacks) exhibited an enhanced desire for high-status products compared to Blacks who did not identify with their race or individuals who belonged to a social category associated with higher status (Whites). In Experiments 2 and 3, White participants led to vicariously identify through perspective taking with Blacks (Experiment 2), or a low-status occupational group (Experiment 3) exhibited an increased desire for high-status products. Experiment 4 provided meditational evidence for a status based explanation for the relationship between identification with a low-status group and a desire for high-status products. The present work makes new inroads into understanding one factor that might lead minorities to engage in greater conspicuous consumption and provides evidence that conspicuous consumption can be elicited vicariously.

Phillip Mazzocco, Derek D. Rucker, Adam Galinsky, and Eric Anderson
Journal Article
Publication Date
Journal of Consumer Psychology

Full Citation

Mazzocco, Phillip, Derek D. Rucker, Adam Galinsky, and Eric Anderson
. “Direct and vicarious conspicuous consumption: Identification with low-status groups increases the desire for high-status goods.”
Journal of Consumer Psychology
, (October 01, 2012):