Fill up Your Senses: A Theory of Self-Worth Restoration through High-Intensity Sensory Consumption

Batra, R K and Ghoshal, T (2017) Fill up Your Senses: A Theory of Self-Worth Restoration through High-Intensity Sensory Consumption. Journal of Consumer Research. (Submitted)

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Abstract

It is well known that individuals engage in reactive consumption to address self-discrepancy and self-threat and that this consumption may either be symbolically related to the nature of the threat or occur in an unrelated domain. This research proposes a theory for self-worth restoration through the consumption of high-intensity sensory stimuli. Four studies demonstrate that not only do individuals facing self-threat prefer high-intensity sensory consumption (HISC) but also that this consumption restores their self-worth. This propensity for HISC is negated after individuals are allowed to engage in additional self-affirmation tasks. The findings are documented in both the visual domain (as evidenced by a preference for more intense and saturated colors) and the auditory domain (as evidenced by a preference for louder audio levels). The consumption of high-intensity sensory stimuli elevates individuals’ arousal levels, which in turn minimizes rumination on thoughts related to the threat and thus restores one’s self-worth. The distractive nature of HISC and its subsequent impact on self-worth restoration is shown to operate regardless of the valence of the sensory consumption. Finally, the propensity for HISC is negated after individuals experience an arousal-elevating threat, providing additional support for the underlying process.

Affiliation: Indian School of Business
ISB Creators:
ISB CreatorsORCiD
Batra, R KUNSPECIFIED
Ghoshal, TUNSPECIFIED
Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: high-intensity sensory consumption, compensatory consumption, distraction, arousal, self-threat, self-worth
Subjects: Socio Political System
Depositing User: Veeramani R
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2017 20:31
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2017 20:31
URI: http://eprints.exchange.isb.edu/id/eprint/538
Publisher URL: https://doi.org/10.1093/jcr/ucx074
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