To Be or Not to Be Unique? The Effect of Social Exclusion on Consumer Choice



This research proposes that after an experience of being excluded, consumers may strategically choose products to differentiate themselves from the majority of others as a result of their appraisal of the exclusion situation. Experiments 1 and 2 show that when excluded individuals perceive that the cause of social exclusion is stable (vs. unstable), they exhibit greater preference for distinctive products than do included individuals. Experiment 3 documents that excluded individuals prefer distinctive products when their self-view is enhanced through self-affirmation. Moreover, these effects are driven by a strengthened perception of uniqueness. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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