Can buying generic products reduce your self-esteem?

People purchase generic products in an attempt to reduce costs. In this article, we showed that using generic products primes a devalued sense of self-worth manifested by increasing the likelihood of lower self-evaluations. In Experiment 1, participants were randomly assigned to use generic or genuine computer peripherals to make personal vitas for an upcoming recruitment orientation. Those using generic peripherals expected to earn a lower salary per month than the participants using original peripherals. Experiment 2 showed that the effect of using generic accessories extended to the context of interpersonal relations, influencing how participants thought others judged them in a get-acquainted task. Experiment 2 further demonstrated that the feelings of devalued self-worth primed by using compatible mobile-phone batteries mediated the effect of generic products on self-estimated attractiveness. Together these findings suggested that, even incidentally used cheaper, generic products may prime people for a lowered sense of self-worth, which would then produce disadvantageous self-evaluations.

Source: “Genuineness matters: Using cheaper, generic products induces detrimental self-evaluations” from Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

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