Track 8: Personality Processes & Individual Differences
Anne-Sophie Chaxel (HEC Paris)

8B. Underrepresented Consumers

Saturday, March 5
11:15am – 12:45pm EST
Discussant: Dipankar Chakravarti (Virginia Tech)
MC: Rowena Crabbe (Virginia Tech)
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Student Coordinator: Michelle Wang (Cornell University) (

Competitive Papers

Front and Center: The Role of Social-Category Centrality in Allyship Messages
Authors: Edith Shalev (The Open University), Sarit Moldovan (The Open University), Aronte Bennett (Villanova University)
Presenting Author: Edith Shalev (The Open University)
Influencers from advantaged social categories often use their stage to support disadvantaged groups in their fight against discrimination and stigmatization. However, allyship messages are not always well received by members of the disadvantaged group. We find that allyship messages evoke more favorable reactions from members of the disadvantaged group when they center the disadvantaged rather than the ally’s social category. This is driven by the psychological empowerment that results from centering the disadvantaged category. The effect is most pronounced among message recipients who believe that their social category is stigmatized.
Do Consumers Want Inclusive Language? The Potential Mismatch Between Consumer Preference and Brand Action
Authors: Esther Uduehi (University of Washington)
Presenting Author: Esther Uduehi (University of Washington)
Although millions of consumers deal with various stigmatized identities such as obesity, homelessness, and substance use disorders, little is known about the impact of language used for stigmatized groups on consumer preference. We are among the first to show the impact of stigmatized identity labels on consumer behavioral outcomes. Archival data from weight and nutrition brand websites reveals that brands are more likely to use identity-first language (e.g., obese person) to describe consumers. On the other hand, we find that person-first language (e.g., person with obesity) can lead to increased engagement with brands, healthy behaviors, and prosocial behavior.
Is This for Me? Differential Responses to Inclusivity Initiatives by Represented and Underrepresented Consumers
Authors: Francesca Valsesia (University of Washington), Jennifer D'Angelo (Texas Christian University), Lea Dunn (University of Washington)
Presenting Author: Francesca Valsesia (University of Washington)
An increasing number of brands are launching inclusive product lines to reach a diverse consumer base that includes traditionally underrepresented consumers. We explore how feelings of representation affect consumers’ attitudes towards brands that launch inclusive product lines, and find that underrepresented consumers respond more negatively to inclusivity initiatives compared to represented consumers. We postulate that these less favorable evaluations are due to skepticism about the fit of these new products in being suitable for one’s needs.
An Integrative Theory of Consumer Advantage and Disadvantage
Authors: Christopher Cannon (University of Hawaii), Kelly Goldsmith (Vanderbilt University), Caroline Roux (Concordia University)
Presenting Author: Christopher Cannon (University of Hawaii)
Researchers have studied the effects of different states of advantage and disadvantage, including power, powerlessness, social status, scarcity, inequality, and social class. This conceptual paper proposes an integrative framework comprised of two orthogonal dimensions: 2 (advantage vs. disadvantage) × 2 (self- vs. other-dependence). States of advantage (vs. disadvantage) activate high (vs. low) levels of psychological control, which leads to authentic (vs. compensatory) consumption. States bound by self- and other-dependence activate agentic (vs. communal) motivations, which leads to self-beneficial (vs. other-beneficial) spending. This paper concludes with a discussion of the implications and future directions for consumer psychology.

Flash Talks

An Exploratory Study of Panic Buying Among the Socially Vulnerable Population
Authors: Mehdi Hossain (University of Rhode Island), Tracy Khan (University of Rhode Island)
Presenting Author: Tracy Khan (University of Rhode Island)
The current research examined the extent of panic buying among the socially vulnerable groups during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data on stockpiling was collected in May 2020, and that on social and pandemic vulnerability indices were collected from secondary sources. Results indicate that social vulnerability owing to minority status significantly enhanced panic buying, as did overall pandemic vulnerability. Such influence was consistent across panic in general, panic owing to scarcity perception of products, and panic owing to social pressure. In addition, greater panic buying was observed among larger (vs. smaller) households, and younger (vs. older) consumers. These outcomes signify the requirement of enhanced post-pandemic support among the vulnerable groups of the society since panic buying might have adversely impacted personal finances of those who are vulnerable.
A Conceptual Framework for Investigating Developmental Consumer Behavior
Authors: Margaret Echelbarger (University of Chicago, Booth School of Business), Abigail Sussman (University of Chicago, Booth School of Business)
Presenting Author: Margaret Echelbarger (University of Chicago, Booth School of Business)
Each year in the US, children and teens influence over $500 billion of their parents’ spending and spend well over one hundred billion of their own dollars. Yet, compared to adults, we know relatively little about their consumer behavior. We propose a model to document children’s impact on the market, highlighting where important contributions from marketing have already informed our understanding of child consumers. We then offer evidence supporting the promise of our model as a tool for researchers and a means to promote interdisciplinary collaboration among developmental science and marketing scholars to expand the study of developmental consumer behavior.


The Charisma Bias: How Vigilance Can Help and Hurt Disadvantaged Consumers
Authors: Bryce Pyrah (University of Iowa), Chelsea Galoni (University of Iowa)
Presenting Author: Bryce Pyrah (University of Iowa)
While low-power consumers are often susceptible to manipulative marketing practices, other work demonstrates that they are more vigilant against potential threats. We explain this paradox by proposing that low-power consumers exhibit a charisma bias; they overweight social cues, increasing vigilance in some instances while increasing susceptibility in others. Across five studies, we demonstrate that this reliance on social cues can help low-power consumers when confronted with a potentially threatening social cue. However, low-power consumers also overweight positive social cues, potentially opening themselves up to manipulative marketing practices. Finally, we present a theory-driven intervention that increases the well-being of low-power consumers.
The Effect of Power Distance Belief on Consumers’ Attitudes Toward Slum Tourism: The Mediating Role of Perceived Morality
Authors: Sohyun Bae (National Cheng Kung University), Xiaoyan Liu (Southwestern University of Finance and Economics), Piaoran Ren (Southwestern University of Finance and Economics)
Presenting Author: Sohyun Bae (National Cheng Kung University)
Although the popularity of slum tourism is growing, very limited research has been conducted in this research area. In order to fill that gap, in this research we propose and demonstrate that consumers’ power distance belief (PDB), defined as one’s acceptance of hierarchy and inequality in power, influences their attitudes toward slum tourism. Across three studies, we found that consumers with low PDB have less positive attitude toward slum tourism than ones with high PDB because they perceive such tourism as being immoral. However, we further found that an appeal for donation mitigates low PDB consumers’ perceived immorality of slum tourism, which increases their intention to join such tourism.
The Two Neighbors: A Study of Consumer Racism and Consumer Centrism
Authors: Zulfiqar Ali Jumani (SASIN School of Management, Chulalongkorn University), Yupin Patarapongsant (SASIN School of Management, Chulalongkorn University)
Presenting Author: Yupin Patarapongsant (SASIN School of Management, Chulalongkorn University)
This study, drawing on the consumer racism, consumer centricism (consumer ethnocentrism, xenocentrism, and cosmopolitanism) literature, examines neighboring countries with ongoing country of origin (COO) and animosity issues which may stem from race, religious, economic, military, and political events. Fifteen participants from Pakistan and thirteen participants from India participated in online in-depth phenomenological interviews. This research offers a strong theoretical contribution to consumer racism and consumer centrism literature. Social implications to address persistent racism and discrimination have been identified.
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