Brown bag talk by Dr. Stephanie Lin on “When Moving on Feels Wrong: Avoiding Hedonic Consumption to Maintain Moral Character”

Speaker: Dr. Stephanie Lin

Date: Friday 17 November at 1pm

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room) 

Title: When Moving on Feels Wrong: Avoiding Hedonic Consumption to Maintain Moral Character

Abstract: Although the hedonic principles of emotion regulation suggest that people want to feel good, we argue that sometimes feeling good just feels wrong. Specifically, we demonstrate across five studies that consumers want to avoid repairing their mood via hedonic consumption when feeling good would reflect badly on their moral character (e.g., eating ice cream after a visit to the Holocaust Museum). In our sixth and final study, we examine how consumers react when their attempts to maintain negative affect are thwarted with exposure to hedonic content: Employing a social media context, we find that people feel more uncomfortable when negative moralized (vs. nonmoralized) content is followed by hedonic, frivolous content. These findings stand in contrast to emotion regulation research that focuses on the hedonic motivation to increase positive and decrease negative affect, as well as judgment and decision making literature that shows that consumers prefer sequences of events that improve over time. Furthermore, we offer clear prescriptions to marketers regarding when versus when not to offer hedonic consumption as mood repair, and how to sequence different types of media content.

Biography: Stephanie Lin is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Singapore Management University’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business. She received her Ph.D. in Marketing (Consumer Behavior) from Stanford University in 2017, and her B.A. in Psychology and Chinese from Williams College in 2008. Her research focuses on how consumers maintain an image of themselves as good and virtuous in everyday life. She examines the virtuous self-concept across many domains, including being moral and prosocial, having high self-control (e.g., in dieting, exercising, and saving money), and being a good partner during joint goal pursuit and joint consumption. She is particularly interested in how people balance the need to be virtuous with conflicting desires, such as refusing prosocial requests or indulging in chocolate cake. Professor Lin’s work has appeared in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology and the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

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