Effects of Temporal Self-Comparisons on the Pursuit of Improvement
Dagogo-Jack, Sokiente Watariye
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This dissertation consists of three chapters. Chapter one reviews the current state of knowledge on temporal self-comparisons and distills different theories and findings into three key principles that can guide future research on the role of temporal comparisons in consumer behavior. Chapters two and three are empirical investigations intended to stand alone as submissions to peer-reviewed journals. Chapter two examines the effects of temporal self-comparisons on product upgrade behavior (i.e., the pursuit of improvement external to the self). Four experiments show a “temporal egotism” process whereby consumers project their own self-improvement perceptions onto self-connected brands, which subsequently increases product upgrade likelihood. Chapter three explores the interactive effects of temporal and social comparisons on self-improvement pursuit (i.e., the pursuit of improvement internal to the self). Five experiments demonstrate that temporal decline in the self increases consumers’ interest in self-improvement products and remedial behaviors when they are of relatively high social standing, but not when they are of lower social standing.