Multiple routes to self- Versus other-expression in consumer choice

Michal Maimaran*, Itamar Simonson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Studies of consumer decision making often begin with the identification of a dimension on which options differ, followed by an analysis of the factors that influence preferences along that dimension. Building on a conceptual analysis of a diverse set of problems, the authors identify a class of related consumers choices (e.g., extreme vs. compromise, hedonic vs. utilitarian, risky vs. safe) that can all be classified according to their levels of self- versus other-expression (or [unjconventionality). As shown in four studies, these problem types respond similarly to manipulations that trigger or suppress selfexpression. Specifically, priming self-expression systematically increases the share of the self-expressive options across choice problems. Conversely, expecting to be evaluated decreases the share of the selfexpressive options across the various choice dilemmas. In addition, priming risk seeking increases only the choice of risky gambles but not of other self-expressive options. These findings highlight the importance of seeking underlying shared features across different consumer choice problems, instead of treating each type in isolation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)755-766
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Choice
  • Other-expression
  • Self-expression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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