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Chapter 7. Personality, Lifestyle, and Self-Concept. Personality, Lifestyle, and Self-Concept. Snapshot from the Marketplace. Body image is an inseparable component of our self concept. An ideal of beauty varies cross-culturally and over time.

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Chapter 7

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Chapter 7


Lifestyle, and


Personality, Lifestyle,

and Self-Concept

Snapshot from the Marketplace

  • Body image is an inseparable component of our self concept.

  • An ideal of beauty varies cross-culturally and over time.

  • Since we compare ourselves to idealized images depicted in ads, marketers use such a tactic to create sufficient temporary dissatisfaction to motivate us to act.

Q. 1. Define Personality.

What Is Personality?

  • The sum total of an individual’s inner psychological attributes

  • Distinctive and enduring patterns of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that characterize each individual's adaptation to the situation of his or her life

  • static.

What Is Personality?

  • Properties that characterize personality:

    • Personality is unique.

    • Personality is consistentacross diverse circumstances.

    • Personality is not static.

Diversity of Personality Theories

  • Psychological literature provides a large number of personality theories.

  • Our focus here is on 3 theories:

    • Freudian theory of personality

    • Neo-Freudian theory of personality

    • Trait theory of personality

Q. 2. State three theories of Personality.

Freudian Psychoanalytic Personality Theory

  • Strong emphasis on biological & sexual motivation

  • Personality is a result of interaction & conflict between:

    • The Id: pleasure principle

    • The Superego: social, moral, & ethical inhibitions

    • The Ego: mediator between the id’s impulses & superego’s restrictions

    • Personality develops as we progress through a sequence of psychosexual stages during infancy.

Freudian Psychoanalytic Personality Theory (cont’d)

  • Anxiety plays a major role in personality development.

  • Freud discerned 3 types of anxiety:

    • Reality anxiety: fear of tangible danger

    • Neurotic anxiety: fear of punishment for instinctual gratification

    • Moral anxiety: fear of our own conscience

Freudian Psychoanalytic Personality Theory (cont’d)

  • Defense mechanisms to overcome anxiety, examples include:

    • Repression

    • Rationalization

    • Regression

    • Projection

    • Aggression

    • Withdrawal

Marketing Applications of Freudian Theory

  • Ads frequently address the id by emphasizing the pleasure and self-indulgent aspects of product or service offerings.

  • Promotions address the ego via free offers as well as by employing leisure, freedom, escape, and fantasy appeals.

  • Promotional appeals address the superego by emphasizing social amenities, ethics, and tradition.

Personality Videos

  • NFL Custom Shop Personality

  • Doritos Personality

Neo-Freudian Personality Theory

  • Social variables rather than biological instincts underlie personality formation

  • Four theories of Freud’s disciples & their emphases:

    • Adler: overcoming real & perceived inferiorities; pursuit of superiority & perfection

    • Horney: dealing with anxiety

    • Fromm: escape from loneliness; seeking meaningful relationships

    • Sullivan: interpersonal relationships

Marketing Applications of Neo-Freudian Theory

  • Ads employing Neo-Freudian theory emphasize social relationships and human interaction.

  • Promotional appeals frequently depict warm interaction between individuals in a social or a family setting.

  • Appeals may also emphasize the role of products as enhancers of positive interpersonal relationships with others or protectors against offending others.

  • Cohen’s C-A-D scale: a paradigm that classifies people based on their degree of compliance, aggression, and detachment

Trait Theory of Personality

  • Classifies people according to their dominant characteristics or identifiable traits

  • Theory assumptions:

    • Traits are identifiable and limited in number.

    • Traits are relatively stable.

    • Traits can be measured via behavioral indicators.

    • People with similar traits behave similarly.

  • Measuring personality traits:

    • Standard clinical personality tests vs. tailor-made & modified tests

Trait Theory of Personality (cont’d)

  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: this instrument measures traits by employing 4 scales:

    • Extroversion/introversion

    • Sensate/Intuitive

    • Thinking/feeling

    • Judging/perceiving

  • Measurement results in 16 personality types, representing a person’s behavioral tendencies on the above 4 traits.

Marketing Applications of Trait Theory

  • Marketers search for correlations between sets of specific personality traits and consumer behavior patterns.

  • Correlations can occur in the form of one or more personality traits and such specific tendencies as product purchase, brand choice, retail store selection, or media habits.


  • The objective is to assess consumers’ lifestyles so that meaningful consumer typologies can be identified.

  • Profiles can be obtained through AIO Inventories (activities, interests, and opinions surveys)

Marketing Applications of Psychographics

  • VALS segmentation approach defines 8 market segments; each has a unique combination of psychological and demographic attributes.

    • VALS segments the market based on both consumers’ primary motivations and resources/innovation.

    • Primary motivations are ideals, achievements, and self-expression.

    • Resources range from minimal to abundant and cover individuals’ psychological, physical, demographic, and material means.

Self-Expression Motivated






Abundant ResourcesHigh Innovation






Minimal ResourcesLow Innovation


VALS Configuration of Consumer Categories


Marketing Applications of VALS

  • VALS helps marketers:

    • Identify and select target markets

    • Develop effective media plans to reach specific target markets

    • Create ads and appeals that match the attributes of desirable target segments

Q. 3. How can the study of personality traits be applied to Consumer Behavior Research?

Applications to Consumer Behavior Research

  • Need for cognition – a tendency to engage in and enjoy thinking

  • Locus of control – significant personality variable in psychology

    • External locus of control – ascribe the influences on their lives to luck, fate, chance, other people, or strong forces they cannot overcome

    • Internal locus of control – tend to attribute the influences on their lives to forces such as their own skills that are within their control

    • Differ in attentiveness to information present in the environment and seeking of additional relevant information

Q. 4. Define Self-Concept.


  • The sum total of our beliefs and feelings about our self

  • An organized configuration of perceptions of the self, which are available to awareness

Q. 5. What are the interactive sources of self-concept?

Interactive Sources of Selfhood

  • Significant others

    • individuals with whom we interact in various kinds of role relations, are crucial in the formation of our self.

  • Materials and objects

    • the physical environment that we rely on for survival and the technologies that support and mediate our social relations affect the development of our self.

  • Ideas, beliefs and values

    • ideology and religious beliefs influence the way we perceive and respond to our social and physical environment

Exhibit 10.1The Relational Self

Q. 6. Define Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy.

Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy

  • Self-Esteem –the pattern of beliefs an individual has about self-worth

  • One’s subjective self-evaluation developed from personal experiences of success or failure, interactions with others, maturation, heredity, and social learning.

  • High self-esteem is related to spending; low self-esteem is related to compulsive and addictive behaviors

  • Self-Efficacy -- people’s beliefs about their capabilities to exercise control over events that affect their lives

  • Self-efficacy should vary cross-culturally.

Q. 7. What are the various characteristics of Self-Concept?


  • multifaceted

    • includes a collection of images, activities, goals, feelings, roles, traits and values

  • Multiplicity of identity indicates that selfhood is a collection of diverse but related self-perceptions – the self includes a multiplicity of things that people are to themselves and to one another

Self-Concept is Multi-Faceted

  • I-self

    • the active observer, the knower, or the information processor

  • Me-self

    • the known, observed, and constructed self-image

  • Looking-glass self

  • Image congruence hypothesis

    • self-concept is reinforced as positive responses from others support consumption activities

  • Extended self

    • external objects to which we are emotionally attached and that we consider a part of ourselves

Self-Concept Depends on Situations and Motives

  • Working or activated self-concept

    • aspects that are most relevant in a particular social setting or situation

  • People selectively retrieve different aspects of their self-concepts depending on goals and motives.

  • Sometimes consumers may contrive to use products to trigger aspects of the self.

Self-Concept is Changeable

  • Self-concept is flexible and changeable

  • Consumers’ self-concepts are especially dynamic during certain role transitions

  • Role transitions and self-esteem

    • the degree to which people have a positive attitude towards themselves

  • Role transitions are marked by changes in consumption patterns

Q. 8. What are the components of the dynamic self-concept model?

Self Concept

  • intrapersonal – inner, processes

    • including information processing and motivation

  • interpersonal processes -- including perception, interpersonal influence and reaction to others’ feedback

The Dynamic Self-ConceptIntrapersonal Processes

  • Self-narrative

    • stories that arecoherent, context sensitive accounts of experiences that provide a sense of personal continuity in time and space

  • Self-relevant information

    • internalized self-schemas that represent a reference value or standard of comparison for new information

  • Self-gifts

    • frequently carry messages about identify and self-distinctiveness, which contributes to self-esteem

Intrapersonal Processes

  • Body image

    • Commonly defined as a mental construction, embedded in self-schema that can deviate substantially from a person’s objective physical characteristics

  • Desired selves

    • what a person thinks he or she really can and would like to be

Interpersonal Processes

  • Self is a reference point for evaluating others, selecting friends and directing interactions with others

  • Consumption communicates socially shared meanings about identity

  • High self-monitors

    • concerned with being consistent with their conception of how people behave in a particular situation

  • Low self-monitors

    • concerned with being themselves in various situations

  • Consumers may use goods to close the gap between actual and possible selves

The Self-Concept

  • 5 original concepts of self: real-self, ideal self, self-image, apparent-self, & reference-group self

  • Other concepts of self:

    • Extended-self

    • Possible-self


  • Defined as an organized configuration of perceptions of the self, which are available to awareness

    • Perceptions people have about themselves

    • An active configuration that influences intrapersonal and interpersonal processes

    • It is not distinct from society and culture

    • Role transition is a major change in the rights, duties, and responsibilities expected of an individual by a social group

Self Concept and Social Roles

  • At different times, we assume diverse social roles such as that of spouse, parent, employer, or student.

  • While in a specific role, we are often concerned about the impression we make on others.

Self-Concept and Consumption

  • Consumers attempt to purchase products that match their personality and self concept.

  • Products we own or use serve as social symbols designed to communicate to others who we are.

  • Self-product congruence refers to our tendency to select and use products that match aspects of self.

Stability of the Self-Concept

  • Even though the self concept is relatively stable, it is not static.

  • New experiences can change our self concept.

  • Symbolic self-completion is our tendency to complement self by displaying symbols associated with our identity.

Measuring the Self-Concept

  • The Q-Sort technique involves giving respondents a number of cards (60-120), each containing a self-describing statement or situation for the respondent to evaluate.

  • Respondents sort these cards into a number of piles reflecting their assessment of how well each statement matches or differs from their own self perception.

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