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Chapter 5. Personality and Consumer Behavior. What is Personality?. The inner psychological characteristics that both determine and reflect how a person responds to his or her environment. The Nature of Personality. Personality reflects individual differences

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chapter 5

Chapter 5

Personality and Consumer Behavior


What is Personality?

The inner psychological characteristics that both determine and reflect how a person responds to his or her environment.

the nature of personality
The Nature of Personality
  • Personality reflects individual differences
  • Personality is consistent and enduring
  • Personality can change
theories of personality
Theories of Personality
  • Freudian theory
    • Unconscious needs or drives are at the heart of human motivation
  • Neo-Freudian personality theory
    • Social relationships are fundamental to the formation and development of personality
  • Trait theory
    • Quantitative approach to personality as a set of psychological traits
freudian theory
Freudian Theory
  • Id
    • Warehouse of primitive or instinctual needs for which individual seeks immediate satisfaction
  • Superego
    • Individual’s internal expression of society’s moral and ethical codes of conduct
  • Ego
    • Individual’s conscious control that balances the demands of the id and superego
freudian theory and product personality
Freudian Theory and “Product Personality”
  • Consumer researchers using Freud’s personality theory see consumer purchases as a reflection and extension of the consumer’s own personality
horney s cad theory
Horney’s CAD Theory
  • Using the context of child-parent relationships, individuals can be classified into:
    • Compliant individuals
    • Aggressive individuals
    • Detached individuals
trait theory
Trait Theory
  • Orientation is primarily quantitative or empirical
  • Trait theorists concerned with the construction of personality tests that enable them to pinpoint individual differences
personality and consumer diversity
Personality and Consumer Diversity
  • Some specific consumer traits are of particular interest to marketers:
    • Consumer Innovativeness
    • Cognitive Personality Factors
    • Consumer Materialism, Fixated Consumption Behavior, and Compulsive Consumption
    • Consumer Ethnocentrism
distinguishing innovators from non innovators
Distinguishing Innovators from Non-Innovators
  • Some traits that have been useful are:
    • Consumer Innovativeness
    • Dogmatism
    • Social character
    • Optimum stimulation level
    • Variety-novelty seeking
  • Consumers low in dogmatism (open-minded) are more likely to prefer innovative products to established or traditional alternatives
  • Highly dogmatic consumers tend to be more receptive to ads for new products or services that contain an appeal from an authoritative figure
social character
Social Character
  • Inner-directed people seem to prefer ads that stress product features and personal benefits
  • Other-directed people prefer ads that feature an approving social environment or social acceptance

Optimum Stimulation Levels (OSL)

A personality trait that measures the level or amount of novelty or complexity that individuals seek in their personal experiences. High OSL consumers tend to accept risky and novel products more readily than low OSL consumers.


Variety-Novelty Seeking

A personality trait similar to OSL, which measures a consumer’s degree to variety seeking

forms of variety novelty seeking
Forms of Variety-Novelty Seeking

Exploratory Purchase Behavior

Vicarious Exploration

Use Innovativeness

cognitive personality factors
Cognitive Personality Factors
  • Need for cognition
    • A person’s craving for enjoyment of thinking
  • Visualizers versus verbalizers
    • A person’s preference for information presented visually or verbally
need for cognition nc
Need for Cognition (NC)
  • Consumers high in NC are more likely to respond to as rich in product-related information or description
  • Consumers low in NC are more likely to be attracted to background or peripheral aspects of an ad
from consumer materialism to compulsive consumption
From Consumer Materialism to Compulsive Consumption
  • Consumer materialism
    • The extent to which a person is considered “materialistic”
  • Fixed consumption behavior
    • Consumers fixated on certain products or categories of products
  • Compulsive consumption behavior
    • “Addicted” or “out-of-control” consumers
materialistic people
Materialistic People
  • Value acquiring and showing-off possessions
  • Are particularly self-centered and selfish
  • Seek lifestyles full of possessions
  • Have many possessions that do not lead to greater happiness
fixated consumers
Fixated Consumers
  • Have a deep interest in a particular

object or product category

  • Have a willingness to go to considerable lengths to secure items in the category of interest
  • Have the dedication of a considerable amount of discretionary time and money to searching out the product

Compulsive Consumption

Consumers who are compulsive buyers have an addiction; in some respects, they are out of control and their actions may have damaging consequences to them and to those around them.

consumer ethnocentrism
Consumer Ethnocentrism
  • Ethnocentric consumers feel it is wrong to purchase foreign-made products
  • They can be targeted by stressing nationalistic themes
issues in brand personality
Issues in Brand Personality
  • Brand personification
  • Product personality and gender
  • Personality and color

A Brand Personality Framework

Brand Personality






  • Down-to-earth
  • Honest
  • Wholesome
  • Cheerful
  • Daring
  • Spirited
  • Imaginative
  • Up-to-date
  • Reliable
  • Intelligent
  • Successful
  • Upper class
  • Charming
  • Outdoorsy
  • Tough
different self images
Different Self-Images

Actual Self-Image

Ideal Self-Image

Ideal Social


Social Self-Image




Extended Self

Modification or changing of the self by which consumers use self-altering products or services to conform to or take on the appearance of a particular types of person (e.g., a biker, a physician, a lawyer, a college professor).



A pattern of behavior expected of an individual in a specific social position, such as mother, daughter, teacher, lawyer. One person may have a number of different roles, each of which is relevant in the context of a specific social situation.

ways possessions can extend the self
Ways Possessions Can Extend the Self
  • Actually
  • Symbolically
  • By Conferring Status
  • By Bestowing Feelings of Immortality
  • By Endowing With Magical Powers
vanity and consumer behavior
Vanity and Consumer Behavior
  • Vanity has been investigated in terms of
    • Physical Vanity
    • Achievement Vanity