Consumers face inner conflict when it comes to making decisions

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Washington, Nov 18 (ANI): From buying a piece of brownie to deciding on a new home, consumers are always involved in an inner dialogue that reflects thoughts and perspectives of their different selves, according to the authors of a new study

For the study, Shalini Bahl (iAM Business Consulting) and George R. Milne (University of Massachusetts) studied the multiple perspectives that exist within consumers and explored the ways they navigate inconsistent preferences to make consumption decisions.

They combined in-depth interviews, multi-dimensional scaling, and metaphors to identify some of the voices that engage consumers' minds.

In addition, the researchers used "dialogic self theory," which differentiates between the "Meta-self" and multiple selves.

They said that multiple selves have unique perspectives and speak from different positions with relatively independent voices, while the Meta-self reflects a distanced neutral perspective.

"In our analysis of relationships between two selves with different worldviews and consumption preferences, we discovered a unique relationship in which one self offers a non-judgmental acceptance of another self's opposing views and behaviour, and in doing so brings peace and equanimity in a situation involving opposing preferences," wrote the authors.

At other times, one self will take over and dominate, which can lead to inner conflict.

One finding exposed a "desirable self," which can promote positive consumption behaviours like exercise and hard work.

However, when allowed free reign, this self can push consumers to overstretch their limits and end up with physical injuries or burnout.

The authors believe that the study could help marketers and other agencies that are trying to promote more mindful consumption choices.

"By understanding the different voices in consumers they can promote communications that model consumers' inner conflicts and present different dialogical strategies like negotiation, coalition, compassion, and compartmentalization that will help them navigate conflicts to make better choices," said the authors.

The study is published in the Journal of Consumer Research. (ANI)

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