Wang, Jiaqian and Yiqi Yu (2023), “Beautify the Blurry Self: Low Self-Concept Clarity Increases Appearance Management,” Journal of Consumer Psychology, 33(2), 377-393. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcpy.1298
The current research examines how and why self-concept clarity (i.e., having self-aspects that are integrated into a well-defined whole) shapes consumers’ appearance management behaviors. Five (including four pre-registered) studies and one supplemental study provide correlational and causal evidence for the link between low self-concept clarity and appearance management (e.g., choice of appearance-enhancing products, interest in cosmetic procedures and beauty filters). Further, we demonstrate that public self-consciousness mediates this effect (Studies 3-4). We also find convergent process-by-moderation evidence that low self-concept clarity increases appearance management only when the appearance management behavior is perceived to be socially acceptable (Study 5). In addition, we rule out global and appearance self-esteem, private self-consciousness, self-improvement, and mood management as potential mechanisms. This research extends the literature on self-concept, impression management, and appearance management and yields implications for beauty marketing, health communication, and consumer well-being.
*Lee, Angela Y., *Jiaqian Wang, Ulf Böckenholt, Leonard Lee, Rafal Ohme, Dorota Reykowska, and Catherine Yeung (2022), “The Enthusiasts and the Reluctants of COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake: A Cluster Analysis,” Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, 7(2), 222-234. https://doi.org/10.1086/718458
Addressing vaccine hesitancy has taken on a new sense of urgency during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy research examines demographic correlates of vaccination intent, which could lead to a suboptimal one-size-fits-all strategy. This research aims to offer insights into COVID-19 vaccination promotion by conducting segmentation analyses using psychological and behavioral factors that may correlate with vaccination uptake. The results of two US-based studies identified six segments that differ in perceptions, attitudes, concerns, and behaviors related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The segments also differ in vaccination intent (Study 1) and actual vaccination rate (Study 2), with different factors driving vaccination intent/rates. The implication is that targeted interventions are warranted to increase vaccine uptake. Recommendations on how policymakers may design different interventions and locate the relevant segments to encourage vaccine uptake are discussed.
Wang, Jiaqian and Angela Y. Lee. (2020), “Keeping Safe Versus Staying Healthy: The Effect of Regulatory Fit on Social Distancing,” Behavioral Science & Policy, 6(2), 25–34. https://doi.org/10.1353/bsp.2020.0012
Some states’ COVID-19 social distancing directives spotlight the goal of health promotion (that is, staying healthy), whereas others underscore illness prevention (that is, keeping safe). Regulatory fit theory holds that persuasiveness is influenced by how well the framing of a message resonates with fundamental motivations that influence recipients’ behavior. People who are motivated to approach desirable outcomes generally respond best to health messages having a promotion frame, whereas people who are motivated to avoid undesirable outcomes respond best to health messages having a prevention frame. In the research presented in this article, we show that the effectiveness of COVID-19-related directives is influenced by the fit between promotion or prevention framing and the recipients’ identity—whether they view themselves as independent actors or as part of a larger community. We found that an appeal that highlighted health promotion and benefits to the individual (as in “what you can do to help you stay healthy”) or one that highlighted disease prevention and protection of society (as in “what you can do to keep America safe”) led to greater intent to practice social distancing than did appeals using other pairings of framing and identity, particularly in people who were not already practicing rigorous social distancing. The findings suggest that policymakers should consider regulatory fit—and specifically, the pairings described above—when designing public health communications relating to COVID-19 and other directives.
Manuscripts under Revision & Review
Wang, Jiaqian and Chuang Wei, “Does Featuring People with Disabilities Help or Hurt Fashion Marketing Effectiveness?” Revising for 2nd round review at Journal of Marketing Research
People with disabilities constitute the world’s largest minority group (i.e., about 16% of the global population) but seldom appear in fashion marketing. The limited campaigns featuring a model with disability elicit mixed responses from consumers, and extant literature also makes contradictory predictions about whether disability representation helps or hurts. Eight preregistered field and lab experiments tested the effect of disability representation on fashion marketing effectiveness. We find that featuring people with (physical, sensory, learning, or intellectual) disabilities improves fashion marketing effectiveness by boosting perceived brand warmth (i.e., worthy intentions) and coolness (i.e., appropriate deviation from norms). Specifically, a Facebook advertisement featuring a model with (vs. without) disability has a higher click-through rate and lower cost-per-click. Moreover, the positive effect of featuring models with (vs. without) disabilities is mediated by brand warmth and coolness and attenuates when the disability is less recognizable, when disability representation is reactive (vs. proactive), when the brand is a follower (vs. first mover) in adopting this practice, or when the brand is positioned to help consumers impress others (vs. express themselves). In addition, we show that disability representation helps fashion firms more than plus-size representation. These findings offer theoretical and practical insights into inclusive marketing.
Wang, Jiaqian and Chuang Wei, “Does Featuring AI-Generated Diverse Models Help or Hurt Fashion Firms?” Preparing for resubmission to Marketing Science
The fashion industry has seen increased diversity in modeling: both human models from diverse backgrounds and AI-generated diverse models have become more common. However, the distinct effects of human diverse representation and AI diverse representation remain unclear. In this research, we examine the joint effect of diverse representation (yes vs. no) and model type (human vs. AI) on fashion marketing effectiveness. Five pre-registered experiments (N = 2,203) show that human diverse representation improves fashion marketing effectiveness because it increases perceived brand morality by promoting both psychological inclusion (i.e., the perception that people from minority groups are an integral part of society) and economic inclusion (i.e., the perception that people from minority groups have access to economic opportunities to prosper). In contrast, when the models are generated by AI, these positive effects of diverse representation are attenuated or even reversed, particularly when the AI models are purely AI-generated rather than created based on real human models. Our findings offer theoretical and practical insights into diverse representation, inclusive marketing, and the use of generative AI in marketing practices.
Wang, Jiaqian and Rima Touré-Tillery, “Unclearly Immoral: How Self-Concept Clarity Shapes Moral Behaviors,” Revising for 2nd round review at Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
The current research examines the effect of self-concept clarity (i.e., having self-beliefs that are clearly and confidently defined, internally consistent, and stable) on moral behaviors. Eight preregistered studies (N = 3,942) document that a lack of self-concept clarity decreases moral behaviors (e.g., donation, volunteering) while increasing immoral behaviors (e.g., cheating on car insurance claims or for monetary gains in an incentivized game). This effect occurs because low self-concept clarity facilitates the disconnection of one’s moral behaviors from one’s self-concept (i.e., moral disconnection). In support of this process, we show that the effect of self-concept clarity on moral behavior is mediated by self-diagnosticity (i.e., the extent to which one perceives their behaviors as indicative of who they are), attenuates among people with high trait moral identity internalization or low trait moral disengagement or in the presence of an honor pledge cueing moral engagement, and holds only when a prosocial act is congruent with one’s values. Overall, the findings contribute to the literature on self-concept, morality, and self-diagnosticity, and yield implications for how to promote morality and curb unethical behaviors in society.
*Achar, Chethana and *Jiaqian Wang, “Self as Target of Stigma by Association: Downstream Consequences on Moral Disengagement”
Stigma by association (SBA) has been studied as judgments of others that are associated with stigmatized persons. In five studies (N = 2,732), we examine SBA when the self is associated with a stigmatized other. We find that people with stronger anti-LGBTQ prejudice have worse moral self-evaluations after they transcribe a note regarding a gender nonbinary (vs. unspecified) person in Study 1. After being associated with a person of obese (vs. unspecified) body type through a similar transcribing task, participants with stronger anti-obese attitudes were more likely to cheat in incentivized dice roll games (Studies 2, 4, 5) and on their romantic partners (Study 3). These effects are driven by moral disengagement (Studies 3, 4) and attenuate when incentives for cheating are removed (Study 5). Our findings present the ethical consequences of associative stigma from an actor perspective and build on previous work that has focused on the observer perspective.
Wang, Jiaqian and Rima Touré-Tillery, “Reality Distance: Conceptualization, Measurement, and Implications for Consumer Research”
Recent technological advances, cultural trends, and sociopolitical climates have created increasing alternatives and variations of “reality,” making what is reality more blurry and subjective. This research reviews extant perspectives on reality across disciplines and provides a synthesized conceptualization of reality. Moreover, a novel construct—reality distance—is proposed to capture consumers’ perception that their experienced reality is outside of objective reality. The authors theorize the major antecedents to reality distance (i.e., experience rarity, sensory inaccuracy) and develop a six-item Reality Distance Scale to measure the construct. Eleven studies using samples from different populations (N = 3,704) demonstrate the scale’s validity and reliability, situate the construct within a broader nomological network, and showcase the relevance of reality distance in consumer research by documenting how the scale predicts consumer preferences and behaviors in digital virtual consumption (e.g., preference for digital products and telehealth), inauthentic consumption (e.g., interest in counterfeit luxury and cosmetic procedures), self-regulation (e.g., self-control, moral behavior), and risk-taking (e.g., financial risk-taking, sensation-seeking). The authors discuss the implications of the work and suggest directions for future research to unlock the theoretical and practical potential of reality distance in consumer research.