Amending the law of contagion: A general theory of property transference

Andrea C. Morales, Darren W. Dahl, Jennifer J. Argo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Previous research has demonstrated two key ways in which the original conceptualization of the law of contagion fails to account for numerous empirical findings: (1) contact is not the only way for the transference of properties to occur, and (2) even when contact does occur, it does not always lead to contagion. To better explain the myriad of contagion-based effects that have been shown to exist, we propose a more general theory of property transference where physical contact is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for contagion to arise. Specifically, we propose two amendments to the law of contagion that help account for cases where contact does not lead to contagion, as well as cases where other (nonphysical) forms of connection do. In addition, we identify key research questions that tap into this revised conceptualization to seed a number of future research directions in this important domain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-565
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Association for Consumer Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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