Situational materialism: How entering lotteries may undermine self-control

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33 Scopus citations


Although materialism is linked to self-control failure, the underlying process remains unclear. By manipulating materialistic thoughts via state-sponsored lotteries, this research examines why materialism may undermine self-control. Across four studies, this research demonstrates that entering a lottery tends to activate materialistic thoughts and that these thoughts generally constitute low-level construal, which, in turn, results in self-control failure. This effect is moderated by the degree to which people are oriented toward extrinsic values. In addition, when materialistic thoughts are diverted, entering a lottery has no effect on self-control. In summary, this research highlights that materialism, although stable and enduring, can manifest itself in a burst of materialistic thoughts. The research provides important implications for research on materialism, self-control, and mental construal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)759-772
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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