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How Affirmational versus Negational Identification Frames Influence Uniqueness-Seeking Behavior


  • The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial supports for this study from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (70832001, 71272075), the National Social Science Foundation of China (08CTQ008), and Shanghai Pujiang Talent Program. The authors contributed equally to this paper.

Correspondence regarding this article should be sent to: Yanqun He, Associate Professor, Department of Marketing, School of Management, Fudan University, 670, Guoshun Road, Shanghai 200433, China (


This research tested the proposition that consumers presenting under a negational identification frame are more likely to choose unique products than when they present themselves affirmationally. Study 1 demonstrated this main effect in a real-choice setting. Study 2 underlined temporary accessibilities to one's desired (undesired) identities when an affirmational (negational) identification frame is adopted. Study 3 further demonstrated that identity valence interacts with identification frames in driving uniqueness-seeking tendency. Additionally, this effect was found to be mediated by self-other distinction in Study 4. The research implications for both the “what” and the “how” aspects of identity-driven consumption are discussed.