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The importance of social and ideal social dimensions in self-congruity research


Correspondence: Ji-Hern Kim, College of Business, Hallym University, 1 Hallymdaehak-gil, Chuncheon, Gangwon-do, South Korea. Email:


Chronic or situational self-construal moderates the effects of four self-congruity (SC) dimensions (i.e., actual, ideal, social, and ideal social) on brand evaluations. Past research has mainly focused on the actual and ideal SC effects; these effects have been found to be stronger than the social and ideal social SC effects. However, the findings of past research are based on samples from individualistic cultures. Individualists have a dominant independent self-construal. We conduct two experiments to show that the social and ideal social SC effects are stronger than the actual and ideal SC effects for individuals with a dominant interdependent self-construal. In Study 1, using samples from collectivistic cultures, four SC effects are compared. In Study 2, we examine how primed self-construal, whether independent or interdependent, impacts the four SC effects. This research documents the importance of the social and ideal social dimensions in SC research.