Journal of Marketing Research
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Previous research has found that people tend to avoid products or behaviors that are linked to dissociative reference groups. The present research demonstrates conditions under which consumers exhibit similar behaviors to dissociative out-group members in the domain of positive consumption behaviors. In particular, when a consumer learns that a dissociative out-group performs comparatively well on a positive behavior, the consumer is more likely to respond with positive intentions and actions when the setting is public (vs. private). The authors suggest that this occurs because learning of the successful performance of a dissociative out-group under public conditions threatens the consumer’s group image and activates the desire to present the group image in a positive light. The authors show that although group affirmation mitigates these effects, self-affirmation does not. They also examine the moderating role of the positivity of the behavior and the mediating role of group image motives. Taken together, the results highlight conditions under which communicating information about the behaviors of dissociative out-groups can be used to spur consumers to engage in positive actions.