When Feeling Younger Depends on Others: The Effects of Social Cues on Older Consumers

When Feeling Younger Depends on Others: The Effects of Social Cues on Older Consumers Abstract How do social cues in the immediate environment affect older consumers’ tendency to feel younger? And what is the impact of this tendency on consumption? This research investigates the malleability of older consumers’ feel-age and the underlying mechanisms by focusing on the influence of contextual social cues and the downstream effects on consumption behavior. Five studies provide evidence that the mere presence of young social cues triggers an identity threat for older consumers; and feeling younger is a way to protect the self from negative stereotypes associated with aging. By contrast, young consumers are relatively immune to age-related social cues. Whereas the presence of young social cues magnifies older consumers’ tendency to feel younger, this effect is attenuated when the young social cues are less desirable or when the older consumers possess higher self-esteem. The greater tendency to feel younger in the presence of young social cues increases older consumers’ choice of contemporary over traditional products, especially among those with lower self-esteem. Theoretical insights and practical implications are discussed. older consumers, feel-age, social cues, identity threat, self-esteem, product choice Older adults typically feel more than 10 years younger than their chronological age (Barak, Stern, and Gould 1988; Barnhart and Peñaloza 2013; Catterall and MacLaran 2001; Guiot 2001; Van Auken and Barry 1995), and this feeling affects their attitudes and behaviors. In consumer settings, prior studies have found, for example, that older consumers who feel younger are particularly interested in fashion-related products (Lin and Xia 2012) and inclined to try new brands (Gwinner and Stephens 2001; Stephens 1991). Other studies (Guido, Amatulli, and Peluso 2014; Hsu, Chung, and Langer 2010) have investigated the effect of contextual factors on older consumers’ feel-age and provided preliminary evidence that it may be malleable. These studies indicate the need to systematically investigate the contextual effects and underlying mechanisms. The purpose of the present research is to advance our knowledge about the effects of contextual social cues on older consumers’ feel-age—the subjective perception of how old they feel—and how the effects might impact consumption behavior. We focus on the role of social cues in the immediate environment because of the pervasiveness of social influence on consumer behavior in consumption settings (Argo, Dahl, and Manchanda 2005; Dahl 2013). In particular, we investigate how the mere presence of young versus old (or same-aged) people affects older consumers’ feel-age, and how that phenomenon alters downstream consumption behavior. In theorizing about the underlying process, we build on the notion that modern consumption is youth-oriented and promotes an anti-aging culture (Guiot 2001; Twigg and Majima 2014) wherein aging is typically associated with negative stereotypes such as physical weakness and mental decline (Blaine 2013; Hummert et al. 2002; Perdue and Gurtman 1990). We reason that older consumers would be particularly sensitive about being stereotyped accordingly when others in the social context are young (Gunter 1999; Hummert et al. 2002), because the presence of young (vs. old or same-aged) others may pose an age-related threat to older people’s social identity (i.e., views of themselves as members of their own age group; White and Argo 2009). We build on the literature on stereotype threat (Abrams, Eller, and Bryant 2006; Steele 1997; Steele, Spencer, and Aronson 2002) to posit that, in response to such an identity threat, older people might distance themselves from their own age group by feeling younger as a way to cope with the aging stereotype threat that devalues their identity (Sherman et al. 2013). Older consumers may thus express a younger identity to protect the self from stereotype threat associated with negative aspects of aging. In our research, we first show that older consumers’ tendency to feel younger is magnified by exposure to young (vs. old or same-aged) cues in the immediate environment. Second, we provide evidence consistent with our theoretical account of a self-protection mechanism, showing that older consumers’ tendency to feel younger is moderated by the desirability of the young social cues. Specifically, we show that the effect on older consumers’ feel-age is attenuated when the young social cues are undesirable and thus young people represent a less aspirational social group for older consumers. Notably, the aforementioned effects appear to be limited to older consumers: a comparison of young and older consumers revealed a markedly smaller difference between actual age and feel-age in response to young versus old social cues among young consumers, irrespective of the desirability of the social cues. Third, we show that the activation of an aging-related stereotype threat and its effect on older consumers’ feel-age have consequences for consumption behavior by presenting evidence that they prefer contemporary products over traditional ones when feeling younger. Finally, we provide further support for our theoretical account that a self-protection mechanism explains the effects on older consumers’ feel-age by examining another moderating factor: self-esteem. We find that older consumers with low (vs. high) self-esteem (i.e., those with greater susceptibility to perceived social judgment and stereotype threat) are more sensitive to social cues and more prone to express a younger feel-age in the presence of young compared to old (or same-aged) people. We uncover process-level evidence for how exposure to young (vs. old or same-aged) social cues that magnify older consumers’ tendency to feel younger exerts an indirect positive effect on older consumers’ preference for contemporary products over traditional ones. Moreover, we show that this indirect effect is significant for older consumers with low, but not high, self-esteem. Our research makes both theoretical and practical contributions. Theoretically, we contribute to prior studies on older adults’ feel-age by shedding light on the processes underlying its malleability as a function of social cues. Building on prior research documenting older consumers’ tendency to feel younger (Barak et al. 1988; Barnhart and Peñaloza 2013; Van Auken and Barry 1995) and its malleability (Guido et al. 2014; Hsu et al. 2010), we investigate how and why older consumers’ feel-age is contingent on age-related social cues. By doing so, we provide a more comprehensive understanding of the ways in which people’s feel-age is context-dependent. We also contribute to the stereotype threat literature (Abrams et al. 2006; Steele 1997; Steele et al. 2002) by proposing and testing the notion that older consumers who run the risk of being negatively stereotyped by young others might defensively try to distance themselves from their own age group by magnifying their tendency to feel younger. Distinct from previous research on identity threat, which has mainly focused on salient negative aspects of an identity group (Abrams et al. 2006; Steele and Aronson 1995), our present studies show that the mere presence of a young social cue in the immediate environment is enough to trigger an age-related identity threat for older consumers and engender compensatory consumption behavior. From a practical standpoint, we advance the view that chronological age may be inadequate, in many instances, for understanding consumer behavior, particularly for older age groups. In particular, we highlight the importance of uncovering factors—both external and internal to consumers—that can shape older consumers’ feel-age across different circumstances. By doing so, we seek to call attention to the need for insights about the antecedents as well as consequences of older consumers’ feel-age, and hope that the work will ultimately lead to improved ways to serve the needs of older consumers. FEEL-AGE AS A MALLEABLE CONSTRUCT A person’s chronological age—that is, the number of years since one’s birth date—is one of the most frequently used demographic variables in marketing research (Barak and Schiffman 1981; Logan, Ward, and Spitze 1992). It has been employed as a major descriptive statistic and grouping variable in segmentation and targeting (Stephens 1991). However, despite its extensive use, its power to explain and predict older consumers’ attitudes and behaviors has diminished over the past two decades (Catterall and MacLaran 2001; Montepare and Lachman 1989; Settersten and Mayer 1997). Indeed, given the unsatisfactory explanatory and predictive power of chronological age with regard to consumer behavior, some researchers have started to focus on the concept of feel-age, also known as subjective age (Diehl et al. 2014; Galambos, Albrecht, and Jansson 2009; Montepare 2009), which refers to the subjective perception of how old one feels (Barak 2009; Settersten and Mayer 1997; Van Auken, Barry, and Bagozzi 2006). For example, a 65-year-old person might feel a different age than his/her actual age and, when asked, might state a feel-age that is either younger or older (Barak and Gould 1985; Barak and Schiffman 1981; Barak et al. 1988; Kastenbaum et al. 1972). Interestingly, some evidence suggests that older consumers’ purchases are better explained by their feel-ages than their chronological ages (Edgar and Bunker 2013; Mathur and Moschis 2005; Yoon et al. 2005), so feel-age may be an important antecedent to buying behavior (Logan et al. 1992; Stephens 1991; Underhill and Cadwell 1984; Wilkes 1992). Although past research has shown that older individuals systematically report feeling younger than their actual age (Catterall and MacLaran 2001; Guiot 2001; Kastenbaum et al. 1972; Sherman, Schiffman, and Mathur 2001; Sudbury and Simcock 2009; Weiss and Lang 2012), the literature also suggests that the discrepancy between feel-age and chronological age may not be fixed. It can vary considerably, ranging across studies from average differences of less than eight (Barrett 2003; Kaufman and Elder 2002) to more than 13 years (Guido et al. 2014; Kotter-Grühn and Hess 2012; Van Auken, Barry, and Anderson 1993). Such variability in older consumers’ feel-age suggests that it is likely to be context-dependent (i.e., changes across situations). For instance, a study by Guido et al. (2014) found that simply asking older consumers to imagine being in contexts associated with hedonic goals (e.g., at a resort) led them to report younger feel-ages relative to contexts associated with utilitarian goals (e.g., in a senior center). Other work (Eibach, Mock, and Courtney 2010; Hughes, Geraci, and De Forrest 2013) showed that older individuals report higher feel-ages when faced with performance-related tasks, such as a difficult reading test or a memory test, compared to when they are faced with performance-unrelated tasks. FEEL-AGE AND SOCIAL CONTEXT: THE IMPACT OF AGE-RELATED SOCIAL CUES The pervasive influence of social context on consumer behavior is anecdotally and empirically well documented (Argo et al. 2005; Dahl 2013). Social context can powerfully shape older people’s lives. First, advanced age is often accompanied by a progressive loss of social ties (Kim, Kang, and Kim 2005; Mead et al. 2011) as well as a greater dependency on others, as a result of physical limitations and/or mental decline (Barnhart and Peñaloza 2013; Heckhausen, Wrosch, and Schulz 2010; Yoon 1997). Second, older consumers are likely to experience social exclusion and encounter ageism in their daily lives (Blaine 2013; Cuddy, Norton, and Fiske 2005). Indeed, older adults typically hold predominantly negative aging self-stereotypes (i.e., beliefs about elderly people), while their beliefs about young people remain relatively positive (Hummert, Garstka, and Shaner 1997; Hummert et al. 2002; Levy 1996). In today’s youth-oriented society (Guiot 2001; Twigg and Majima 2014), negative aging stereotypes are reinforced, with the elderly being associated with traits and characteristics such as senility, dependence, unattractiveness, slowness, and illness (Levy 1996; Nelson 2011). The negative aging stereotypes pose a psychological threat to older consumers’ social identity (i.e., the identity they hold as members of their own age group; Scheepers and Ellemers 2005; White, Argo, and Sengupta 2012), insofar as such consumers might worry about being perceived by others as belonging to or being associated with a negatively stereotyped age group. Consistent with the basic idea that people generally strive to maintain a positive view of themselves (Alicke and Sedikides 2009; Brown, Collins, and Schmidt 1988; Sedikides 1993), prior research on stereotype threat indicates that such a threat may induce individuals to distance themselves from their own social group as a way to protect the self (Abrams et al. 2006; Pronin, Steele, and Ross 2004; Steele 1997; Steele and Aronson 1995; Steele et al. 2002). Therefore, older consumers who feel threatened by the possibility of being associated with negative aging stereotypes might defensively distance themselves from their own age group in an effort to protect themselves. Some prior studies have reported findings that are consistent with this self-protection account (Barnhart and Peñaloza 2013; Hess and Dikken 2010; Teuscher 2009). In accordance with these findings, we contend that older consumers may be prone to distance themselves psychologically from negative aging stereotypes by stating that they feel younger. In the present article, we focus on the influence of age-related social cues—real people or pictorial primes of people who are young or old (same-aged)—on older consumers’ feel-age. We reason that older consumers might feel particularly threatened by negative aging stereotypes when exposed to others in a consumption setting who are young rather than old. This premise rests on prior findings that the presence of young others may pose a threat to older individuals’ self-views (Barber and Mather 2014; Gunter 1999; Kang and Chasteen 2009). Indeed, if older individuals are around younger people, the situation may prompt intergroup comparison (Steele and Aronson 1995): they may experience heightened awareness of their lack of youthfulness and declines in physical and/or mental abilities, and regard their deaths as more imminent (Nelson 2011; North and Fiske 2012). Thus, in line with prior studies on stereotype threat (Maass et al. 2003; Steele et al. 2002), we posit that, in the presence of young (relative to old or same-aged) social cues in a given setting, the age-related identity of older consumers might become more salient in their minds, and thus the negative aging stereotypes might become more relevant. Consequently, when exposed to young (relative to old or same-aged) cues, older consumers might be more inclined to distance themselves from their own age group by exhibiting a magnified tendency to feel younger. In sum, the foregoing implies that whether a social cue comprises young or old people may differentially affect older consumers’ feel-age. In particular, we predict that the tendency of older consumers to feel younger will be greater in the presence of young rather than old social cues. Formally: H1: Older consumers feel younger than their chronological age, and this tendency to feel younger is magnified by the presence of young, relative to old (same-aged), social cues. Sensitivity to Social Cue Desirability A self-protection account suggests that a lower feel-age not only allows older consumers to dissociate themselves from old (same-aged) people, but also may provide them with a means of coping with the aging-related stereotype threat by expressing a younger identity (Weiss and Freund 2012; Weiss and Lang 2012) and thus feeling psychologically closer to young people in their immediate environment. In general, these young others represent a desirable social group with whom older individuals might wish to affiliate and build rapport (Heckhausen, Dixon, and Baltes 1989; Hummert et al. 1997,, 2002). Extrapolating from the body of evidence that people conform to desirable others as a way to feel closer to them (Chartrand and Bargh 1999; Chen and Bargh 1999; Lakin and Chartrand 2003; Lakin et al. 2003; Sinclair et al. 2005a, 2005b), we posit that, as a way of coping with the stereotype threat posed by young social cues, older consumers’ increased tendency to feel younger may represent a response aimed at suppressing their own old-age identity and aligning with the more desirable category of young people (Weiss and Freund 2012; Weiss and Lang 2012). Although older individuals generally perceive young people as possessing desirable characteristics, there are situations in which they may view the young as having undesirable qualities or exhibiting negative behaviors (e.g., being loud and boisterous in a quiet neighborhood). If the greater tendency of older consumers to feel younger when exposed to young social cues reflects a self-protective strategy aimed at feeling closer to the more desirable category of young people, then this tendency should be attenuated when the young cues are undesirable. Formally: H2: Older consumers’ tendency to feel younger in the presence of young (vs. old) social cues is attenuated when the young social cues have undesirable (compared to desirable) characteristics. Insofar as we posit that it is the need for self-protection that accounts for older consumers’ magnified tendency to feel younger in the presence of young (vs. old) others, we would not expect the same tendency to hold for young consumers. Instead, the young, compared to older consumers, are likely to feel an age that is more congruent with their own chronological age (Chang 2008; Heckhausen and Krueger 1993), or even slightly older (Montepare and Lachman 1989). Furthermore, other researchers (Barber and Mather 2014; Levy 1996) have suggested that young consumers are less reactive and less affected by age-related stereotypes. Indeed, compared to older individuals, the young have a lower need for psychological self-protection from age-related stereotypes (Ebner, Freund, and Baltes 2006; Freund 2006). Thus, young consumers are less susceptible to potential age-related social cues and less motivated to distance themselves from their own age group. Because feel-age does not serve a self-protective function for young people, it is reasonable to expect that they would be relatively immune to the effects of an age-related social cue and its desirability. Formally: H3: The difference between actual age and feel-age is smaller for young than for older consumers; and young consumers are relatively immune to the effects of an age-related social cue and its desirability. The Impact of Younger Feel-Age on Older Consumers’ Behavior We further consider the downstream effects of older consumers’ feel-age on consumption. Both common intuition and empirical evidence (Lambert-Pandraud, Laurent, and Lapersonne 2005; Mogilner, Aaker, and Kamvar 2012; Moschis 2003) suggest that older consumers gravitate toward traditional products. To confirm this basic assumption, we conducted a pilot study with a sample of 69 respondents aged 65 and over (MAge = 69.86, SDAge = 4.18, 27 males). Respondents were asked to indicate their general liking for traditional and contemporary products using two identical six-point scales (1 = extremely dislike, 6 = extremely like). The results of a repeated-measures ANOVA showed that respondents liked traditional products (M = 4.54, SD = .76) more than contemporary products (M = 3.94, SD = 1.06), F(1, 68) = 13.29, p = .001. Despite the empirical validity of such an assumption, we contend that feel-age might substantially impact older consumers’ behavior by altering their preferences. Some past studies have indeed provided correlational evidence that older consumers who feel younger are more likely to engage in purchase behaviors that are typically associated with youth, such as purchasing fashion products (Lin and Xia 2012) and trying new brands (Gwinner and Stephens 2001; Stephens 1991). Consistent with the latter account, we might thus expect that feel-age plays an important role in consumption behavior and, more specifically, that the older consumers’ magnified tendency to feel younger in the presence of young social cues leads to an increased preference for contemporary products over traditional ones. Formally: H4: Older consumers’ increased tendency to feel younger in the presence of young (vs. old) social cues leads to a greater likelihood of choosing contemporary products over traditional products. The Moderating Role of Self-Esteem We next consider the moderating role of an individual’s self-esteem (i.e., self-evaluation based on how one feels about oneself; Leary et al. 1995; Orth, Maes, and Schmitt 2015) on the magnified tendency by older consumers to feel younger in the presence of young social cues. Specifically, to the extent that the greater tendency to feel younger in the presence of young social cues reflects a self-protective reaction to an aging stereotype threat, we would expect older consumers with lower self-esteem to be more inclined to exhibit such a reaction due to their heightened susceptibility to social judgments and threats (Baumeister and Tice 1985; Brockner 1988). In general, people who usually feel good about themselves and hold a positive evaluation of themselves have higher self-esteem, whereas those who feel bad and hold a negative evaluation of themselves have lower self-esteem. Prior work has shown that people with higher self-esteem are interested in affirming or further enhancing the self (Brown et al. 1988). Such individuals are more confident about their own capabilities and social standing and, thus, less susceptible to others’ criticisms (Leary et al. 1995). By contrast, people with lower self-esteem are more apt to protect the self and to engage in actions aimed at defending themselves against the potential threats of social scrutiny (Anthony, Holmes, and Wood 2007; Brockner 1988; Wood et al. 1994). Individuals with lower self-esteem are less confident about their capabilities and are thus more easily influenced by others’ judgments (Josephs, Bosson, and Jacobs 2003). This finding suggests that, when exposed to a social identity threat, such individuals may be more inclined to minimize the risk of being negatively judged by others (Elangovan and Xie 1999; Pierce et al. 1993) and to conform to others in order to feel adequate and defend the self (Baumeister and Tice 1985; Dommer, Swaminathan, and Ahluwalia 2013; Lakin et al. 2003). Accordingly, we propose that self-esteem moderates the effect of social cues on older consumers’ feel-age. Specifically, we suggest that the tendency by older consumers to feel younger in the presence of young social cues represents a means to distance themselves from their own age group and conform to young others (comprising a more desirable category), in order to protect the self from negative aging stereotypes, and that older consumers with lower self-esteem show an exaggerated tendency to feel younger. In sum, we posit that the tendency to feel younger may be especially pronounced among older consumers with low (vs. high) self-esteem because they are more sensitive to stereotype threats and thus more inclined to distance themselves from their own age group, and to conform more to young others in their environment. Hence, upon exposure to young (vs. old) social cues, older consumers with lower self-esteem are expected to exhibit a heightened tendency to feel younger and choose contemporary over traditional products. The conceptual model is presented in figure 1. More formally, we propose the following hypothesis: H5: Older consumers with low (vs. high) self-esteem exhibit a tendency to feel younger that is magnified in the presence of young as compared to old social cues. This tendency leads older consumers with low (vs. high) self-esteem to choose contemporary products over traditional ones. FIGURE 1 View largeDownload slide CONCEPTUAL MODEL FIGURE 1 View largeDownload slide CONCEPTUAL MODEL OVERVIEW We conduct five studies to test our hypotheses. In the first two studies, we test hypothesis 1 by examining how older consumers’ feel-age changes in the presence of social cues comprising young versus old (or same-aged) people. In study 1, we manipulate young and old social cues in a real social setting to show that they differentially affect older consumers’ feel-age. In study 2, we manipulate social cue using a pictorial prime in an online setting. Next, study 3 tests hypotheses 2 and 3 by manipulating the desirability of the young versus old social cues by using pictorial primes accompanied by text in an online setting and assessing its effects on older consumers’ feel-age in comparison to young consumers’ feel-age. Study 4 tests hypothesis 4 by manipulating social cue using pictorial primes in an online shopping setting and assessing how the older consumers’ magnified tendency to feel younger in the presence of young (vs. old) social cues increases the choice of contemporary products over traditional ones. Finally, study 5 provides a replication of findings in study 4, and tests hypothesis 5 in a field experiment. In particular, it shows how self-esteem moderates the effect of social cue on older consumers’ feel-age and how that influences older consumers’ preference for contemporary (vs. traditional) products in a real choice situation. STUDY 1 We conducted study 1 to provide support for hypothesis 1 by showing that older consumers exhibit a greater tendency to feel younger when exposed to young rather than old (same-aged) social cues. Method One hundred twenty-four respondents aged 65 and over (MAge = 70.52, SDAge = 5.39, 71 males) were assigned to one of three social cue conditions of a three-cell between-participants experiment: young social cue, old social cue (roughly same age), or control (no social cue). Those in the young and old social cue conditions were approached in a midsized European city. We manipulated the type of social cue by having young or old interviewers approach older consumers at shopping sites such as malls, stores, and restaurants. In the young social cue condition (n = 37, MAge = 71.30, SDAge = 5.69, 20 males), the interviewers were two young individuals (under age 35): one male and one female. In the old social cue condition (n = 43, MAge = 69.42, SDAge = 4.72, 24 males), the interviewers were two older individuals (over age 65): one male and one female. The interviewers were pretested to ensure that young and old interviewers differed in how their ages were perceived, but were equivalently rated in terms of attractiveness (see web appendix A for pretest results). All the interviewers were dressed in simple and classic clothing in neutral colors and approached only same-gender respondents. The interviewers were blind to the study’s goals and hypotheses, and trained to professionally administer the questions to respondents with minimal interaction. Moreover, the interviewers approached one participant at time, and never did so in the presence of other participants who had been interviewed already in the surrounding area, in order to avoid potential suspicion among participants that the study concerned older consumers. All face-to-face interviews were conducted in the morning. In the control condition (n = 44, MAge = 70.95, SDAge = 5.68, 27 males), an online questionnaire was emailed to members of a senior service organization. The instructions explicitly asked respondents to complete the questionnaire in the morning and only when alone in order to ensure greater reliability of responses. Participants first read instructions, which informed them that the study’s goal concerned their shopping activities. In particular, to avoid participants becoming aware that the actual goal of the study was about their feel-age, the instructions also mentioned that the final aim of the survey was to know how often consumers go shopping, as a market research company wanted to understand the best time to launch a new product in the market. Participants were then asked to answer a question concerning the frequency of their shopping activities. After that, participants were asked to report the age they felt at that moment using a simple question used in prior studies (i.e., “How old do you feel right now?”; Guido et al. 2014; Hughes et al. 2013; Weiss and Lang 2012), which allowed for an easy comparison to chronological age without prompting respondents to focus exclusively on either physical or mental states when providing answers (see web appendix A for pretest results). Participants also reported their date of birth, gender, and health status, using a four-point scale (1 = excellent, 2 = good, 3 = fair, 4 = poor). Finally, participants in the young and old social cue conditions, but not in the control condition, rated their perceptions of the interviewer’s age on a seven-point scale (1 = much younger than me, 7 = much older than me) (see web appendix A for details). Results Respondents across the three conditions did not differ in terms of chronological age, health status, and gender distribution. Participants in the young social cue condition rated their interviewers as “much younger” than themselves (M = 1.00, SD = .00), whereas those in the old social cue condition rated the interviewers as significantly older (M = 2.98, SD = 1.39), F(1, 78) = 74.85, p < .001. Thus, the social cue manipulation was successful. To verify whether the different social cues affected the respondents’ tendency to feel younger, we computed a youth-age index as the main dependent measure in accordance with past research (Barak 1987; Guido et al. 2014; Mock and Eibach 2011; Weiss and Lang 2012; Westerhof and Barrett 2005). This index captures the discrepancy between one’s feel-age and actual age by subtracting the feel-age from the chronological age. Thus, the higher the youth-age index, the younger one feels. Overall, the youth-age indices in this study were positive (M = 11.55, SD = 12.56), t(123) = 10.24, p < .001, with participants indicating that they felt younger than they actually were by more than 10 years. We analyzed the data to assess the effects of social cue on the youth-age index using a one-way ANOVA with three treatment conditions (young social cue, old social cue, and control). The results revealed a significant effect of social cue on the youth-age index, F(2, 121) = 8.92, p < .001 (figure 2). This effect of social cue remained significant (p < .001) after we statistically controlled for respondents’ gender and health status. FIGURE 2 View largeDownload slide YOUTH-AGE INDEX AS A FUNCTION OF SOCIAL CUE (STUDY 1) NOTE.—Youth-age index = (chronological age – feel-age). Error bars indicate standard errors. FIGURE 2 View largeDownload slide YOUTH-AGE INDEX AS A FUNCTION OF SOCIAL CUE (STUDY 1) NOTE.—Youth-age index = (chronological age – feel-age). Error bars indicate standard errors. Consistent with hypothesis 1, contrasts revealed that participants in the young social cue condition had a higher youth-age index (M = 17.81, SD = 16.12) than those in the old social cue condition (M = 6.65, SD = 8.49), t(121) = 4.21, p < .001. Furthermore, the youth-age index of participants in the young social cue condition was significantly higher than those in the control condition (M = 11.07, SD = 10.27), t(121) = 2.56, p = .012. Finally, the difference in youth-age indices between the old social cue and control conditions was marginally significant (p = .08). Thus, study 1 results replicated prior findings that older consumer feel younger than their chronological age. Moreover, they provided evidence that older consumers’ tendency to feel younger varies with the age-related social cues. As predicted by hypothesis 1, older participants’ tendency to feel younger was magnified by the presence of young social cues compared to old social cues (or no social cues). STUDY 2 Although study 1 provided support for hypothesis 1, there is at least one concern that deserves further empirical consideration. Despite careful training of the interviewers to ensure they maintained minimal interaction with respondents, we could not rule out the possibility that the interviewers’ interactions varied across respondents and social cue conditions so that the findings might not generalize to other social cue settings. Study 2 is designed to address the concern by testing hypothesis 1 using a pictorial prime to experimentally manipulate social cue in an online experiment. Method One hundred twenty-eight participants aged 65 and over (MAge = 70.78, SDAge = 4.86, 52 males) were recruited for an online study from a national paid pool of US older consumers. They were randomly assigned to either a young or old social cue condition of a two-cell between-participants experiment. Because respondents were recruited directly from a pool of older consumers, we did not use any screening question regarding age, thus avoiding the potential suspicion among them that the study pertained to their own age group. To ensure that respondents remained unaware that the study concerned solely older consumers, they were also given a cover story that the survey was aimed at investigating how consumers generally feel when shopping. Then, respondents in the young social cue condition were presented with a pictorial prime displaying a pair consisting of a young man and a young woman. Respondents in the old social cue condition were exposed to a pictorial prime displaying a pair of an old man and an old woman (see web appendix B). The pairs depicted in the two primes exhibited similar postures and neutral facial expressions. Respondents were asked to imagine themselves in a shopping store where most of the surrounding people were like those depicted in the pictorial prime and then to report their feel-age (“How old do you feel right now?”). Next, they were asked to report their liking for the picture (“How much do you like the picture?”; 1 = not at all, 7 = very much), and the clarity of the picture (“How is the picture clarity?”; 1 = very bad, 7 = very good). Respondents were also asked to rate the physical attractiveness of the people featured in the picture (“How would you rate the two people depicted in the picture?”; 1 = very unattractive, 7 = very attractive) and the amount of interaction between the people in the picture (“How much do the two people depicted in the picture interact with each other?”; 1 = not at all, 7 = very much). Finally, respondents indicated whether the people featured in the pictorial prime were young or old (“Does the picture depict mostly young people or mostly old people?”; 1 = mostly young people, 7 = mostly old people), along with their date of birth, gender, and health status. Results Respondents across the two social cue conditions were able to discriminate between the young and old pair featured in the pictorial primes as expected: the pair in the old social cue condition was rated as significantly older (M = 6.46, SD = 1.03) than the pair in the young social cue condition (M = 1.52, SD = .92), F(1, 126) = 819.76, p < .001. Respondents’ liking ratings for the two pictorial primes did not differ across the young and old social cue conditions (p = .47). Their evaluations of the picture clarity were also equivalent across the social cue conditions (p = .13). However, the two pictorial primes differed in perceived attractiveness of the pair and perceived amount of interaction between the people featured in each picture: the pair in the young social cue condition was rated as more attractive (M = 5.83, SD = 1.15) than the pair in the old social cue condition (M = 4.54, SD = .96), F(1, 126) = 47.06, p < .001. Moreover, the amount of interaction between the people featured was perceived to be lower in the young social cue condition (M = 3.88, SD = 1.96) than in the old social cue condition (M = 5.22, SD = 1.62), F(1, 126) = 17.80, p < .001. We computed the same youth-age index as in study 1 and then tested whether this index was affected by the social cue. Consistent with hypothesis 1, respondents in the young social cue condition reported a higher youth-age index (M = 16.57, SD = 16.51) than those in the old social cue condition (M = 9.78, SD = 10.11), F(1, 126) = 7.82, p = .006. As the two pictorial primes differed in perceived attractiveness of the pair and the amount of interaction between the people featured, we repeated the analysis by controlling for the potential effects of these two variables, as well as gender, health status, and the time of day at which the study was completed (i.e., A.M. vs. P.M.; Williams and Drolet 2005; Yoon 1997; Yoon, Cole, and Lee 2009). This analysis did not change our substantive results; the effect of social cue on older consumers’ tendency to feel younger remained significant (p < .001). Hence, the validity of our key findings was unlikely to have been compromised by potential confounds. By replicating the findings from study 1, this study provided further support for hypothesis 1 that older consumers’ tendency to feel younger is magnified in the presence of young (vs. old) social cues. The next study aimed to test our theoretical account implicating self-protection as the process underlying the effect of social cues on older consumers’ feel-age. STUDY 3 Study 3 is designed to test hypotheses 2 and 3. According to hypothesis 2, older consumers’ tendency to feel younger in the presence of young (vs. old) social cues is attenuated when such cues are undesirable. Furthermore, study 3 extends the sample to young consumers to explore young versus older consumers’ differential reactions to age-related social cues. Consistent with hypothesis 3, we expected that young consumers would have feel-ages that are closer to their own actual age and remain relatively immune to age-related social cues and their desirability. Method Three hundred sixty-five respondents (MAge = 49.17, SDAge = 21.38, 125 males) participated in a 2 (age group: young vs. older) × 2 (social cue: young vs. old) × 2 (desirability of social cue: low vs. high) between-participants experiment. They were recruited for an online study from a national paid pool of US consumers with specific age criteria. The young group consisted of participants aged 35 and younger (n = 196, MAge = 29.80, SDAge = 3.91, 52 males), and the older group consisted of those aged 65 and over (n = 169, MAge = 71.64, SDAge = 5.21, 73 males). Both the social cue and its desirability were manipulated. We manipulated the social cue via pictorial prime as in study 2, by presenting respondents with a picture that depicted either a young pair or an older pair of people. We manipulated desirability of the social cues by having participants view the pictorial prime and read an excerpt from a fictitious article that reported scientific findings about the primed social category. The scientific findings were about life satisfaction, optimism, happiness, and physical activities, which represent aspects of life that are desirable for both young and older participants. Both the assigned pictorial prime and the content of the article excerpt were changed to manipulate desirability. Specifically, participants in the low desirability condition saw a version of the prime that displayed a young (or older) pair of people, but we had the picture professionally edited to make the pair appear serious and unhappy, while keeping constant the setting of the other physical characteristics. These participants read the following (see web appendix C for details and pretest results): Recent scientific studies, conducted by a team of researchers from American universities, have investigated negative physical and psychological characteristics of young (older) people. Their results show that young (older) people, compared to those in other age groups, are characterized by dissatisfaction with life, pessimism, and unhappiness. Furthermore, young (older) people are found to be less inclined to do physical activities. In contrast, participants in the high desirability condition saw a version of the assigned prime that we had professionally edited to make the young (or older) pair of people appear smiling and happy, while keeping constant the other physical characteristics. These participants read the following: Recent scientific studies, conducted by a team of researchers from American universities, have investigated positive physical and psychological characteristics of young (older) people. Their results show that young (older) people, compared to those in other age groups, are characterized by satisfaction with life, optimism, and happiness. Furthermore, young (older) people are found to be more inclined to do physical activities. Participants were asked to imagine themselves in a situation where most of the surrounding people were like those depicted in the picture and described in the article excerpt. Next, they were asked to indicate the age they felt at that moment by answering a feel-age question (i.e., “What age do you feel right now?”). This was followed by three more questions that served as manipulation checks. First, participants indicated the extent to which they desired the characteristics mentioned in the passage they read (“To what extent would you desire to have the characteristics described in the article excerpt?”) on a seven-point scale (1 = not at all, 7 = very much). Second, they indicated whether the picture they saw displayed either young or old people (“Did the picture accompanying the article excerpt depict relatively young or old people?”) using a three-point scale (“relatively young,” “neither young nor old,” “relatively old”). Third, they rated the credibility of the article excerpt (“How credible would you rate the information in the article excerpt?”) using a seven-point scale (1 = not at all, 7 = very much). Finally, respondents reported their date of birth, gender, and health status. Results We first checked that participants in the low desirability condition reported less desire to have the qualities ascribed to the primed social category (M = 3.13, SD = 2.17) than those in the high desirability condition (M = 5.33, SD = 1.61), F(1, 363) = 122.19, p < .001. Second, we found that respondents’ perceptions of the young versus old social cues were largely as intended: 75.27% of the respondents in the young social cue condition reported that their pictorial prime depicted young people, χ2(2) = 154.16, p < .001, while 79.23% of the respondents in the old social cue condition reported that their pictorial prime depicted old people, χ2(2) = 182.98, p < .001. A two-way ANOVA expressing respondents’ desire for the qualities ascribed to the primed social category as a function of social cue and desirability of the cue revealed no significant interaction between the two manipulated factors (p = .83). Third, respondents rated the article excerpt as acceptably credible (M = 4.52, SD = 1.67, significantly higher than the midpoint 4; t(364) = 5.94, p < .001). Moreover, a distinct two-way ANOVA revealed that respondents’ perceptions regarding the credibility of the article excerpt did not vary as a function of social cue or desirability of the cue (ps > .10). Thus, our manipulations were successful. After computing the youth-age index as in the previous studies, we conducted a three-way ANOVA to test the effects of age group (young vs. older), social cue (young vs. old), and social cue desirability (low vs. high) on youth-age index. The analysis revealed a significant main effect of age group, F(1, 357) = 198.35, p < .001, which indicated that the tendency to feel younger than chronological age is a phenomenon typical of older consumers, but not of young consumers. Whereas older respondents felt, on average, about 14 years younger (M = 14.67, SD = 10.55), young respondents felt, on average, about a year and a half older than their actual age (M = –1.33, SD = 11.23). Therefore, consistent with hypothesis 3, the difference between young respondents’ actual age and feel-age was smaller than for older respondents. Importantly, the main effect was qualified by a significant three-way interaction effect, F(1, 357) = 6.96, p = .009. This interaction effect remained significant (p = .016) after we statistically controlled for respondents’ gender, health status, and the time of the day at which the survey was completed (i.e., A.M. vs. P.M.). To explore the nature of this three-way interaction, we analyzed data from older and young respondents separately in two distinct two-way ANOVAs, which expressed the youth-age index as a function of (young vs. old) social cue and (low vs. high) desirability of the social cue. For older respondents, there was a significant interaction between social cue and desirability, F(1, 165) = 4.79, p = .03. Contrasts revealed that older respondents had a lower youth-age index when the young social cue was low in desirability (M = 12.40, SD = 8.53) compared to when it was high in desirability (M = 18.19, SD = 11.60), t(165) = 2.55, p = .012. Consistent with hypothesis 2, this finding indicates that older consumers’ tendency to feel younger in the presence of a young social cue is attenuated when the cue is low in desirability. However, in the case of an old social cue, older respondents’ youth-age index did not vary depending on whether the social cue had a low (M = 14.68, SD = 10.91) or high level of desirability (M = 13.45, SD = 10.39), p = .59 (figure 3, panel A). FIGURE 3 View largeDownload slide YOUTH-AGE INDEX AS A FUNCTION OF AGE GROUP, SOCIAL CUE, AND SOCIAL CUE DESIRABILITY (STUDY 3) NOTE.—Youth-age index = (chronological age – feel-age). Error bars indicate standard errors. FIGURE 3 View largeDownload slide YOUTH-AGE INDEX AS A FUNCTION OF AGE GROUP, SOCIAL CUE, AND SOCIAL CUE DESIRABILITY (STUDY 3) NOTE.—Youth-age index = (chronological age – feel-age). Error bars indicate standard errors. For young respondents, the results were consistent with hypothesis 3. We found no significant main (ps > .10) or interaction (p = .12) effects. Indeed, young respondents’ youth-age index remained close to zero in all conditions and was not affected by our manipulations (figure 3, panel B). The empirical evidence supporting hypotheses 2 and 3 are in line with our proposed self-protection account for why older consumers tend to feel younger than their chronological age in a context comprising young others. Furthermore, by comparing young versus older respondents’ youth-age indices in response to age-related social cues with different levels of desirability, we find that the tendency to feel younger is a phenomenon that occurs for older consumers, but not young consumers. Consistent with hypothesis 3, we found that young consumers’ feel-age is less sensitive to age-related social cues and not affected by the desirability of the cue. Hence, the pattern of findings obtained in study 3 is incompatible with a potential alternative explanation that a mere-assimilation mechanism (i.e., individuals conform to the prime consisting of an age-related social cue) may account for the observed effects in studies 1 and 2. At the same time, we wish to acknowledge a limitation in the study design that compromises our ability to draw unequivocal conclusions. Because we manipulated the facial expressions of people depicted in the pictorial primes to be positive or negative in addition to the content of the article excerpts, we cannot completely rule out the possibility that it was the valence of facial expressions, and not the desirability of social cues per se, that accounts for the reported effects. The final two studies were designed to provide two further pieces of evidence: how older consumers’ increased tendency to feel younger in the presence of young (vs. old) others affects consumption behavior, and the moderating role of self-esteem. Indeed, if the tendency to feel younger in the presence of young others represents a self-protective strategy through which older consumers psychologically distance themselves from the old-age category while conforming to the more desirable category of young people, then we would expect a moderating role for self-esteem. In particular, we expected that older consumers with lower self-esteem should be especially prone to exhibit heightened susceptibility to social judgments and threats (Baumeister and Tice 1985; Brockner 1988). STUDY 4 Study 4 is designed to test hypothesis 4 that a downstream consequence of the older consumers’ magnified tendency to feel younger in the presence of young (vs. old) others is an increase in their choice of contemporary (vs. traditional) products. Method One hundred thirty-one participants aged 65 and over (MAge = 69.79, SDAge = 3.95, 56 males) were recruited for an online study from a national paid pool of US older consumers and randomly assigned to one of two conditions of a two-cell between-participants experiment that manipulated social cue (young vs. old). We manipulated the social cue via the same pictorial primes as in studies 2 and 3 by employing them as images included as part of a fictitious Amazon advertisement. The images were accompanied by the claim, “3.5 million people are now buying something on Amazon.com! You are one of them.” Respondents were told that they were participating in a study concerning a new Amazon advertisement. Thus, participants in the young social cue condition saw a version of the advertisement that contained the pictorial prime displaying the young pair of people, while those in the old social cue condition saw the version containing the pictorial prime with the older pair. Participants then answered the same feel-age question as in studies 1 and 2 by indicating the age they felt at that moment. Next, they were told that they could elect to forego the monetary compensation they were to receive for their participation in the study and, instead, choose to have one of two pens being sold on Amazon. Participants were then asked to select between two pens of comparable quality and price, which differed only in whether the design was more contemporary or traditional. (In a pretest, the pen with a modern design was rated as both more contemporary and more targeted at young consumers than the pen with a traditional design; see web appendix D for details.) Finally, respondents reported their date of birth and gender. Results We first computed the youth-age index, as in the previous studies, and then conducted a simple mediation analysis as per Hayes (2013, model 4) to test hypothesis 4. Applying a linear regression, we first regressed the youth-age index on social cue (coded as –1 for old, and 1 for young). Consistent with results reported for previous studies, we found that social cue exerted an effect on the youth-age index that was positive and significant (b = 2.34, t(129) = 2.35, p = .02): respondents in the young social cue condition reported a higher youth-age index (M = 14.55, SD = 11.95) than those in the old social cue condition (M = 9.87, SD = 10.81). Next, applying a binary logistic regression, we regressed participants’ choice (coded as 0 for traditional pen, and 1 for contemporary pen) on their youth-age index and type of social cue. The obtained results revealed a direct effect of the youth-age index on choice that was positive and significant (b = .04, Wald χ2(1) = 4.68, p = .03), indicating that older consumers’ increased tendency to feel younger in the presence of young (vs. old) social cues is positively associated with a greater likelihood of choosing the contemporary product. The direct effect of social cue on product choice was nonsignificant (p = .38). More importantly, using a bootstrapping method (Hayes 2013; Preacher and Hayes 2008; Zhao, Lynch, and Chen 2010), we found that the indirect effect of social cue on product choice via the youth-age index was positive and significant (b = .10, 95% confidence interval = .01, .28), thus supporting hypothesis 4. Overall, study 4 demonstrated the effects of older consumers’ tendency to feel younger on consumption behavior. The next study is designed to provide more robust evidence of the downstream consequences by asking participants to make a choice in a different consumption domain. Furthermore, study 5 tests hypothesis 5 regarding the moderating role of self-esteem. STUDY 5 Study 5 is a field experiment designed to test hypotheses 4 and 5 in order to further bolster empirical support for our conceptual model presented in figure 1. In addition to testing the mediating role of the youth-age index, thus providing supportive evidence for the effect found in study 4, the present study examines the moderating role of self-esteem. Specifically, it assesses the extent to which older consumers with low (vs. high) self-esteem exhibit a greater tendency to feel younger in the presence of young as compared to old social cues, and whether such a greater tendency is associated with increased choice of contemporary over traditional products. To this end, study 5 tests whether the indirect effect of social cue on real choice behavior, via the youth-age index, is significant for older consumers with low (vs. high) self-esteem. Method One hundred sixty participants aged 65 and over (MAge = 68.94, SDAge = 4.36, 81 males) were approached by an experimenter blind to the study’s goals at the entrance of a real pastry store in a European city and asked to volunteer for a study seemingly regarding a market research survey on customers and stores. The study was a mixed-factorial design that included social cue (young vs. old) as a between-participants factor and self-esteem as the measured variable. Before entering the store, participants completed a short questionnaire containing a self-esteem scale composed of 10 items based on Rosenberg’s (1965) work (e.g., “On the whole, I am satisfied with myself”; see web appendix E for details), and some filler items that were totally unrelated to the study. Upon their entrance, participants were told that they would evaluate certain aspects of the store for a market research survey, in order to disguise the real goals of the experiment. Then, participants were accompanied to a separate area (within the store) to minimize the influence of potential confounds that might stem from the presence of other people in the central area of the store. Upon their arrival at the in-store experimental area, they were randomly assigned to one of two social cue conditions: young or old social cue. The social cue was manipulated via the same pictorial primes as in the previous studies, which were employed as visuals of an advertisement with an age-unrelated claim encouraging participation in the study (i.e., “Complete a short anonymous questionnaire on store perception. You will receive a gift!”). Specifically, participants in the young social cue condition completed a fictitious market research survey, composed of two filler questions on how they perceived the store, while being exposed to a version of the advertisement containing a pictorial prime of the young pair of people. Those in the old social cue condition were asked to complete the same survey while being exposed to a version of the advertisement including a pictorial prime of the old pair. Next, participants were asked to report their feel-age. They then provided their date of birth and gender. Afterward, as a reward for their participation in the study, participants were given the chance to choose between two chocolate pastries. The two pastries had identical ingredients and shapes, and differed only in that one pastry had a colored decoration, while the other had a brown decoration. (In a pretest, the two pastries were deemed comparable in terms of quality and price, but the pastry with colored decoration was perceived as more contemporary and more targeted at young consumers than the one with brown decoration, which was perceived as relatively traditional and targeted at older consumers; see web appendix E for details.) Participants’ choice between the two pastries served as the dependent measure in the analysis. Results We first computed the youth-age index and conducted a simple mediation analysis, using the same analytical approach as in study 4, to provide more robust support for hypothesis 4. Applying a linear regression, we regressed the youth-age index on social cue (coded as –1 for old, and 1 for young), and found that social cue exerted an effect on the youth-age index that was positive and significant (b = 2.29, t(158) = 3.30, p = .001). Indeed, respondents in the young social cue condition reported a higher youth-age index (M = 13.93, SD = 8.85) than those in the old social cue condition (M = 9.35, SD = 8.67). Next, using a binary logistic regression, we regressed participants’ choice (coded as 0 for traditional pastry, and 1 for contemporary pastry) on their youth-age index and social cue. We found a direct effect of the youth-age index on choice that was positive and significant (b = .05, Wald χ2(1) = 5.91, p = .015), indicating that older consumers’ increased tendency to feel younger in the presence of young (vs. old) social cue is positively associated with a greater likelihood of choosing the contemporary product. The direct effect of social cue on product choice was not significant (p = .10). Using the same bootstrapping method as in study 4, we found that the indirect effect of social cue on product choice via the youth-age index was positive and significant (b = .11, 95% confidence interval = .02, .27). This finding provided evidence for the mediation effect predicted in hypothesis 4. Second, to test hypothesis 5, we averaged the scores on the 10 items assessing participants’ self-esteem (α = .82) to obtain an index of this construct (M = 5.77, SD = .72). Then, we estimated a simple moderation model using Hayes’ procedure (2013; model 1), in which the youth-age index was expressed as a function of social cue (coded as above), self-esteem (as a continuous and mean-centered variable), and their interaction. The analysis revealed a main effect of social cue on the youth-age index that was positive and significant (b = 2.29, t(156) = 3.33, p = .001). However, this effect was qualified by interaction between social cue and self-esteem that was significantly negative (b = –2.02, t(156) = 2.07, p = .04). We further probed this interaction by estimating the conditional effects of social cue on the youth-age index at one standard deviation below and above the mean of self-esteem. The results showed that, consistent with hypothesis 5, older participants with lower self-esteem (M – 1 SD) reported a higher youth-age index (i.e., a younger feel-age) when the social cue was young (15.14) than when it was old (7.64), b = 3.75, t(156) = 3.78, p < .001. Those with higher self-esteem (M + 1 SD) reported a youth-age index that did not significantly vary as a function of whether the social cue was young (12.80) or old (11.16), b = .82, t(156) = .84, p = .40 (figure 4). FIGURE 4 View largeDownload slide YOUTH-AGE INDEX AS A FUNCTION OF SOCIAL CUE AND SELF-ESTEEM (STUDY 5) NOTE.—Youth-age index = (chronological age – feel-age). FIGURE 4 View largeDownload slide YOUTH-AGE INDEX AS A FUNCTION OF SOCIAL CUE AND SELF-ESTEEM (STUDY 5) NOTE.—Youth-age index = (chronological age – feel-age). Third, we conducted a bootstrapped mediated moderation analysis (Hayes 2013; model 7; Preacher and Hayes 2008; Zhao et al. 2010) to examine the mediating role of the youth-age index in the relationship between the interaction term (social cue by self-esteem) and product choice (figure 1). We found that the interaction between social cue and self-esteem exerted an indirect effect on the participants’ choice of contemporary pastry over traditional pastry that was negative and significant (b = –.10, 95% confidence interval = –.25, –.01). By looking at the conditional indirect effects of social cue on participants’ choice via the youth-age index, at one standard deviation below and above the mean of self-esteem, we found that such an indirect effect was positive and significant for participants with lower self-esteem (M – 1 SD; b = .18, 95% confidence interval = .04, .41) and nonsignificant for those with higher self-esteem (M + 1 SD; b = .04, 95% confidence interval included 0) (figure 5), thus supporting hypothesis 5. FIGURE 5 View largeDownload slide CONDITIONAL INDIRECT EFFECTS OF SOCIAL CUE ON PRODUCT CHOICE (STUDY 5) NOTE.—* p < .05, ** p < .01. Dotted arrows indicate nonsignificant effects. FIGURE 5 View largeDownload slide CONDITIONAL INDIRECT EFFECTS OF SOCIAL CUE ON PRODUCT CHOICE (STUDY 5) NOTE.—* p < .05, ** p < .01. Dotted arrows indicate nonsignificant effects. Overall, study 5 replicated study 4’s results in a field experiment and thereby provided stronger support for hypothesis 4. Furthermore, it supported hypothesis 5. The results lend further credence to our theoretical account by showing that older consumers who are lower in self-esteem are particularly sensitive to social cues, and therefore exhibit an exaggerated tendency to feel younger after being exposed to young rather than old social cues. In contrast, those higher in self-esteem exhibit a tendency to feel younger that remains constant irrespective of the social cue to which they are exposed. In addition, for older consumers lower in self-esteem, such an exaggerated tendency increases their choice of contemporary over traditional products. GENERAL DISCUSSION The present research investigated the malleability of older consumers’ feel-age as a function of social context—a factor that plays a major role in consumer behavior (Argo et al. 2005; Dahl 2013) but remains largely underexplored in relation to older consumers. Across five studies, we showed that older consumers’ tendency to feel younger varies as a function of whether they are exposed to young or old (same-aged) social cues. We also provided evidence for our theoretical account of the older consumers’ magnified tendency to feel younger in the presence of young social cues. As per our theorizing, older consumers engage in a self-protective strategy whereby they defensively distance themselves from their own age group to cope with the risk of being associated with negative aging stereotypes. We further explored the downstream consequences of this phenomenon with respect to consumption behavior, and uncovered a greater likelihood of choosing contemporary over traditional products. Specifically, the results of studies 1 and 2 showed that the tendency to feel younger is magnified by the mere presence of young social cues compared to old social cues. Study 3 showed that the effect of young social cues on older consumers’ feel-age is attenuated when such cues are undesirable. Study 4 shed light on the mediating role of the youth-age index and showed that older consumers’ magnified tendency to feel younger in the presence of young (vs. old) social cues increases their choice of contemporary over traditional products in an online shopping context. Study 5 replicated study 4’s findings in a real physical shopping context and explored the moderating role of self-esteem. Results of study 5 showed that older consumers with low (vs. high) self-esteem exhibit a greater tendency to feel younger in the presence of young as compared to old (same-age) social cues, and that such a magnified tendency is associated with increased choice of contemporary over traditional products. This finding provided empirical support for our proposed self-protection account. We reported a pattern of findings consistent with the proposition that older consumers with lower self-esteem report feeling younger in contexts consisting of young others as a means to defend themselves from stereotype threats associated with negative aspects of aging. Meanwhile, those higher in self-esteem, who are less vulnerable to social scrutiny (Anthony et al. 2007; Brockner 1988; Josephs et al. 2003; Wood et al. 1994), exhibited a tendency to feel younger that is not sensitive to whether the social cue is young or old. Taken together, the results of studies 3, 4, and 5 are incompatible with alternative accounts of the underlying mechanisms. In particular, our results are unlikely to be driven by a mere-assimilation mechanism, according to which we would expect older consumers to automatically conform to the young social category regardless of whether such a category is low or high in desirability and of whether their self-esteem is low or high. Instead, older consumers’ feel-age appears to be primarily influenced by social cues when those cues comprise young people who are associated with desirable characteristics, and when the older consumers have lower self-esteem. As for the consequence of feeling younger on consumption, the results of studies 4 and 5 also revealed a downstream effect on older consumers’ choice for certain products. Although prior work and our pilot study suggested that older consumers are more inclined to prefer traditional over contemporary products (Lambert-Pandraud et al. 2005; Mogilner et al. 2012; Moschis 2003), our results indicated that older consumers with lower self-esteem experience a greater preference for contemporary (vs. traditional) products when they are exposed to young rather than old (or same-aged) social cues. This constitutes a novel finding about how older consumers’ self-protective feelings about their own age affect consumption. Our results are robust across different research settings (i.e., field and online), samples from different geographical origins (i.e., Europe and the United States), social cue manipulations (i.e., real interviewers and pictorial primes), and product choice measures (i.e., contemporary vs. traditional pens in an online shopping context, and pastries in a physical shopping context). Our research contributes to the consumer literature in two ways. First, it advances current knowledge about what influences older individuals’ feel-age. Although recent research (Eibach et al. 2010; Guido et al. 2014; Hughes et al. 2013) has offered initial evidence suggesting that feel-age is a malleable construct, academic work to date has not expressly explored the effects of social cues on older consumers. Specifically, the present research is the first to investigate the consumption effects exerted by age-related social cues, and to find that older consumers exhibit an exaggerated tendency to feel younger in the mere presence of young social cues. Second, our research contributes to stereotype threat literature (Abrams et al. 2006; Steele 1997; Steele et al. 2002) by demonstrating that older consumers exposed to the risk of being negatively stereotyped by young others defensively distance themselves from their own age group by magnifying their tendency to feel younger. This effect is particularly pronounced among older consumers with low self-esteem, as they are more sensitive to stereotype threats. Moreover, the present research reveals that young consumers, unlike older consumers, are relatively immune to age-related social cues and their levels of desirability. Our research also improves our understanding of older consumers’ behavior. Past research has shown that older consumers naturally prefer traditional products over contemporary ones (Lambert-Pandraud et al. 2005; Mogilner et al. 2012; Moschis 2003). However, some work has shown that older consumers with younger feel-ages are more interested in less traditional options, such as fashion-related products (Lin and Xia 2012) and novel products (Gwinner and Stephens 2001; Stephens 1991), which are typically targeted at the young. Our results accord with previous findings and, at the same time, expand the current understanding of how self-esteem may affect older consumers’ choices. In showing that older consumers with a younger feel-age tend to prefer contemporary products over traditional ones, our research is the first to demonstrate that the mere presence of young social cues may be enough for older consumers with lower self-esteem to magnify their tendency to feel younger and, thereby, shift their preferences toward contemporary products at the expense of traditional ones. Our results also carry significant implications for practitioners interested in targeting older consumers. Older consumers are an important marketing segment, not only because they are an expanding portion of the consumer population, but also because they are characterized by larger household assets and more disposable income than young consumers (Sherman et al. 2001; Yoon and Cole 2008). These forces underscore the need to advance our understanding of how and why older consumers feel and behave in particular ways across different consumer contexts (Gunter 1999; Yoon et al. 2009). Overall, our findings indicate that exposing older consumers to young social cues generally makes them feel younger. Further, the younger they feel, the more inclined they are to shift their preferences toward products that typically appeal to younger consumers. This finding suggests that marketers should consider conditions under which it may be more appropriate to employ young versus older models in advertisements or salespeople in their retail stores. Notwithstanding theoretical and practical relevance, our findings leave open some issues. For instance, while supportive of hypothesis 5, the results of study 5 also revealed that older consumers higher in self-esteem felt approximately 12 (i.e., 11.16 vs. 12.80) years younger than their chronological age, regardless of the social cue to which they were exposed. This finding is in line with previous research indicating that older people with higher self-esteem tend to feel younger than they actually are (Eibach et al. 2010; Teuscher 2009). However, the fact that older consumers higher in self-esteem as well as those lower in self-esteem who are exposed to young social cues reported a youth-age index of 11 years or higher might raise the issue of whether feeling younger represents an adaptive or a maladaptive reaction by older consumers to their social environment. Our results hint at the possibility that feeling younger is functional to older people higher in self-esteem and dysfunctional to those lower in self-esteem. However, additional investigations are needed to provide more explicit evidence of this dualism. Furthermore, our research was conducted on Western respondents. Thus, future research is needed to examine older consumers from Eastern cultures to shed light on potential cultural differences. Western cultures (e.g., the US) are more individualistic compared to East Asian ones (e.g., Japan, Taiwan), which are more collectivistic (Hofstede, Hofstede, and Minkov 2010). In more collectivistic cultures, the role and consideration of older people in society may be different. Thus, the relationship between different generations may vary according to cultural customs and roots, which may differently shape people’s attitudes toward aging. For instance, in Korea and China, people respect older individuals and celebrate them, while in Japan, people prize filial piety and expect children to dutifully tend to their parents. In contrast, people in the US and UK tend to be youth-centric, emphasizing attributes like individualism and independence (i.e., values that diminish in old age) (Martinez-Carter 2013). Although the results of study 4 and study 5 were consistent across two different product categories (i.e., pens and chocolate pastries, respectively), future studies should seek to examine the moderating role of product category. It may be that the consumption effects of age-related social cues on older consumers’ choices are more pronounced for certain types of products (e.g., publicly consumed products compared to privately consumed products). Moreover, future studies could explore other downstream consequences of older consumers’ tendency to feel younger, such as goal pursuit or the type of happiness that is prioritized. For example, findings by Bhattacharjee and Mogilner (2014) would suggest that older consumers, in the presence of young (vs. old) social cues, would be more likely to pursue happiness via extraordinary (i.e., infrequent and uncommon) experiences than ordinary (i.e., frequent and common) experiences. Another open question to be addressed involves whether or not there are systematic differences in the youth-age index stemming from the types of associations people conjure up when asked to report their feel-age. In our research, we ensured that respondents were not specifically prompted to consider their physical or mental status when asked for their feel-age (see web appendix A for pretest results). Future research could, however, examine whether a focus on mental versus physical status differentially activates the need to mitigate negative elderly stereotypes in older consumers. Perhaps most notably, the present evidence also implies important directions for future research to generate a systematic understanding of other factors—both internal and external to consumers—that may moderate older consumers’ propensity to feel younger than they actually are and carry consequences for consumer behavior. Although this research clearly identifies how social context in the form of the age-related cues in the immediate environment can influence older consumers’ feel-age, what other contextual cues—both social and nonsocial—are likely to exert a substantial influence? Future research is needed to examine a broad range of antecedents and consequences that can affect older consumers’ feel-age, as well as the processes underlying the effects. DATA COLLECTION INFORMATION In study 1, data for the young social cue condition and for the old social cue condition were collected in Europe by four trained interviewers in winter 2012. Data for the no social cue condition were collected in Europe from an online pool of older members of a senior service organization in winter 2012. The first and second authors supervised data collection for study 1. Data for study 2 were collected in the United States from a national paid pool of older consumers under the supervision of the first, second, and fourth authors in winter 2018. Data for study 3 were collected in the United States from a national paid pool of consumers under the supervision of the first and second authors in winter 2017. Data for study 4 were collected in the United States from a national paid pool of older consumers under the supervision of the first and second authors in summer 2017. Data for study 5 were collected in Europe from real older shoppers in a pastry store under the supervision of the first, second, and third authors in summer 2017. The second author analyzed all data. The authors thank Richard P. Bagozzi, Stephanie Carpenter, and David Wooten for their insightful comments and suggestions on previous versions of this article. They also thank Chiara Santoro and Dania Urso for providing research assistance. The authors acknowledge the financial support from the Italian Ministry of Education, University, and Research under the “5 per Mille per la Ricerca 2012” Young Researchers Program. Supplementary materials are included in the web appendix accompanying the online version of this article. Data are available from the Dryad Digital Repository: https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.pt07h86. References Abrams Dominic , Eller Anja , Bryant Jacqueline ( 2006 ), “ An Age Apart: The Effects of Intergenerational Contact and Stereotype Threat on Performance and Intergroup Bias ,” Psychology and Aging , 21 4 , 691 – 702 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Alicke Mark D. , Sedikides Constantine ( 2009 ), “ Self-Enhancement and Self-Protection: What They Are and What They Do ,” European Review of Social Psychology , 20 1 , 1 – 48 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Anthony Danu B. , Holmes John G. , Wood Joanne V. ( 2007 ), “ Social Acceptance and Self-Esteem: Tuning the Sociometer to Interpersonal Value ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 92 6 , 1024 – 39 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Argo Jennifer J. , Dahl Darren W. , Manchanda Rajesh V. ( 2005 ), “ The Influence of a Mere Social Presence in a Retail Context ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 32 2 , 207 – 12 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Barak Benny ( 1987 ), “ Cognitive Age: A New Multidimensional Approach to Measuring Age Identity ,” International Journal of Aging and Human Development , 25 2 , 109 – 28 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Barak Benny ( 2009 ), “ Age Identity: A Cross-Cultural Global Approach ,” International Journal of Behavioral Development , 33 1 , 2 – 11 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Barak Benny , Gould Steven ( 1985 ), “Alternative Age Measures: A Research Agenda,” in NA—Advances in Consumer Research , Vol. 12 , ed. Hirschman Elizabeth C. , Holbrook Morris B. , Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research , 53 – 8 . Barak Benny , Schiffman Leon G. ( 1981 ), “Cognitive Age: A Nonchronological Age Variable,” in NA—Advances in Consumer Research , Vol. 8 , ed. Monroe Kent B. , Ann Arbor, MI : Association for Consumer Research , 602 – 6 . Barak Benny , Stern Barbara B. , Gould Stephen J. ( 1988 ), “Ideal Age Concepts: An Exploration,” in NA—Advances in Consumer Research , Vol. 15 , ed. Houston Michael J. , Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research , 146 – 52 . Barber Sarah J. , Mather Mara ( 2014 ), “Stereotype Threat in Older Adults: When and Why Does It Occur and Who Is Most Affected?” in The Oxford Handbook of Emotion, Social Cognition, and Problem Solving During Adulthood , ed. Verhaeghen Paul , Hertzog Christopher K. , New York : Oxford University Press . Barnhart Michelle , Peñaloza Lisa ( 2013 ), “ Who Are You Calling Old? Negotiating Old Age Identity in the Elderly Consumption Ensemble ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 39 6 , 1133 – 53 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Barrett Anne E. ( 2003 ), “ Socioeconomic Status and Age Identity: The Role of Dimensions of Health in the Subjective Construction of Age ,” Journal of Gerontology, Series B , 58 2 , S101 – 9 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Baumeister Roy F. , Tice Dianne M. ( 1985 ), “ Self-Esteem and Responses to Success and Failure: Subsequent Performance and Intrinsic Motivation ,” Journal of Personality , 53 3 , 450 – 67 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Bhattacharjee Amit , Mogilner Cassie ( 2014 ), “ Happiness from Ordinary and Extraordinary Experiences ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 41 1 , 1 – 17 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Blaine Bruce E. ( 2013 ), Understanding the Psychology of Diversity , Thousand Oaks, CA : Sage . Brockner Joel ( 1988 ), Self-Esteem at Work: Research, Theory, and Practice , Lexington, MA : Lexington Press . Brown Jonathon D. , Collins Rebecca L. , Schmidt Greg W. ( 1988 ), “ Self-Esteem and Direct versus Indirect Forms of Self-Enhancement ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 55 3 , 445 – 53 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Catterall Miriam , MacLaran Pauline ( 2001 ), “ Body Talk: Questioning the Assumptions in Cognitive Age ,” Psychology and Marketing , 18 10 , 1117 – 33 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Chang Chingching ( 2008 ), “ Chronological Age versus Cognitive Age for Younger Consumers: Implications for Advertising Persuasion ,” Journal of Advertising , 37 3 , 19 – 32 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Chartrand Tanya L. , Bargh John A. ( 1999 ), “ The Chameleon Effect: The Perception-Behavior Link and Social Interaction ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 76 6 , 893 – 910 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Chen Mark , Bargh John A. ( 1999 ), “ Consequences of Automatic Evaluation: Immediate Behavioral Predispositions to Approach or Avoid the Stimulus ,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin , 25 2 , 215 – 24 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Cuddy Amy J. C. , Norton Michael I. , Fiske Susan T. ( 2005 ), “ This Old Stereotype: The Pervasiveness and Persistence of the Elderly Stereotype ,” Journal of Social Issues , 61 2 , 267 – 83 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Dahl Darren W. ( 2013 ), “ Social Influence and Consumer Behavior ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 40 2 , iii – v . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Diehl Manfred , Wahl Hans-Werner , Barrett Anne E. , Brothers Allyson F. , Miche Martina , Montepare Joann M. , Westerhof Gerben J. , Wurm Susanne ( 2014 ), “ Awareness of Aging: Theoretical Considerations on Emerging Concept ,” Developmental Review , 34 2 , 93 – 113 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Dommer Sara L. , Swaminathan Vanitha , Ahluwalia Rohini ( 2013 ), “ Using Differentiated Brands to Deflect Exclusion and Protect Inclusion: The Moderating Role of Self-Esteem on Attachment to Differentiated Brands ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 40 4 , 657 – 75 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Ebner Natalie C. , Freund Alexandra M. , Baltes Paul B. ( 2006 ), “ Developmental Changes in Personal Goal Orientation from Young to Late Adulthood: From Striving for Gains to Maintenance and Prevention of Losses ,” Psychology and Aging , 21 4 , 664 – 78 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Edgar Lisa , Bunker David ( 2013 ), “ It’s All in the Mind: Changing the Way We Think about Age ,” International Journal of Market Research , 55 2 , 201 – 26 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Eibach Richard P. , Mock Steven E. , Courtney Elizabeth A. ( 2010 ), “ Having a ‘Senior Moment’: Induced Aging Phenomenology, Subjective Age, and Susceptibility to Ageist Stereotypes ,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology , 46 4 , 643 – 9 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Elangovan A. R. , Xie Jia L. ( 1999 ), “ Effects of Perceived Power of Supervisor on Subordinate Stress and Motivation: The Moderating Role of Subordinate Characteristics ,” Journal of Organizational Behavior , 20 3 , 359 – 73 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Freund Alexandra M. ( 2006 ), “ Age-Differential Motivational Consequences of Optimization versus Compensation Focus in Younger and Older Adults ,” Psychology and Aging , 21 2 , 240 – 52 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Galambos Nancy , Albrecht Arne K. , Jansson S. Mikael ( 2009 ), “ Dating, Sex, and Substance Use Predict Increases in Adolescents’ Subjective Age across Two Years ,” International Journal of Behavioral Development , 33 1 , 32 – 41 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Guido Gianluigi , Amatulli Cesare , Peluso Alessandro M. ( 2014 ), “ Context Effects on Older Consumers’ Cognitive Age: The Role of Hedonic versus Utilitarian Goals ,” Psychology & Marketing , 31 2 , 103 – 14 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Guiot Denis ( 2001 ), “ Antecedents of Subjective Age Biases among Senior Women ,” Psychology and Marketing , 18 10 , 1049 – 71 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Gunter Barrie ( 1999 ), Understanding the Older Consumer: The Grey Market , New York : Routledge . Gwinner Kevin P. , Stephens Nancy ( 2001 ), “ Testing the Implied Mediational Role of Cognitive Age ,” Psychology and Marketing , 18 10 , 1031 – 48 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Hayes Andrew F. ( 2013 ), Introduction to Mediation, Moderation, and Conditional Process Analysis: A Regression-Based Approach , New York : Guilford . Heckhausen Jutta , Dixon Roger A. , Baltes Paul B. ( 1989 ), “ Gains and Losses in Development throughout Adulthood as Perceived by Different Adult Age Groups ,” Developmental Psychology , 25 1 , 109 – 21 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Heckhausen Jutta , Krueger Joachim ( 1993 ), “ Developmental Expectations for the Self and Most Other People: Age Grading in Three Functions of Social Comparison ,” Developmental Psychology , 29 3 , 539 – 48 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Heckhausen Jutta , Wrosch Carsten , Schulz Richard ( 2010 ), “ A Motivational Theory of Life-Span Development ,” Psychological Review , 117 1 , 32 – 60 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Hess Moritz , Dikken Jeroen ( 2010 ), “ The Association between Ageism and Subjective Age of Older People in Europe ,” International Journal of Social Sciences and Humanity Studies , 2 1 , 99 – 109 . Hofstede Geert , Hofstede Gert Jan , Minkov Michel ( 2010 ), Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind , New York : McGraw-Hill . Hsu Laura M. , Chung Jaewoo , Langer Ellen J. ( 2010 ), “ The Influence of Age-Related Cues on Health and Longevity ,” Perspectives on Psychological Science , 5 6 , 632 – 48 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Hughes Matthew L. , Geraci Lisa , De Forrest Ross L. ( 2013 ), “ Aging 5 Years in 5 Minutes: The Effect of Taking a Memory Test on Older Adults’ Subjective Age ,” Psychological Science , 24 12 , 2481 – 8 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Hummert Mary Lee , Garstka Teri A. , O’Brien Laurie T. , Greenwald Anthony G. , Mellott Deborah S. ( 2002 ), “ Using the Implicit Association Test to Measure Age Differences in Implicit Social Cognitions ,” Psychology and Aging , 17 3 , 482 – 95 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Hummert Mary Lee , Garstka Teri A. , Shaner Jaye L. ( 1997 ), “ Stereotyping of Older Adults: The Role of Target Facial Cues and Perceiver Characteristics ,” Psychology and Aging , 12 1 , 107 – 14 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Josephs Robert A. , Bosson Jennifer K. , Jacobs Christopher G. ( 2003 ), “ Self-Esteem Maintenance Processes: Why Low Self-Esteem May Be Resistant to Change ,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin , 29 7 , 920 – 33 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Kang Sonia K. , Chasteen Alison L. ( 2009 ), “ The Moderating Role of Age-Group Identification and Perceived Threat on Stereotype Threat among Older Adults ,” International Journal of Aging and Human Development , 69 3 , 201 – 20 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Kastenbaum Robert , Derbin Valerie , Sabatini Paul , Artt Steven ( 1972 ), “‘ The Ages of Me’: Toward Personal and Interpersonal Definitions of Functional Aging ,” International Journal of Aging and Human Development , 3 2 , 197 – 211 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Kaufman Gayle , Elder Glen H. Jr. ( 2002 ), “ Revisiting Age Identity: A Research Note ,” Journal of Aging Studies , 16 2 , 169 – 76 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Kim Youn-Kyung , Kang Jikyeong , Kim Minsung ( 2005 ), “ The Relationships among Family and Social Interaction, Loneliness, Mall Shopping Motivation, and Mall Spending of Older Consumers ,” Psychology and Marketing , 22 12 , 995 – 1015 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Kotter-Grühn Dana , Hess Thomas M. ( 2012 ), “ The Impact of Age Stereotypes on Self-Perceptions of Aging across the Adult Lifespan ,” Journals of Gerontology: Series B , 67 5 , 563 – 71 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Lakin Jessica L. , Chartrand Tanya L. ( 2003 ), “ Using Nonconscious Behavioral Mimicry to Create Affiliation and Rapport ,” Psychological Science , 14 4 , 334 – 9 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Lakin Jessica L. , Jefferis Valerie E. , Cheng Clara M. , Chartrand Tanya L. ( 2003 ), “ The Chameleon Effect as Social Glue: Evidence for the Evolutionary Significance of Nonconscious Mimicry ,” Journal of Nonverbal Behavior , 27 3 , 145 – 62 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Lambert-Pandraud Raphaëlle , Laurent Gilles , Lapersonne Eric ( 2005 ), “ Repeat Purchasing of New Automobiles by Older Consumers: Empirical Evidence and Interpretations ,” Journal of Marketing , 69 2 , 97 – 113 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Leary Mark R. , Tambor Ellen S. , Terdal Sonja K. , Downs Deborah L. ( 1995 ), “ Self-Esteem as an Interpersonal Monitor: The Sociometer Hypothesis ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 68 3 , 518 – 30 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Levy Becca ( 1996 ), “ Improving Memory in Old Age through Implicit Self-Stereotyping ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 71 6 , 1092 – 107 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Lin Yu-Tse , Xia Kang-Ning ( 2012 ), “ Cognitive Age and Fashion Consumption ,” International Journal of Consumer Studies , 36 1 , 97 – 105 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Logan John R. , Ward Russell , Spitze Glenna ( 1992 ), “ As Old as You Feel: Age Identity in Middle and Later Life ,” Social Forces , 71 2 , 451 – 67 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Maass Anne , Cadinu Mara , Guarnieri Gaia , Grasselli Annalisa ( 2003 ), “ Sexual Harassment under Social Identity Threat: The Computer Harassment Paradigm ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 85 5 , 853 – 70 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Martinez-Carter Karina ( 2013 ), “ How the Elderly Are Treated around the World ,” The Week , July 23, http://theweek.com/article/index/246810/how-the-elderly-are-treated-around-the-world. Mathur Anil , Moschis George P. ( 2005 ), “ Antecedents of Cognitive Age: A Replication and Extension ,” Psychology and Marketing , 22 12 , 969 – 94 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Mead Nicole L. , Baumeister Roy F. , Stillman Tyler F. , Rawn Catherine D. , Vohs Kathleen D. ( 2011 ), “ Social Exclusion Causes People to Spend and Consume Strategically in the Service of Affiliation ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 37 5 , 902 – 18 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Mock Steven E. , Eibach Richard P. ( 2011 ), “ Aging Attitudes Moderate the Effect of Subjective Age on Psychological Well-Being: Evidence from a 10-Year Longitudinal Study ,” Psychology and Aging , 26 4 , 979 – 86 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Mogilner Cassie , Aaker Jennifer , Kamvar Sepandar D. ( 2012 ), “ How Happiness Affects Choice ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 39 2 , 429 – 43 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Montepare Joann M. ( 2009 ), “ Subjective Age: Toward a Guiding Lifespan Framework ,” International Journal of Behavioral Development , 33 1 , 42 – 6 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Montepare Joann M. , Lachman Margie E. ( 1989 ), “‘ You’re Only as Old as You Feel’: Self-Perceptions of Age, Fears of Aging, and Life Satisfaction from Adolescence to Old Age ,” Psychology and Aging , 4 1 , 73 – 8 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Moschis George P. ( 2003 ), “ Marketing to Older Adults: An Updated Overview of Present Knowledge and Practice ,” Journal of Consumer Marketing , 20 6 , 516 – 25 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Nelson Todd D. ( 2011 ), “Ageism: The Strange Case of Prejudice against the Older You,” in Disability and Aging Discrimination: Perspectives in Law and Psychology , ed. Wiener Richard L. , Willborn Steven L. , New York : Springer-Verlag , 37 – 47 . North Michael S. , Fiske Susan T. ( 2012 ), “ An Inconvenience Youth? Ageism and Its Potential Intergenerational Roots ,” Psychological Bulletin , 138 5 , 982 – 97 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Orth Ulrich , Maes Jürgen , Schmitt Manfred ( 2015 ), “ Self-Esteem Development across the Life Span: A Longitudinal Study with a Large Sample from Germany ,” Developmental Psychology , 51 2 , 248 – 59 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Perdue Charles W. , Gurtman Michael B. ( 1990 ), “ Evidence for the Automaticity of Ageism ,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology , 26 3 , 199 – 216 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Pierce Jon L. , Gardner Donald G. , Dunham Randall B. , Cummings Larry L. ( 1993 ), “ Moderation by Organization-Based Self-Esteem of Role Condition-Employee Response Relationships ,” Academy of Management Journal , 36 2 , 271 – 88 . Preacher Kristopher J. , Hayes Andrew F. ( 2008 ), “ Asymptotic and Resampling Strategies for Assessing and Comparing Indirect Effects in Multiple Mediator Models ,” Behavior Research Methods , 40 3 , 879 – 91 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Pronin Emily , Steele Claude M. , Ross Lee ( 2004 ), “ Identity Bifurcation in Response to Stereotype Threat: Women and Mathematics ,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology , 40 2 , 152 – 68 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Rosenberg Morris ( 1965 ), Society and the Adolescent Self-Image , Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press . Scheepers Daan , Ellemers Naomi ( 2005 ), “ When the Pressure Is Up: The Assessment of Social Identity Threat in Low and High Status Groups ,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology , 41 2 , 192 – 200 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Sedikides Constantine ( 1993 ), “ Assessment, Enhancement, and Verification Determinants of the Self-Evaluation Process ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 65 2 , 317 – 38 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Settersten Richard A. Jr. , Mayer Karl U. ( 1997 ), “ The Measurement of Age, Age Structuring, and the Life Course ,” Annual Review of Sociology , 23 1 , 233 – 61 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Sherman David K. , Hartson Kimberly A. , Binning Kevin R. , Purdie-Vaughns Valerie , Garcia Julio , Taborsky-Barba Suzanne et al. . ( 2013 ), “ Deflecting the Trajectory and Changing the Narrative: How Self-Affirmation Affects Academic Performance and Motivation under Identity Threat ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 104 4 , 591 – 618 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Sherman Elaine , Schiffman Leon G. , Mathur Anil ( 2001 ), “ The Influence of Gender on the New-Age Elderly’s Consumption Orientation ,” Psychology and Marketing , 18 10 , 1073 – 89 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Sinclair Stacey , Huntsinger Jeffrey , Skorinko Jeanine , Hardin Curtis D. ( 2005a ), “ Social Tuning of the Self: Consequences for the Self-Evaluations of Stereotype Targets ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 89 2 , 160 – 75 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Sinclair Stacey , Lowery Brian S. , Hardin Curtis D. , Colangelo Anna ( 2005b ), “ Social Tuning of Automatic Racial Attitudes: The Role of Affiliative Motivation ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 89 4 , 583 – 92 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Steele Claude M. ( 1997 ), “ A Threat in the Air: How Stereotypes Shape Intellectual Identity and Performance ,” American Psychologist , 52 6 , 613 – 29 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Steele Claude M. , Aronson Joshua ( 1995 ), “ Stereotype Threat and the Intellectual Test Performance of African Americans ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 69 5 , 797 – 811 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Steele Claude M. , Spencer Steven J. , Aronson Joshua ( 2002 ), “ Contending with Group Image: The Psychology of Stereotype and Social Identity Threat ,” in Advances in Experimental Social Psychology , Vol. 34 , ed. Mark P. Zanna, San Diego: Academic Press, 379 – 440 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Stephens Nancy ( 1991 ), “ Cognitive Age: A Useful Concept for Advertising? ” Journal of Advertising , 20 4 , 37 – 48 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Sudbury Lynn , Simcock Peter ( 2009 ), “ Understanding Older Consumers through Cognitive Age and the List of Values: A U.K.-Based Perspective ,” Psychology and Marketing , 26 1 , 22 – 38 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Teuscher Ursina ( 2009 ), “ Subjective Age Bias: A Motivational and Information Processing Approach ,” International Journal of Behavioral Development , 33 1 , 22 – 31 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Twigg Julia , Majima Shinobu ( 2014 ), “ Consumption and the Constitution of Age: Expenditure Patterns on Clothing, Hair and Cosmetics among Post-War ‘Baby Boomers,’ ” Journal of Aging Studies , 30 ( August ), 23 – 32 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Underhill Lois , Cadwell Franchellie ( 1984 ), “‘ What Age Do You Feel?’ Age Perception Study ,” Journal of Consumer Marketing , 1 1 , 18 – 27 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Van Auken Stuart , Barry Thomas E. ( 1995 ), “ An Assessment of the Trait Validity of Cognitive Age Measures ,” Journal of Consumer Psychology , 4 2 , 107 – 32 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Van Auken Stuart , Barry Thomas E. , Anderson Robert L. ( 1993 ), “ Observations: Toward the Internal Validation of Cognitive Age Measures in Advertising Research ,” Journal of Advertising Research , 33 3 , 82 – 4 . Van Auken Stuart , Barry Thomas E. , Bagozzi Richard P. ( 2006 ), “ A Cross-Country Construct Validation of Cognitive Age ,” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science , 34 3 , 439 – 55 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Weiss David , Freund Alexandra M. ( 2012 ), “ Still Young at Heart: Negative Age-Related Information Motivates Distancing from Same-Aged People ,” Psychology and Aging , 27 1 , 173 – 80 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Weiss David , Lang Frieder R. ( 2012 ), “‘ They’ Are Old but ‘I’ Feel Younger: Age-Group Dissociation as a Self-Protective Strategy in Old Age ,” Psychology and Aging , 27 1 , 153 – 63 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Westerhof Gerben J. , Barrett Anne E. ( 2005 ), “ Age Identity and Subjective Well-Being: A Comparison of the United States and Germany ,” Journals of Gerontology. Series B , 60 3 , S129 – 36 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS White Katherine , Argo Jennifer J. ( 2009 ), “ Social Identity Threat and Consumer Preferences ,” Journal of Consumer Psychology , 19 3 , 313 – 25 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS White Katherine , Argo Jennifer J. , Sengupta Jaideep ( 2012 ), “ Dissociative versus Associative Responses to Social Identity Threat: The Role of Consumer Self-Construal ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 39 4 , 704 – 19 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Wilkes Robert E. ( 1992 ), “ A Structural Modeling Approach to the Measurement and Meaning of Cognitive Age ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 19 2 , 292 – 301 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Williams Patti , Drolet Aimee ( 2005 ), “ Age-Related Differences in Responses to Emotional Advertisements ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 32 3 , 343 – 53 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Wood Joanne V. , Giordano-Beech Maria , Taylor Kathryn L. , Michela John L. , Gaus Valerie ( 1994 ), “ Strategies of Social Comparison among People with Low Self-Esteem: Self-Protection and Self-Enhancement ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 67 4 , 713 – 31 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Yoon Carolyn ( 1997 ), “ Age Differences in Consumer Processing Strategies: An Investigation of Moderating Influences ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 24 3 , 329 – 42 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Yoon Carolyn , Cole Catherine A. ( 2008 ), “Aging and Consumer Behavior,” in Handbook of Consumer Psychology , ed. Haugtvedt Curtis P. , Herr Paul M. , Kardes Frank R. , New York : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates , 247 – 70 . Yoon Carolyn , Cole Catherine A. , Lee Michelle P. ( 2009 ), “ Consumer Decision Making and Aging: Current Knowledge and Future Directions ,” Journal of Consumer Psychology , 19 1 , 2 – 16 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Yoon Carolyn , Laurent Gilles , Fung Helene H. , Gonzalez Richard , Gutchess Angela H. , Hedden Trey et al. . ( 2005 ), “ Cognition, Persuasion and Decision Making in Older Consumers ,” Marketing Letters , 16 ( 3–4 ), 429 – 41 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Zhao Xinshu , Lynch John G. Jr. , Chen Qimei ( 2010 ), “ Reconsidering Baron and Kenny: Myths and Truths about Mediation Analysis ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 37 2 , 197 – 206 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Journal of Consumer Research, Inc. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/open_access/funder_policies/chorus/standard_publication_model) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Consumer Research Oxford University Press

When Feeling Younger Depends on Others: The Effects of Social Cues on Older Consumers

Loading next page...
 
/lp/ou_press/when-feeling-younger-depends-on-others-the-effects-of-social-cues-on-VkiM5ruYxi
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Journal of Consumer Research, Inc. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com
ISSN
0093-5301
eISSN
1537-5277
D.O.I.
10.1093/jcr/ucy034
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract How do social cues in the immediate environment affect older consumers’ tendency to feel younger? And what is the impact of this tendency on consumption? This research investigates the malleability of older consumers’ feel-age and the underlying mechanisms by focusing on the influence of contextual social cues and the downstream effects on consumption behavior. Five studies provide evidence that the mere presence of young social cues triggers an identity threat for older consumers; and feeling younger is a way to protect the self from negative stereotypes associated with aging. By contrast, young consumers are relatively immune to age-related social cues. Whereas the presence of young social cues magnifies older consumers’ tendency to feel younger, this effect is attenuated when the young social cues are less desirable or when the older consumers possess higher self-esteem. The greater tendency to feel younger in the presence of young social cues increases older consumers’ choice of contemporary over traditional products, especially among those with lower self-esteem. Theoretical insights and practical implications are discussed. older consumers, feel-age, social cues, identity threat, self-esteem, product choice Older adults typically feel more than 10 years younger than their chronological age (Barak, Stern, and Gould 1988; Barnhart and Peñaloza 2013; Catterall and MacLaran 2001; Guiot 2001; Van Auken and Barry 1995), and this feeling affects their attitudes and behaviors. In consumer settings, prior studies have found, for example, that older consumers who feel younger are particularly interested in fashion-related products (Lin and Xia 2012) and inclined to try new brands (Gwinner and Stephens 2001; Stephens 1991). Other studies (Guido, Amatulli, and Peluso 2014; Hsu, Chung, and Langer 2010) have investigated the effect of contextual factors on older consumers’ feel-age and provided preliminary evidence that it may be malleable. These studies indicate the need to systematically investigate the contextual effects and underlying mechanisms. The purpose of the present research is to advance our knowledge about the effects of contextual social cues on older consumers’ feel-age—the subjective perception of how old they feel—and how the effects might impact consumption behavior. We focus on the role of social cues in the immediate environment because of the pervasiveness of social influence on consumer behavior in consumption settings (Argo, Dahl, and Manchanda 2005; Dahl 2013). In particular, we investigate how the mere presence of young versus old (or same-aged) people affects older consumers’ feel-age, and how that phenomenon alters downstream consumption behavior. In theorizing about the underlying process, we build on the notion that modern consumption is youth-oriented and promotes an anti-aging culture (Guiot 2001; Twigg and Majima 2014) wherein aging is typically associated with negative stereotypes such as physical weakness and mental decline (Blaine 2013; Hummert et al. 2002; Perdue and Gurtman 1990). We reason that older consumers would be particularly sensitive about being stereotyped accordingly when others in the social context are young (Gunter 1999; Hummert et al. 2002), because the presence of young (vs. old or same-aged) others may pose an age-related threat to older people’s social identity (i.e., views of themselves as members of their own age group; White and Argo 2009). We build on the literature on stereotype threat (Abrams, Eller, and Bryant 2006; Steele 1997; Steele, Spencer, and Aronson 2002) to posit that, in response to such an identity threat, older people might distance themselves from their own age group by feeling younger as a way to cope with the aging stereotype threat that devalues their identity (Sherman et al. 2013). Older consumers may thus express a younger identity to protect the self from stereotype threat associated with negative aspects of aging. In our research, we first show that older consumers’ tendency to feel younger is magnified by exposure to young (vs. old or same-aged) cues in the immediate environment. Second, we provide evidence consistent with our theoretical account of a self-protection mechanism, showing that older consumers’ tendency to feel younger is moderated by the desirability of the young social cues. Specifically, we show that the effect on older consumers’ feel-age is attenuated when the young social cues are undesirable and thus young people represent a less aspirational social group for older consumers. Notably, the aforementioned effects appear to be limited to older consumers: a comparison of young and older consumers revealed a markedly smaller difference between actual age and feel-age in response to young versus old social cues among young consumers, irrespective of the desirability of the social cues. Third, we show that the activation of an aging-related stereotype threat and its effect on older consumers’ feel-age have consequences for consumption behavior by presenting evidence that they prefer contemporary products over traditional ones when feeling younger. Finally, we provide further support for our theoretical account that a self-protection mechanism explains the effects on older consumers’ feel-age by examining another moderating factor: self-esteem. We find that older consumers with low (vs. high) self-esteem (i.e., those with greater susceptibility to perceived social judgment and stereotype threat) are more sensitive to social cues and more prone to express a younger feel-age in the presence of young compared to old (or same-aged) people. We uncover process-level evidence for how exposure to young (vs. old or same-aged) social cues that magnify older consumers’ tendency to feel younger exerts an indirect positive effect on older consumers’ preference for contemporary products over traditional ones. Moreover, we show that this indirect effect is significant for older consumers with low, but not high, self-esteem. Our research makes both theoretical and practical contributions. Theoretically, we contribute to prior studies on older adults’ feel-age by shedding light on the processes underlying its malleability as a function of social cues. Building on prior research documenting older consumers’ tendency to feel younger (Barak et al. 1988; Barnhart and Peñaloza 2013; Van Auken and Barry 1995) and its malleability (Guido et al. 2014; Hsu et al. 2010), we investigate how and why older consumers’ feel-age is contingent on age-related social cues. By doing so, we provide a more comprehensive understanding of the ways in which people’s feel-age is context-dependent. We also contribute to the stereotype threat literature (Abrams et al. 2006; Steele 1997; Steele et al. 2002) by proposing and testing the notion that older consumers who run the risk of being negatively stereotyped by young others might defensively try to distance themselves from their own age group by magnifying their tendency to feel younger. Distinct from previous research on identity threat, which has mainly focused on salient negative aspects of an identity group (Abrams et al. 2006; Steele and Aronson 1995), our present studies show that the mere presence of a young social cue in the immediate environment is enough to trigger an age-related identity threat for older consumers and engender compensatory consumption behavior. From a practical standpoint, we advance the view that chronological age may be inadequate, in many instances, for understanding consumer behavior, particularly for older age groups. In particular, we highlight the importance of uncovering factors—both external and internal to consumers—that can shape older consumers’ feel-age across different circumstances. By doing so, we seek to call attention to the need for insights about the antecedents as well as consequences of older consumers’ feel-age, and hope that the work will ultimately lead to improved ways to serve the needs of older consumers. FEEL-AGE AS A MALLEABLE CONSTRUCT A person’s chronological age—that is, the number of years since one’s birth date—is one of the most frequently used demographic variables in marketing research (Barak and Schiffman 1981; Logan, Ward, and Spitze 1992). It has been employed as a major descriptive statistic and grouping variable in segmentation and targeting (Stephens 1991). However, despite its extensive use, its power to explain and predict older consumers’ attitudes and behaviors has diminished over the past two decades (Catterall and MacLaran 2001; Montepare and Lachman 1989; Settersten and Mayer 1997). Indeed, given the unsatisfactory explanatory and predictive power of chronological age with regard to consumer behavior, some researchers have started to focus on the concept of feel-age, also known as subjective age (Diehl et al. 2014; Galambos, Albrecht, and Jansson 2009; Montepare 2009), which refers to the subjective perception of how old one feels (Barak 2009; Settersten and Mayer 1997; Van Auken, Barry, and Bagozzi 2006). For example, a 65-year-old person might feel a different age than his/her actual age and, when asked, might state a feel-age that is either younger or older (Barak and Gould 1985; Barak and Schiffman 1981; Barak et al. 1988; Kastenbaum et al. 1972). Interestingly, some evidence suggests that older consumers’ purchases are better explained by their feel-ages than their chronological ages (Edgar and Bunker 2013; Mathur and Moschis 2005; Yoon et al. 2005), so feel-age may be an important antecedent to buying behavior (Logan et al. 1992; Stephens 1991; Underhill and Cadwell 1984; Wilkes 1992). Although past research has shown that older individuals systematically report feeling younger than their actual age (Catterall and MacLaran 2001; Guiot 2001; Kastenbaum et al. 1972; Sherman, Schiffman, and Mathur 2001; Sudbury and Simcock 2009; Weiss and Lang 2012), the literature also suggests that the discrepancy between feel-age and chronological age may not be fixed. It can vary considerably, ranging across studies from average differences of less than eight (Barrett 2003; Kaufman and Elder 2002) to more than 13 years (Guido et al. 2014; Kotter-Grühn and Hess 2012; Van Auken, Barry, and Anderson 1993). Such variability in older consumers’ feel-age suggests that it is likely to be context-dependent (i.e., changes across situations). For instance, a study by Guido et al. (2014) found that simply asking older consumers to imagine being in contexts associated with hedonic goals (e.g., at a resort) led them to report younger feel-ages relative to contexts associated with utilitarian goals (e.g., in a senior center). Other work (Eibach, Mock, and Courtney 2010; Hughes, Geraci, and De Forrest 2013) showed that older individuals report higher feel-ages when faced with performance-related tasks, such as a difficult reading test or a memory test, compared to when they are faced with performance-unrelated tasks. FEEL-AGE AND SOCIAL CONTEXT: THE IMPACT OF AGE-RELATED SOCIAL CUES The pervasive influence of social context on consumer behavior is anecdotally and empirically well documented (Argo et al. 2005; Dahl 2013). Social context can powerfully shape older people’s lives. First, advanced age is often accompanied by a progressive loss of social ties (Kim, Kang, and Kim 2005; Mead et al. 2011) as well as a greater dependency on others, as a result of physical limitations and/or mental decline (Barnhart and Peñaloza 2013; Heckhausen, Wrosch, and Schulz 2010; Yoon 1997). Second, older consumers are likely to experience social exclusion and encounter ageism in their daily lives (Blaine 2013; Cuddy, Norton, and Fiske 2005). Indeed, older adults typically hold predominantly negative aging self-stereotypes (i.e., beliefs about elderly people), while their beliefs about young people remain relatively positive (Hummert, Garstka, and Shaner 1997; Hummert et al. 2002; Levy 1996). In today’s youth-oriented society (Guiot 2001; Twigg and Majima 2014), negative aging stereotypes are reinforced, with the elderly being associated with traits and characteristics such as senility, dependence, unattractiveness, slowness, and illness (Levy 1996; Nelson 2011). The negative aging stereotypes pose a psychological threat to older consumers’ social identity (i.e., the identity they hold as members of their own age group; Scheepers and Ellemers 2005; White, Argo, and Sengupta 2012), insofar as such consumers might worry about being perceived by others as belonging to or being associated with a negatively stereotyped age group. Consistent with the basic idea that people generally strive to maintain a positive view of themselves (Alicke and Sedikides 2009; Brown, Collins, and Schmidt 1988; Sedikides 1993), prior research on stereotype threat indicates that such a threat may induce individuals to distance themselves from their own social group as a way to protect the self (Abrams et al. 2006; Pronin, Steele, and Ross 2004; Steele 1997; Steele and Aronson 1995; Steele et al. 2002). Therefore, older consumers who feel threatened by the possibility of being associated with negative aging stereotypes might defensively distance themselves from their own age group in an effort to protect themselves. Some prior studies have reported findings that are consistent with this self-protection account (Barnhart and Peñaloza 2013; Hess and Dikken 2010; Teuscher 2009). In accordance with these findings, we contend that older consumers may be prone to distance themselves psychologically from negative aging stereotypes by stating that they feel younger. In the present article, we focus on the influence of age-related social cues—real people or pictorial primes of people who are young or old (same-aged)—on older consumers’ feel-age. We reason that older consumers might feel particularly threatened by negative aging stereotypes when exposed to others in a consumption setting who are young rather than old. This premise rests on prior findings that the presence of young others may pose a threat to older individuals’ self-views (Barber and Mather 2014; Gunter 1999; Kang and Chasteen 2009). Indeed, if older individuals are around younger people, the situation may prompt intergroup comparison (Steele and Aronson 1995): they may experience heightened awareness of their lack of youthfulness and declines in physical and/or mental abilities, and regard their deaths as more imminent (Nelson 2011; North and Fiske 2012). Thus, in line with prior studies on stereotype threat (Maass et al. 2003; Steele et al. 2002), we posit that, in the presence of young (relative to old or same-aged) social cues in a given setting, the age-related identity of older consumers might become more salient in their minds, and thus the negative aging stereotypes might become more relevant. Consequently, when exposed to young (relative to old or same-aged) cues, older consumers might be more inclined to distance themselves from their own age group by exhibiting a magnified tendency to feel younger. In sum, the foregoing implies that whether a social cue comprises young or old people may differentially affect older consumers’ feel-age. In particular, we predict that the tendency of older consumers to feel younger will be greater in the presence of young rather than old social cues. Formally: H1: Older consumers feel younger than their chronological age, and this tendency to feel younger is magnified by the presence of young, relative to old (same-aged), social cues. Sensitivity to Social Cue Desirability A self-protection account suggests that a lower feel-age not only allows older consumers to dissociate themselves from old (same-aged) people, but also may provide them with a means of coping with the aging-related stereotype threat by expressing a younger identity (Weiss and Freund 2012; Weiss and Lang 2012) and thus feeling psychologically closer to young people in their immediate environment. In general, these young others represent a desirable social group with whom older individuals might wish to affiliate and build rapport (Heckhausen, Dixon, and Baltes 1989; Hummert et al. 1997,, 2002). Extrapolating from the body of evidence that people conform to desirable others as a way to feel closer to them (Chartrand and Bargh 1999; Chen and Bargh 1999; Lakin and Chartrand 2003; Lakin et al. 2003; Sinclair et al. 2005a, 2005b), we posit that, as a way of coping with the stereotype threat posed by young social cues, older consumers’ increased tendency to feel younger may represent a response aimed at suppressing their own old-age identity and aligning with the more desirable category of young people (Weiss and Freund 2012; Weiss and Lang 2012). Although older individuals generally perceive young people as possessing desirable characteristics, there are situations in which they may view the young as having undesirable qualities or exhibiting negative behaviors (e.g., being loud and boisterous in a quiet neighborhood). If the greater tendency of older consumers to feel younger when exposed to young social cues reflects a self-protective strategy aimed at feeling closer to the more desirable category of young people, then this tendency should be attenuated when the young cues are undesirable. Formally: H2: Older consumers’ tendency to feel younger in the presence of young (vs. old) social cues is attenuated when the young social cues have undesirable (compared to desirable) characteristics. Insofar as we posit that it is the need for self-protection that accounts for older consumers’ magnified tendency to feel younger in the presence of young (vs. old) others, we would not expect the same tendency to hold for young consumers. Instead, the young, compared to older consumers, are likely to feel an age that is more congruent with their own chronological age (Chang 2008; Heckhausen and Krueger 1993), or even slightly older (Montepare and Lachman 1989). Furthermore, other researchers (Barber and Mather 2014; Levy 1996) have suggested that young consumers are less reactive and less affected by age-related stereotypes. Indeed, compared to older individuals, the young have a lower need for psychological self-protection from age-related stereotypes (Ebner, Freund, and Baltes 2006; Freund 2006). Thus, young consumers are less susceptible to potential age-related social cues and less motivated to distance themselves from their own age group. Because feel-age does not serve a self-protective function for young people, it is reasonable to expect that they would be relatively immune to the effects of an age-related social cue and its desirability. Formally: H3: The difference between actual age and feel-age is smaller for young than for older consumers; and young consumers are relatively immune to the effects of an age-related social cue and its desirability. The Impact of Younger Feel-Age on Older Consumers’ Behavior We further consider the downstream effects of older consumers’ feel-age on consumption. Both common intuition and empirical evidence (Lambert-Pandraud, Laurent, and Lapersonne 2005; Mogilner, Aaker, and Kamvar 2012; Moschis 2003) suggest that older consumers gravitate toward traditional products. To confirm this basic assumption, we conducted a pilot study with a sample of 69 respondents aged 65 and over (MAge = 69.86, SDAge = 4.18, 27 males). Respondents were asked to indicate their general liking for traditional and contemporary products using two identical six-point scales (1 = extremely dislike, 6 = extremely like). The results of a repeated-measures ANOVA showed that respondents liked traditional products (M = 4.54, SD = .76) more than contemporary products (M = 3.94, SD = 1.06), F(1, 68) = 13.29, p = .001. Despite the empirical validity of such an assumption, we contend that feel-age might substantially impact older consumers’ behavior by altering their preferences. Some past studies have indeed provided correlational evidence that older consumers who feel younger are more likely to engage in purchase behaviors that are typically associated with youth, such as purchasing fashion products (Lin and Xia 2012) and trying new brands (Gwinner and Stephens 2001; Stephens 1991). Consistent with the latter account, we might thus expect that feel-age plays an important role in consumption behavior and, more specifically, that the older consumers’ magnified tendency to feel younger in the presence of young social cues leads to an increased preference for contemporary products over traditional ones. Formally: H4: Older consumers’ increased tendency to feel younger in the presence of young (vs. old) social cues leads to a greater likelihood of choosing contemporary products over traditional products. The Moderating Role of Self-Esteem We next consider the moderating role of an individual’s self-esteem (i.e., self-evaluation based on how one feels about oneself; Leary et al. 1995; Orth, Maes, and Schmitt 2015) on the magnified tendency by older consumers to feel younger in the presence of young social cues. Specifically, to the extent that the greater tendency to feel younger in the presence of young social cues reflects a self-protective reaction to an aging stereotype threat, we would expect older consumers with lower self-esteem to be more inclined to exhibit such a reaction due to their heightened susceptibility to social judgments and threats (Baumeister and Tice 1985; Brockner 1988). In general, people who usually feel good about themselves and hold a positive evaluation of themselves have higher self-esteem, whereas those who feel bad and hold a negative evaluation of themselves have lower self-esteem. Prior work has shown that people with higher self-esteem are interested in affirming or further enhancing the self (Brown et al. 1988). Such individuals are more confident about their own capabilities and social standing and, thus, less susceptible to others’ criticisms (Leary et al. 1995). By contrast, people with lower self-esteem are more apt to protect the self and to engage in actions aimed at defending themselves against the potential threats of social scrutiny (Anthony, Holmes, and Wood 2007; Brockner 1988; Wood et al. 1994). Individuals with lower self-esteem are less confident about their capabilities and are thus more easily influenced by others’ judgments (Josephs, Bosson, and Jacobs 2003). This finding suggests that, when exposed to a social identity threat, such individuals may be more inclined to minimize the risk of being negatively judged by others (Elangovan and Xie 1999; Pierce et al. 1993) and to conform to others in order to feel adequate and defend the self (Baumeister and Tice 1985; Dommer, Swaminathan, and Ahluwalia 2013; Lakin et al. 2003). Accordingly, we propose that self-esteem moderates the effect of social cues on older consumers’ feel-age. Specifically, we suggest that the tendency by older consumers to feel younger in the presence of young social cues represents a means to distance themselves from their own age group and conform to young others (comprising a more desirable category), in order to protect the self from negative aging stereotypes, and that older consumers with lower self-esteem show an exaggerated tendency to feel younger. In sum, we posit that the tendency to feel younger may be especially pronounced among older consumers with low (vs. high) self-esteem because they are more sensitive to stereotype threats and thus more inclined to distance themselves from their own age group, and to conform more to young others in their environment. Hence, upon exposure to young (vs. old) social cues, older consumers with lower self-esteem are expected to exhibit a heightened tendency to feel younger and choose contemporary over traditional products. The conceptual model is presented in figure 1. More formally, we propose the following hypothesis: H5: Older consumers with low (vs. high) self-esteem exhibit a tendency to feel younger that is magnified in the presence of young as compared to old social cues. This tendency leads older consumers with low (vs. high) self-esteem to choose contemporary products over traditional ones. FIGURE 1 View largeDownload slide CONCEPTUAL MODEL FIGURE 1 View largeDownload slide CONCEPTUAL MODEL OVERVIEW We conduct five studies to test our hypotheses. In the first two studies, we test hypothesis 1 by examining how older consumers’ feel-age changes in the presence of social cues comprising young versus old (or same-aged) people. In study 1, we manipulate young and old social cues in a real social setting to show that they differentially affect older consumers’ feel-age. In study 2, we manipulate social cue using a pictorial prime in an online setting. Next, study 3 tests hypotheses 2 and 3 by manipulating the desirability of the young versus old social cues by using pictorial primes accompanied by text in an online setting and assessing its effects on older consumers’ feel-age in comparison to young consumers’ feel-age. Study 4 tests hypothesis 4 by manipulating social cue using pictorial primes in an online shopping setting and assessing how the older consumers’ magnified tendency to feel younger in the presence of young (vs. old) social cues increases the choice of contemporary products over traditional ones. Finally, study 5 provides a replication of findings in study 4, and tests hypothesis 5 in a field experiment. In particular, it shows how self-esteem moderates the effect of social cue on older consumers’ feel-age and how that influences older consumers’ preference for contemporary (vs. traditional) products in a real choice situation. STUDY 1 We conducted study 1 to provide support for hypothesis 1 by showing that older consumers exhibit a greater tendency to feel younger when exposed to young rather than old (same-aged) social cues. Method One hundred twenty-four respondents aged 65 and over (MAge = 70.52, SDAge = 5.39, 71 males) were assigned to one of three social cue conditions of a three-cell between-participants experiment: young social cue, old social cue (roughly same age), or control (no social cue). Those in the young and old social cue conditions were approached in a midsized European city. We manipulated the type of social cue by having young or old interviewers approach older consumers at shopping sites such as malls, stores, and restaurants. In the young social cue condition (n = 37, MAge = 71.30, SDAge = 5.69, 20 males), the interviewers were two young individuals (under age 35): one male and one female. In the old social cue condition (n = 43, MAge = 69.42, SDAge = 4.72, 24 males), the interviewers were two older individuals (over age 65): one male and one female. The interviewers were pretested to ensure that young and old interviewers differed in how their ages were perceived, but were equivalently rated in terms of attractiveness (see web appendix A for pretest results). All the interviewers were dressed in simple and classic clothing in neutral colors and approached only same-gender respondents. The interviewers were blind to the study’s goals and hypotheses, and trained to professionally administer the questions to respondents with minimal interaction. Moreover, the interviewers approached one participant at time, and never did so in the presence of other participants who had been interviewed already in the surrounding area, in order to avoid potential suspicion among participants that the study concerned older consumers. All face-to-face interviews were conducted in the morning. In the control condition (n = 44, MAge = 70.95, SDAge = 5.68, 27 males), an online questionnaire was emailed to members of a senior service organization. The instructions explicitly asked respondents to complete the questionnaire in the morning and only when alone in order to ensure greater reliability of responses. Participants first read instructions, which informed them that the study’s goal concerned their shopping activities. In particular, to avoid participants becoming aware that the actual goal of the study was about their feel-age, the instructions also mentioned that the final aim of the survey was to know how often consumers go shopping, as a market research company wanted to understand the best time to launch a new product in the market. Participants were then asked to answer a question concerning the frequency of their shopping activities. After that, participants were asked to report the age they felt at that moment using a simple question used in prior studies (i.e., “How old do you feel right now?”; Guido et al. 2014; Hughes et al. 2013; Weiss and Lang 2012), which allowed for an easy comparison to chronological age without prompting respondents to focus exclusively on either physical or mental states when providing answers (see web appendix A for pretest results). Participants also reported their date of birth, gender, and health status, using a four-point scale (1 = excellent, 2 = good, 3 = fair, 4 = poor). Finally, participants in the young and old social cue conditions, but not in the control condition, rated their perceptions of the interviewer’s age on a seven-point scale (1 = much younger than me, 7 = much older than me) (see web appendix A for details). Results Respondents across the three conditions did not differ in terms of chronological age, health status, and gender distribution. Participants in the young social cue condition rated their interviewers as “much younger” than themselves (M = 1.00, SD = .00), whereas those in the old social cue condition rated the interviewers as significantly older (M = 2.98, SD = 1.39), F(1, 78) = 74.85, p < .001. Thus, the social cue manipulation was successful. To verify whether the different social cues affected the respondents’ tendency to feel younger, we computed a youth-age index as the main dependent measure in accordance with past research (Barak 1987; Guido et al. 2014; Mock and Eibach 2011; Weiss and Lang 2012; Westerhof and Barrett 2005). This index captures the discrepancy between one’s feel-age and actual age by subtracting the feel-age from the chronological age. Thus, the higher the youth-age index, the younger one feels. Overall, the youth-age indices in this study were positive (M = 11.55, SD = 12.56), t(123) = 10.24, p < .001, with participants indicating that they felt younger than they actually were by more than 10 years. We analyzed the data to assess the effects of social cue on the youth-age index using a one-way ANOVA with three treatment conditions (young social cue, old social cue, and control). The results revealed a significant effect of social cue on the youth-age index, F(2, 121) = 8.92, p < .001 (figure 2). This effect of social cue remained significant (p < .001) after we statistically controlled for respondents’ gender and health status. FIGURE 2 View largeDownload slide YOUTH-AGE INDEX AS A FUNCTION OF SOCIAL CUE (STUDY 1) NOTE.—Youth-age index = (chronological age – feel-age). Error bars indicate standard errors. FIGURE 2 View largeDownload slide YOUTH-AGE INDEX AS A FUNCTION OF SOCIAL CUE (STUDY 1) NOTE.—Youth-age index = (chronological age – feel-age). Error bars indicate standard errors. Consistent with hypothesis 1, contrasts revealed that participants in the young social cue condition had a higher youth-age index (M = 17.81, SD = 16.12) than those in the old social cue condition (M = 6.65, SD = 8.49), t(121) = 4.21, p < .001. Furthermore, the youth-age index of participants in the young social cue condition was significantly higher than those in the control condition (M = 11.07, SD = 10.27), t(121) = 2.56, p = .012. Finally, the difference in youth-age indices between the old social cue and control conditions was marginally significant (p = .08). Thus, study 1 results replicated prior findings that older consumer feel younger than their chronological age. Moreover, they provided evidence that older consumers’ tendency to feel younger varies with the age-related social cues. As predicted by hypothesis 1, older participants’ tendency to feel younger was magnified by the presence of young social cues compared to old social cues (or no social cues). STUDY 2 Although study 1 provided support for hypothesis 1, there is at least one concern that deserves further empirical consideration. Despite careful training of the interviewers to ensure they maintained minimal interaction with respondents, we could not rule out the possibility that the interviewers’ interactions varied across respondents and social cue conditions so that the findings might not generalize to other social cue settings. Study 2 is designed to address the concern by testing hypothesis 1 using a pictorial prime to experimentally manipulate social cue in an online experiment. Method One hundred twenty-eight participants aged 65 and over (MAge = 70.78, SDAge = 4.86, 52 males) were recruited for an online study from a national paid pool of US older consumers. They were randomly assigned to either a young or old social cue condition of a two-cell between-participants experiment. Because respondents were recruited directly from a pool of older consumers, we did not use any screening question regarding age, thus avoiding the potential suspicion among them that the study pertained to their own age group. To ensure that respondents remained unaware that the study concerned solely older consumers, they were also given a cover story that the survey was aimed at investigating how consumers generally feel when shopping. Then, respondents in the young social cue condition were presented with a pictorial prime displaying a pair consisting of a young man and a young woman. Respondents in the old social cue condition were exposed to a pictorial prime displaying a pair of an old man and an old woman (see web appendix B). The pairs depicted in the two primes exhibited similar postures and neutral facial expressions. Respondents were asked to imagine themselves in a shopping store where most of the surrounding people were like those depicted in the pictorial prime and then to report their feel-age (“How old do you feel right now?”). Next, they were asked to report their liking for the picture (“How much do you like the picture?”; 1 = not at all, 7 = very much), and the clarity of the picture (“How is the picture clarity?”; 1 = very bad, 7 = very good). Respondents were also asked to rate the physical attractiveness of the people featured in the picture (“How would you rate the two people depicted in the picture?”; 1 = very unattractive, 7 = very attractive) and the amount of interaction between the people in the picture (“How much do the two people depicted in the picture interact with each other?”; 1 = not at all, 7 = very much). Finally, respondents indicated whether the people featured in the pictorial prime were young or old (“Does the picture depict mostly young people or mostly old people?”; 1 = mostly young people, 7 = mostly old people), along with their date of birth, gender, and health status. Results Respondents across the two social cue conditions were able to discriminate between the young and old pair featured in the pictorial primes as expected: the pair in the old social cue condition was rated as significantly older (M = 6.46, SD = 1.03) than the pair in the young social cue condition (M = 1.52, SD = .92), F(1, 126) = 819.76, p < .001. Respondents’ liking ratings for the two pictorial primes did not differ across the young and old social cue conditions (p = .47). Their evaluations of the picture clarity were also equivalent across the social cue conditions (p = .13). However, the two pictorial primes differed in perceived attractiveness of the pair and perceived amount of interaction between the people featured in each picture: the pair in the young social cue condition was rated as more attractive (M = 5.83, SD = 1.15) than the pair in the old social cue condition (M = 4.54, SD = .96), F(1, 126) = 47.06, p < .001. Moreover, the amount of interaction between the people featured was perceived to be lower in the young social cue condition (M = 3.88, SD = 1.96) than in the old social cue condition (M = 5.22, SD = 1.62), F(1, 126) = 17.80, p < .001. We computed the same youth-age index as in study 1 and then tested whether this index was affected by the social cue. Consistent with hypothesis 1, respondents in the young social cue condition reported a higher youth-age index (M = 16.57, SD = 16.51) than those in the old social cue condition (M = 9.78, SD = 10.11), F(1, 126) = 7.82, p = .006. As the two pictorial primes differed in perceived attractiveness of the pair and the amount of interaction between the people featured, we repeated the analysis by controlling for the potential effects of these two variables, as well as gender, health status, and the time of day at which the study was completed (i.e., A.M. vs. P.M.; Williams and Drolet 2005; Yoon 1997; Yoon, Cole, and Lee 2009). This analysis did not change our substantive results; the effect of social cue on older consumers’ tendency to feel younger remained significant (p < .001). Hence, the validity of our key findings was unlikely to have been compromised by potential confounds. By replicating the findings from study 1, this study provided further support for hypothesis 1 that older consumers’ tendency to feel younger is magnified in the presence of young (vs. old) social cues. The next study aimed to test our theoretical account implicating self-protection as the process underlying the effect of social cues on older consumers’ feel-age. STUDY 3 Study 3 is designed to test hypotheses 2 and 3. According to hypothesis 2, older consumers’ tendency to feel younger in the presence of young (vs. old) social cues is attenuated when such cues are undesirable. Furthermore, study 3 extends the sample to young consumers to explore young versus older consumers’ differential reactions to age-related social cues. Consistent with hypothesis 3, we expected that young consumers would have feel-ages that are closer to their own actual age and remain relatively immune to age-related social cues and their desirability. Method Three hundred sixty-five respondents (MAge = 49.17, SDAge = 21.38, 125 males) participated in a 2 (age group: young vs. older) × 2 (social cue: young vs. old) × 2 (desirability of social cue: low vs. high) between-participants experiment. They were recruited for an online study from a national paid pool of US consumers with specific age criteria. The young group consisted of participants aged 35 and younger (n = 196, MAge = 29.80, SDAge = 3.91, 52 males), and the older group consisted of those aged 65 and over (n = 169, MAge = 71.64, SDAge = 5.21, 73 males). Both the social cue and its desirability were manipulated. We manipulated the social cue via pictorial prime as in study 2, by presenting respondents with a picture that depicted either a young pair or an older pair of people. We manipulated desirability of the social cues by having participants view the pictorial prime and read an excerpt from a fictitious article that reported scientific findings about the primed social category. The scientific findings were about life satisfaction, optimism, happiness, and physical activities, which represent aspects of life that are desirable for both young and older participants. Both the assigned pictorial prime and the content of the article excerpt were changed to manipulate desirability. Specifically, participants in the low desirability condition saw a version of the prime that displayed a young (or older) pair of people, but we had the picture professionally edited to make the pair appear serious and unhappy, while keeping constant the setting of the other physical characteristics. These participants read the following (see web appendix C for details and pretest results): Recent scientific studies, conducted by a team of researchers from American universities, have investigated negative physical and psychological characteristics of young (older) people. Their results show that young (older) people, compared to those in other age groups, are characterized by dissatisfaction with life, pessimism, and unhappiness. Furthermore, young (older) people are found to be less inclined to do physical activities. In contrast, participants in the high desirability condition saw a version of the assigned prime that we had professionally edited to make the young (or older) pair of people appear smiling and happy, while keeping constant the other physical characteristics. These participants read the following: Recent scientific studies, conducted by a team of researchers from American universities, have investigated positive physical and psychological characteristics of young (older) people. Their results show that young (older) people, compared to those in other age groups, are characterized by satisfaction with life, optimism, and happiness. Furthermore, young (older) people are found to be more inclined to do physical activities. Participants were asked to imagine themselves in a situation where most of the surrounding people were like those depicted in the picture and described in the article excerpt. Next, they were asked to indicate the age they felt at that moment by answering a feel-age question (i.e., “What age do you feel right now?”). This was followed by three more questions that served as manipulation checks. First, participants indicated the extent to which they desired the characteristics mentioned in the passage they read (“To what extent would you desire to have the characteristics described in the article excerpt?”) on a seven-point scale (1 = not at all, 7 = very much). Second, they indicated whether the picture they saw displayed either young or old people (“Did the picture accompanying the article excerpt depict relatively young or old people?”) using a three-point scale (“relatively young,” “neither young nor old,” “relatively old”). Third, they rated the credibility of the article excerpt (“How credible would you rate the information in the article excerpt?”) using a seven-point scale (1 = not at all, 7 = very much). Finally, respondents reported their date of birth, gender, and health status. Results We first checked that participants in the low desirability condition reported less desire to have the qualities ascribed to the primed social category (M = 3.13, SD = 2.17) than those in the high desirability condition (M = 5.33, SD = 1.61), F(1, 363) = 122.19, p < .001. Second, we found that respondents’ perceptions of the young versus old social cues were largely as intended: 75.27% of the respondents in the young social cue condition reported that their pictorial prime depicted young people, χ2(2) = 154.16, p < .001, while 79.23% of the respondents in the old social cue condition reported that their pictorial prime depicted old people, χ2(2) = 182.98, p < .001. A two-way ANOVA expressing respondents’ desire for the qualities ascribed to the primed social category as a function of social cue and desirability of the cue revealed no significant interaction between the two manipulated factors (p = .83). Third, respondents rated the article excerpt as acceptably credible (M = 4.52, SD = 1.67, significantly higher than the midpoint 4; t(364) = 5.94, p < .001). Moreover, a distinct two-way ANOVA revealed that respondents’ perceptions regarding the credibility of the article excerpt did not vary as a function of social cue or desirability of the cue (ps > .10). Thus, our manipulations were successful. After computing the youth-age index as in the previous studies, we conducted a three-way ANOVA to test the effects of age group (young vs. older), social cue (young vs. old), and social cue desirability (low vs. high) on youth-age index. The analysis revealed a significant main effect of age group, F(1, 357) = 198.35, p < .001, which indicated that the tendency to feel younger than chronological age is a phenomenon typical of older consumers, but not of young consumers. Whereas older respondents felt, on average, about 14 years younger (M = 14.67, SD = 10.55), young respondents felt, on average, about a year and a half older than their actual age (M = –1.33, SD = 11.23). Therefore, consistent with hypothesis 3, the difference between young respondents’ actual age and feel-age was smaller than for older respondents. Importantly, the main effect was qualified by a significant three-way interaction effect, F(1, 357) = 6.96, p = .009. This interaction effect remained significant (p = .016) after we statistically controlled for respondents’ gender, health status, and the time of the day at which the survey was completed (i.e., A.M. vs. P.M.). To explore the nature of this three-way interaction, we analyzed data from older and young respondents separately in two distinct two-way ANOVAs, which expressed the youth-age index as a function of (young vs. old) social cue and (low vs. high) desirability of the social cue. For older respondents, there was a significant interaction between social cue and desirability, F(1, 165) = 4.79, p = .03. Contrasts revealed that older respondents had a lower youth-age index when the young social cue was low in desirability (M = 12.40, SD = 8.53) compared to when it was high in desirability (M = 18.19, SD = 11.60), t(165) = 2.55, p = .012. Consistent with hypothesis 2, this finding indicates that older consumers’ tendency to feel younger in the presence of a young social cue is attenuated when the cue is low in desirability. However, in the case of an old social cue, older respondents’ youth-age index did not vary depending on whether the social cue had a low (M = 14.68, SD = 10.91) or high level of desirability (M = 13.45, SD = 10.39), p = .59 (figure 3, panel A). FIGURE 3 View largeDownload slide YOUTH-AGE INDEX AS A FUNCTION OF AGE GROUP, SOCIAL CUE, AND SOCIAL CUE DESIRABILITY (STUDY 3) NOTE.—Youth-age index = (chronological age – feel-age). Error bars indicate standard errors. FIGURE 3 View largeDownload slide YOUTH-AGE INDEX AS A FUNCTION OF AGE GROUP, SOCIAL CUE, AND SOCIAL CUE DESIRABILITY (STUDY 3) NOTE.—Youth-age index = (chronological age – feel-age). Error bars indicate standard errors. For young respondents, the results were consistent with hypothesis 3. We found no significant main (ps > .10) or interaction (p = .12) effects. Indeed, young respondents’ youth-age index remained close to zero in all conditions and was not affected by our manipulations (figure 3, panel B). The empirical evidence supporting hypotheses 2 and 3 are in line with our proposed self-protection account for why older consumers tend to feel younger than their chronological age in a context comprising young others. Furthermore, by comparing young versus older respondents’ youth-age indices in response to age-related social cues with different levels of desirability, we find that the tendency to feel younger is a phenomenon that occurs for older consumers, but not young consumers. Consistent with hypothesis 3, we found that young consumers’ feel-age is less sensitive to age-related social cues and not affected by the desirability of the cue. Hence, the pattern of findings obtained in study 3 is incompatible with a potential alternative explanation that a mere-assimilation mechanism (i.e., individuals conform to the prime consisting of an age-related social cue) may account for the observed effects in studies 1 and 2. At the same time, we wish to acknowledge a limitation in the study design that compromises our ability to draw unequivocal conclusions. Because we manipulated the facial expressions of people depicted in the pictorial primes to be positive or negative in addition to the content of the article excerpts, we cannot completely rule out the possibility that it was the valence of facial expressions, and not the desirability of social cues per se, that accounts for the reported effects. The final two studies were designed to provide two further pieces of evidence: how older consumers’ increased tendency to feel younger in the presence of young (vs. old) others affects consumption behavior, and the moderating role of self-esteem. Indeed, if the tendency to feel younger in the presence of young others represents a self-protective strategy through which older consumers psychologically distance themselves from the old-age category while conforming to the more desirable category of young people, then we would expect a moderating role for self-esteem. In particular, we expected that older consumers with lower self-esteem should be especially prone to exhibit heightened susceptibility to social judgments and threats (Baumeister and Tice 1985; Brockner 1988). STUDY 4 Study 4 is designed to test hypothesis 4 that a downstream consequence of the older consumers’ magnified tendency to feel younger in the presence of young (vs. old) others is an increase in their choice of contemporary (vs. traditional) products. Method One hundred thirty-one participants aged 65 and over (MAge = 69.79, SDAge = 3.95, 56 males) were recruited for an online study from a national paid pool of US older consumers and randomly assigned to one of two conditions of a two-cell between-participants experiment that manipulated social cue (young vs. old). We manipulated the social cue via the same pictorial primes as in studies 2 and 3 by employing them as images included as part of a fictitious Amazon advertisement. The images were accompanied by the claim, “3.5 million people are now buying something on Amazon.com! You are one of them.” Respondents were told that they were participating in a study concerning a new Amazon advertisement. Thus, participants in the young social cue condition saw a version of the advertisement that contained the pictorial prime displaying the young pair of people, while those in the old social cue condition saw the version containing the pictorial prime with the older pair. Participants then answered the same feel-age question as in studies 1 and 2 by indicating the age they felt at that moment. Next, they were told that they could elect to forego the monetary compensation they were to receive for their participation in the study and, instead, choose to have one of two pens being sold on Amazon. Participants were then asked to select between two pens of comparable quality and price, which differed only in whether the design was more contemporary or traditional. (In a pretest, the pen with a modern design was rated as both more contemporary and more targeted at young consumers than the pen with a traditional design; see web appendix D for details.) Finally, respondents reported their date of birth and gender. Results We first computed the youth-age index, as in the previous studies, and then conducted a simple mediation analysis as per Hayes (2013, model 4) to test hypothesis 4. Applying a linear regression, we first regressed the youth-age index on social cue (coded as –1 for old, and 1 for young). Consistent with results reported for previous studies, we found that social cue exerted an effect on the youth-age index that was positive and significant (b = 2.34, t(129) = 2.35, p = .02): respondents in the young social cue condition reported a higher youth-age index (M = 14.55, SD = 11.95) than those in the old social cue condition (M = 9.87, SD = 10.81). Next, applying a binary logistic regression, we regressed participants’ choice (coded as 0 for traditional pen, and 1 for contemporary pen) on their youth-age index and type of social cue. The obtained results revealed a direct effect of the youth-age index on choice that was positive and significant (b = .04, Wald χ2(1) = 4.68, p = .03), indicating that older consumers’ increased tendency to feel younger in the presence of young (vs. old) social cues is positively associated with a greater likelihood of choosing the contemporary product. The direct effect of social cue on product choice was nonsignificant (p = .38). More importantly, using a bootstrapping method (Hayes 2013; Preacher and Hayes 2008; Zhao, Lynch, and Chen 2010), we found that the indirect effect of social cue on product choice via the youth-age index was positive and significant (b = .10, 95% confidence interval = .01, .28), thus supporting hypothesis 4. Overall, study 4 demonstrated the effects of older consumers’ tendency to feel younger on consumption behavior. The next study is designed to provide more robust evidence of the downstream consequences by asking participants to make a choice in a different consumption domain. Furthermore, study 5 tests hypothesis 5 regarding the moderating role of self-esteem. STUDY 5 Study 5 is a field experiment designed to test hypotheses 4 and 5 in order to further bolster empirical support for our conceptual model presented in figure 1. In addition to testing the mediating role of the youth-age index, thus providing supportive evidence for the effect found in study 4, the present study examines the moderating role of self-esteem. Specifically, it assesses the extent to which older consumers with low (vs. high) self-esteem exhibit a greater tendency to feel younger in the presence of young as compared to old social cues, and whether such a greater tendency is associated with increased choice of contemporary over traditional products. To this end, study 5 tests whether the indirect effect of social cue on real choice behavior, via the youth-age index, is significant for older consumers with low (vs. high) self-esteem. Method One hundred sixty participants aged 65 and over (MAge = 68.94, SDAge = 4.36, 81 males) were approached by an experimenter blind to the study’s goals at the entrance of a real pastry store in a European city and asked to volunteer for a study seemingly regarding a market research survey on customers and stores. The study was a mixed-factorial design that included social cue (young vs. old) as a between-participants factor and self-esteem as the measured variable. Before entering the store, participants completed a short questionnaire containing a self-esteem scale composed of 10 items based on Rosenberg’s (1965) work (e.g., “On the whole, I am satisfied with myself”; see web appendix E for details), and some filler items that were totally unrelated to the study. Upon their entrance, participants were told that they would evaluate certain aspects of the store for a market research survey, in order to disguise the real goals of the experiment. Then, participants were accompanied to a separate area (within the store) to minimize the influence of potential confounds that might stem from the presence of other people in the central area of the store. Upon their arrival at the in-store experimental area, they were randomly assigned to one of two social cue conditions: young or old social cue. The social cue was manipulated via the same pictorial primes as in the previous studies, which were employed as visuals of an advertisement with an age-unrelated claim encouraging participation in the study (i.e., “Complete a short anonymous questionnaire on store perception. You will receive a gift!”). Specifically, participants in the young social cue condition completed a fictitious market research survey, composed of two filler questions on how they perceived the store, while being exposed to a version of the advertisement containing a pictorial prime of the young pair of people. Those in the old social cue condition were asked to complete the same survey while being exposed to a version of the advertisement including a pictorial prime of the old pair. Next, participants were asked to report their feel-age. They then provided their date of birth and gender. Afterward, as a reward for their participation in the study, participants were given the chance to choose between two chocolate pastries. The two pastries had identical ingredients and shapes, and differed only in that one pastry had a colored decoration, while the other had a brown decoration. (In a pretest, the two pastries were deemed comparable in terms of quality and price, but the pastry with colored decoration was perceived as more contemporary and more targeted at young consumers than the one with brown decoration, which was perceived as relatively traditional and targeted at older consumers; see web appendix E for details.) Participants’ choice between the two pastries served as the dependent measure in the analysis. Results We first computed the youth-age index and conducted a simple mediation analysis, using the same analytical approach as in study 4, to provide more robust support for hypothesis 4. Applying a linear regression, we regressed the youth-age index on social cue (coded as –1 for old, and 1 for young), and found that social cue exerted an effect on the youth-age index that was positive and significant (b = 2.29, t(158) = 3.30, p = .001). Indeed, respondents in the young social cue condition reported a higher youth-age index (M = 13.93, SD = 8.85) than those in the old social cue condition (M = 9.35, SD = 8.67). Next, using a binary logistic regression, we regressed participants’ choice (coded as 0 for traditional pastry, and 1 for contemporary pastry) on their youth-age index and social cue. We found a direct effect of the youth-age index on choice that was positive and significant (b = .05, Wald χ2(1) = 5.91, p = .015), indicating that older consumers’ increased tendency to feel younger in the presence of young (vs. old) social cue is positively associated with a greater likelihood of choosing the contemporary product. The direct effect of social cue on product choice was not significant (p = .10). Using the same bootstrapping method as in study 4, we found that the indirect effect of social cue on product choice via the youth-age index was positive and significant (b = .11, 95% confidence interval = .02, .27). This finding provided evidence for the mediation effect predicted in hypothesis 4. Second, to test hypothesis 5, we averaged the scores on the 10 items assessing participants’ self-esteem (α = .82) to obtain an index of this construct (M = 5.77, SD = .72). Then, we estimated a simple moderation model using Hayes’ procedure (2013; model 1), in which the youth-age index was expressed as a function of social cue (coded as above), self-esteem (as a continuous and mean-centered variable), and their interaction. The analysis revealed a main effect of social cue on the youth-age index that was positive and significant (b = 2.29, t(156) = 3.33, p = .001). However, this effect was qualified by interaction between social cue and self-esteem that was significantly negative (b = –2.02, t(156) = 2.07, p = .04). We further probed this interaction by estimating the conditional effects of social cue on the youth-age index at one standard deviation below and above the mean of self-esteem. The results showed that, consistent with hypothesis 5, older participants with lower self-esteem (M – 1 SD) reported a higher youth-age index (i.e., a younger feel-age) when the social cue was young (15.14) than when it was old (7.64), b = 3.75, t(156) = 3.78, p < .001. Those with higher self-esteem (M + 1 SD) reported a youth-age index that did not significantly vary as a function of whether the social cue was young (12.80) or old (11.16), b = .82, t(156) = .84, p = .40 (figure 4). FIGURE 4 View largeDownload slide YOUTH-AGE INDEX AS A FUNCTION OF SOCIAL CUE AND SELF-ESTEEM (STUDY 5) NOTE.—Youth-age index = (chronological age – feel-age). FIGURE 4 View largeDownload slide YOUTH-AGE INDEX AS A FUNCTION OF SOCIAL CUE AND SELF-ESTEEM (STUDY 5) NOTE.—Youth-age index = (chronological age – feel-age). Third, we conducted a bootstrapped mediated moderation analysis (Hayes 2013; model 7; Preacher and Hayes 2008; Zhao et al. 2010) to examine the mediating role of the youth-age index in the relationship between the interaction term (social cue by self-esteem) and product choice (figure 1). We found that the interaction between social cue and self-esteem exerted an indirect effect on the participants’ choice of contemporary pastry over traditional pastry that was negative and significant (b = –.10, 95% confidence interval = –.25, –.01). By looking at the conditional indirect effects of social cue on participants’ choice via the youth-age index, at one standard deviation below and above the mean of self-esteem, we found that such an indirect effect was positive and significant for participants with lower self-esteem (M – 1 SD; b = .18, 95% confidence interval = .04, .41) and nonsignificant for those with higher self-esteem (M + 1 SD; b = .04, 95% confidence interval included 0) (figure 5), thus supporting hypothesis 5. FIGURE 5 View largeDownload slide CONDITIONAL INDIRECT EFFECTS OF SOCIAL CUE ON PRODUCT CHOICE (STUDY 5) NOTE.—* p < .05, ** p < .01. Dotted arrows indicate nonsignificant effects. FIGURE 5 View largeDownload slide CONDITIONAL INDIRECT EFFECTS OF SOCIAL CUE ON PRODUCT CHOICE (STUDY 5) NOTE.—* p < .05, ** p < .01. Dotted arrows indicate nonsignificant effects. Overall, study 5 replicated study 4’s results in a field experiment and thereby provided stronger support for hypothesis 4. Furthermore, it supported hypothesis 5. The results lend further credence to our theoretical account by showing that older consumers who are lower in self-esteem are particularly sensitive to social cues, and therefore exhibit an exaggerated tendency to feel younger after being exposed to young rather than old social cues. In contrast, those higher in self-esteem exhibit a tendency to feel younger that remains constant irrespective of the social cue to which they are exposed. In addition, for older consumers lower in self-esteem, such an exaggerated tendency increases their choice of contemporary over traditional products. GENERAL DISCUSSION The present research investigated the malleability of older consumers’ feel-age as a function of social context—a factor that plays a major role in consumer behavior (Argo et al. 2005; Dahl 2013) but remains largely underexplored in relation to older consumers. Across five studies, we showed that older consumers’ tendency to feel younger varies as a function of whether they are exposed to young or old (same-aged) social cues. We also provided evidence for our theoretical account of the older consumers’ magnified tendency to feel younger in the presence of young social cues. As per our theorizing, older consumers engage in a self-protective strategy whereby they defensively distance themselves from their own age group to cope with the risk of being associated with negative aging stereotypes. We further explored the downstream consequences of this phenomenon with respect to consumption behavior, and uncovered a greater likelihood of choosing contemporary over traditional products. Specifically, the results of studies 1 and 2 showed that the tendency to feel younger is magnified by the mere presence of young social cues compared to old social cues. Study 3 showed that the effect of young social cues on older consumers’ feel-age is attenuated when such cues are undesirable. Study 4 shed light on the mediating role of the youth-age index and showed that older consumers’ magnified tendency to feel younger in the presence of young (vs. old) social cues increases their choice of contemporary over traditional products in an online shopping context. Study 5 replicated study 4’s findings in a real physical shopping context and explored the moderating role of self-esteem. Results of study 5 showed that older consumers with low (vs. high) self-esteem exhibit a greater tendency to feel younger in the presence of young as compared to old (same-age) social cues, and that such a magnified tendency is associated with increased choice of contemporary over traditional products. This finding provided empirical support for our proposed self-protection account. We reported a pattern of findings consistent with the proposition that older consumers with lower self-esteem report feeling younger in contexts consisting of young others as a means to defend themselves from stereotype threats associated with negative aspects of aging. Meanwhile, those higher in self-esteem, who are less vulnerable to social scrutiny (Anthony et al. 2007; Brockner 1988; Josephs et al. 2003; Wood et al. 1994), exhibited a tendency to feel younger that is not sensitive to whether the social cue is young or old. Taken together, the results of studies 3, 4, and 5 are incompatible with alternative accounts of the underlying mechanisms. In particular, our results are unlikely to be driven by a mere-assimilation mechanism, according to which we would expect older consumers to automatically conform to the young social category regardless of whether such a category is low or high in desirability and of whether their self-esteem is low or high. Instead, older consumers’ feel-age appears to be primarily influenced by social cues when those cues comprise young people who are associated with desirable characteristics, and when the older consumers have lower self-esteem. As for the consequence of feeling younger on consumption, the results of studies 4 and 5 also revealed a downstream effect on older consumers’ choice for certain products. Although prior work and our pilot study suggested that older consumers are more inclined to prefer traditional over contemporary products (Lambert-Pandraud et al. 2005; Mogilner et al. 2012; Moschis 2003), our results indicated that older consumers with lower self-esteem experience a greater preference for contemporary (vs. traditional) products when they are exposed to young rather than old (or same-aged) social cues. This constitutes a novel finding about how older consumers’ self-protective feelings about their own age affect consumption. Our results are robust across different research settings (i.e., field and online), samples from different geographical origins (i.e., Europe and the United States), social cue manipulations (i.e., real interviewers and pictorial primes), and product choice measures (i.e., contemporary vs. traditional pens in an online shopping context, and pastries in a physical shopping context). Our research contributes to the consumer literature in two ways. First, it advances current knowledge about what influences older individuals’ feel-age. Although recent research (Eibach et al. 2010; Guido et al. 2014; Hughes et al. 2013) has offered initial evidence suggesting that feel-age is a malleable construct, academic work to date has not expressly explored the effects of social cues on older consumers. Specifically, the present research is the first to investigate the consumption effects exerted by age-related social cues, and to find that older consumers exhibit an exaggerated tendency to feel younger in the mere presence of young social cues. Second, our research contributes to stereotype threat literature (Abrams et al. 2006; Steele 1997; Steele et al. 2002) by demonstrating that older consumers exposed to the risk of being negatively stereotyped by young others defensively distance themselves from their own age group by magnifying their tendency to feel younger. This effect is particularly pronounced among older consumers with low self-esteem, as they are more sensitive to stereotype threats. Moreover, the present research reveals that young consumers, unlike older consumers, are relatively immune to age-related social cues and their levels of desirability. Our research also improves our understanding of older consumers’ behavior. Past research has shown that older consumers naturally prefer traditional products over contemporary ones (Lambert-Pandraud et al. 2005; Mogilner et al. 2012; Moschis 2003). However, some work has shown that older consumers with younger feel-ages are more interested in less traditional options, such as fashion-related products (Lin and Xia 2012) and novel products (Gwinner and Stephens 2001; Stephens 1991), which are typically targeted at the young. Our results accord with previous findings and, at the same time, expand the current understanding of how self-esteem may affect older consumers’ choices. In showing that older consumers with a younger feel-age tend to prefer contemporary products over traditional ones, our research is the first to demonstrate that the mere presence of young social cues may be enough for older consumers with lower self-esteem to magnify their tendency to feel younger and, thereby, shift their preferences toward contemporary products at the expense of traditional ones. Our results also carry significant implications for practitioners interested in targeting older consumers. Older consumers are an important marketing segment, not only because they are an expanding portion of the consumer population, but also because they are characterized by larger household assets and more disposable income than young consumers (Sherman et al. 2001; Yoon and Cole 2008). These forces underscore the need to advance our understanding of how and why older consumers feel and behave in particular ways across different consumer contexts (Gunter 1999; Yoon et al. 2009). Overall, our findings indicate that exposing older consumers to young social cues generally makes them feel younger. Further, the younger they feel, the more inclined they are to shift their preferences toward products that typically appeal to younger consumers. This finding suggests that marketers should consider conditions under which it may be more appropriate to employ young versus older models in advertisements or salespeople in their retail stores. Notwithstanding theoretical and practical relevance, our findings leave open some issues. For instance, while supportive of hypothesis 5, the results of study 5 also revealed that older consumers higher in self-esteem felt approximately 12 (i.e., 11.16 vs. 12.80) years younger than their chronological age, regardless of the social cue to which they were exposed. This finding is in line with previous research indicating that older people with higher self-esteem tend to feel younger than they actually are (Eibach et al. 2010; Teuscher 2009). However, the fact that older consumers higher in self-esteem as well as those lower in self-esteem who are exposed to young social cues reported a youth-age index of 11 years or higher might raise the issue of whether feeling younger represents an adaptive or a maladaptive reaction by older consumers to their social environment. Our results hint at the possibility that feeling younger is functional to older people higher in self-esteem and dysfunctional to those lower in self-esteem. However, additional investigations are needed to provide more explicit evidence of this dualism. Furthermore, our research was conducted on Western respondents. Thus, future research is needed to examine older consumers from Eastern cultures to shed light on potential cultural differences. Western cultures (e.g., the US) are more individualistic compared to East Asian ones (e.g., Japan, Taiwan), which are more collectivistic (Hofstede, Hofstede, and Minkov 2010). In more collectivistic cultures, the role and consideration of older people in society may be different. Thus, the relationship between different generations may vary according to cultural customs and roots, which may differently shape people’s attitudes toward aging. For instance, in Korea and China, people respect older individuals and celebrate them, while in Japan, people prize filial piety and expect children to dutifully tend to their parents. In contrast, people in the US and UK tend to be youth-centric, emphasizing attributes like individualism and independence (i.e., values that diminish in old age) (Martinez-Carter 2013). Although the results of study 4 and study 5 were consistent across two different product categories (i.e., pens and chocolate pastries, respectively), future studies should seek to examine the moderating role of product category. It may be that the consumption effects of age-related social cues on older consumers’ choices are more pronounced for certain types of products (e.g., publicly consumed products compared to privately consumed products). Moreover, future studies could explore other downstream consequences of older consumers’ tendency to feel younger, such as goal pursuit or the type of happiness that is prioritized. For example, findings by Bhattacharjee and Mogilner (2014) would suggest that older consumers, in the presence of young (vs. old) social cues, would be more likely to pursue happiness via extraordinary (i.e., infrequent and uncommon) experiences than ordinary (i.e., frequent and common) experiences. Another open question to be addressed involves whether or not there are systematic differences in the youth-age index stemming from the types of associations people conjure up when asked to report their feel-age. In our research, we ensured that respondents were not specifically prompted to consider their physical or mental status when asked for their feel-age (see web appendix A for pretest results). Future research could, however, examine whether a focus on mental versus physical status differentially activates the need to mitigate negative elderly stereotypes in older consumers. Perhaps most notably, the present evidence also implies important directions for future research to generate a systematic understanding of other factors—both internal and external to consumers—that may moderate older consumers’ propensity to feel younger than they actually are and carry consequences for consumer behavior. Although this research clearly identifies how social context in the form of the age-related cues in the immediate environment can influence older consumers’ feel-age, what other contextual cues—both social and nonsocial—are likely to exert a substantial influence? Future research is needed to examine a broad range of antecedents and consequences that can affect older consumers’ feel-age, as well as the processes underlying the effects. DATA COLLECTION INFORMATION In study 1, data for the young social cue condition and for the old social cue condition were collected in Europe by four trained interviewers in winter 2012. Data for the no social cue condition were collected in Europe from an online pool of older members of a senior service organization in winter 2012. The first and second authors supervised data collection for study 1. Data for study 2 were collected in the United States from a national paid pool of older consumers under the supervision of the first, second, and fourth authors in winter 2018. Data for study 3 were collected in the United States from a national paid pool of consumers under the supervision of the first and second authors in winter 2017. Data for study 4 were collected in the United States from a national paid pool of older consumers under the supervision of the first and second authors in summer 2017. Data for study 5 were collected in Europe from real older shoppers in a pastry store under the supervision of the first, second, and third authors in summer 2017. The second author analyzed all data. The authors thank Richard P. Bagozzi, Stephanie Carpenter, and David Wooten for their insightful comments and suggestions on previous versions of this article. They also thank Chiara Santoro and Dania Urso for providing research assistance. The authors acknowledge the financial support from the Italian Ministry of Education, University, and Research under the “5 per Mille per la Ricerca 2012” Young Researchers Program. Supplementary materials are included in the web appendix accompanying the online version of this article. Data are available from the Dryad Digital Repository: https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.pt07h86. References Abrams Dominic , Eller Anja , Bryant Jacqueline ( 2006 ), “ An Age Apart: The Effects of Intergenerational Contact and Stereotype Threat on Performance and Intergroup Bias ,” Psychology and Aging , 21 4 , 691 – 702 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Alicke Mark D. , Sedikides Constantine ( 2009 ), “ Self-Enhancement and Self-Protection: What They Are and What They Do ,” European Review of Social Psychology , 20 1 , 1 – 48 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Anthony Danu B. , Holmes John G. , Wood Joanne V. ( 2007 ), “ Social Acceptance and Self-Esteem: Tuning the Sociometer to Interpersonal Value ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 92 6 , 1024 – 39 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Argo Jennifer J. , Dahl Darren W. , Manchanda Rajesh V. ( 2005 ), “ The Influence of a Mere Social Presence in a Retail Context ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 32 2 , 207 – 12 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Barak Benny ( 1987 ), “ Cognitive Age: A New Multidimensional Approach to Measuring Age Identity ,” International Journal of Aging and Human Development , 25 2 , 109 – 28 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Barak Benny ( 2009 ), “ Age Identity: A Cross-Cultural Global Approach ,” International Journal of Behavioral Development , 33 1 , 2 – 11 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Barak Benny , Gould Steven ( 1985 ), “Alternative Age Measures: A Research Agenda,” in NA—Advances in Consumer Research , Vol. 12 , ed. Hirschman Elizabeth C. , Holbrook Morris B. , Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research , 53 – 8 . Barak Benny , Schiffman Leon G. ( 1981 ), “Cognitive Age: A Nonchronological Age Variable,” in NA—Advances in Consumer Research , Vol. 8 , ed. Monroe Kent B. , Ann Arbor, MI : Association for Consumer Research , 602 – 6 . Barak Benny , Stern Barbara B. , Gould Stephen J. ( 1988 ), “Ideal Age Concepts: An Exploration,” in NA—Advances in Consumer Research , Vol. 15 , ed. Houston Michael J. , Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research , 146 – 52 . Barber Sarah J. , Mather Mara ( 2014 ), “Stereotype Threat in Older Adults: When and Why Does It Occur and Who Is Most Affected?” in The Oxford Handbook of Emotion, Social Cognition, and Problem Solving During Adulthood , ed. Verhaeghen Paul , Hertzog Christopher K. , New York : Oxford University Press . Barnhart Michelle , Peñaloza Lisa ( 2013 ), “ Who Are You Calling Old? Negotiating Old Age Identity in the Elderly Consumption Ensemble ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 39 6 , 1133 – 53 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Barrett Anne E. ( 2003 ), “ Socioeconomic Status and Age Identity: The Role of Dimensions of Health in the Subjective Construction of Age ,” Journal of Gerontology, Series B , 58 2 , S101 – 9 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Baumeister Roy F. , Tice Dianne M. ( 1985 ), “ Self-Esteem and Responses to Success and Failure: Subsequent Performance and Intrinsic Motivation ,” Journal of Personality , 53 3 , 450 – 67 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Bhattacharjee Amit , Mogilner Cassie ( 2014 ), “ Happiness from Ordinary and Extraordinary Experiences ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 41 1 , 1 – 17 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Blaine Bruce E. ( 2013 ), Understanding the Psychology of Diversity , Thousand Oaks, CA : Sage . Brockner Joel ( 1988 ), Self-Esteem at Work: Research, Theory, and Practice , Lexington, MA : Lexington Press . Brown Jonathon D. , Collins Rebecca L. , Schmidt Greg W. ( 1988 ), “ Self-Esteem and Direct versus Indirect Forms of Self-Enhancement ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 55 3 , 445 – 53 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Catterall Miriam , MacLaran Pauline ( 2001 ), “ Body Talk: Questioning the Assumptions in Cognitive Age ,” Psychology and Marketing , 18 10 , 1117 – 33 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Chang Chingching ( 2008 ), “ Chronological Age versus Cognitive Age for Younger Consumers: Implications for Advertising Persuasion ,” Journal of Advertising , 37 3 , 19 – 32 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Chartrand Tanya L. , Bargh John A. ( 1999 ), “ The Chameleon Effect: The Perception-Behavior Link and Social Interaction ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 76 6 , 893 – 910 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Chen Mark , Bargh John A. ( 1999 ), “ Consequences of Automatic Evaluation: Immediate Behavioral Predispositions to Approach or Avoid the Stimulus ,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin , 25 2 , 215 – 24 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Cuddy Amy J. C. , Norton Michael I. , Fiske Susan T. ( 2005 ), “ This Old Stereotype: The Pervasiveness and Persistence of the Elderly Stereotype ,” Journal of Social Issues , 61 2 , 267 – 83 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Dahl Darren W. ( 2013 ), “ Social Influence and Consumer Behavior ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 40 2 , iii – v . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Diehl Manfred , Wahl Hans-Werner , Barrett Anne E. , Brothers Allyson F. , Miche Martina , Montepare Joann M. , Westerhof Gerben J. , Wurm Susanne ( 2014 ), “ Awareness of Aging: Theoretical Considerations on Emerging Concept ,” Developmental Review , 34 2 , 93 – 113 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Dommer Sara L. , Swaminathan Vanitha , Ahluwalia Rohini ( 2013 ), “ Using Differentiated Brands to Deflect Exclusion and Protect Inclusion: The Moderating Role of Self-Esteem on Attachment to Differentiated Brands ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 40 4 , 657 – 75 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Ebner Natalie C. , Freund Alexandra M. , Baltes Paul B. ( 2006 ), “ Developmental Changes in Personal Goal Orientation from Young to Late Adulthood: From Striving for Gains to Maintenance and Prevention of Losses ,” Psychology and Aging , 21 4 , 664 – 78 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Edgar Lisa , Bunker David ( 2013 ), “ It’s All in the Mind: Changing the Way We Think about Age ,” International Journal of Market Research , 55 2 , 201 – 26 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Eibach Richard P. , Mock Steven E. , Courtney Elizabeth A. ( 2010 ), “ Having a ‘Senior Moment’: Induced Aging Phenomenology, Subjective Age, and Susceptibility to Ageist Stereotypes ,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology , 46 4 , 643 – 9 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Elangovan A. R. , Xie Jia L. ( 1999 ), “ Effects of Perceived Power of Supervisor on Subordinate Stress and Motivation: The Moderating Role of Subordinate Characteristics ,” Journal of Organizational Behavior , 20 3 , 359 – 73 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Freund Alexandra M. ( 2006 ), “ Age-Differential Motivational Consequences of Optimization versus Compensation Focus in Younger and Older Adults ,” Psychology and Aging , 21 2 , 240 – 52 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Galambos Nancy , Albrecht Arne K. , Jansson S. Mikael ( 2009 ), “ Dating, Sex, and Substance Use Predict Increases in Adolescents’ Subjective Age across Two Years ,” International Journal of Behavioral Development , 33 1 , 32 – 41 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Guido Gianluigi , Amatulli Cesare , Peluso Alessandro M. ( 2014 ), “ Context Effects on Older Consumers’ Cognitive Age: The Role of Hedonic versus Utilitarian Goals ,” Psychology & Marketing , 31 2 , 103 – 14 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Guiot Denis ( 2001 ), “ Antecedents of Subjective Age Biases among Senior Women ,” Psychology and Marketing , 18 10 , 1049 – 71 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Gunter Barrie ( 1999 ), Understanding the Older Consumer: The Grey Market , New York : Routledge . Gwinner Kevin P. , Stephens Nancy ( 2001 ), “ Testing the Implied Mediational Role of Cognitive Age ,” Psychology and Marketing , 18 10 , 1031 – 48 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Hayes Andrew F. ( 2013 ), Introduction to Mediation, Moderation, and Conditional Process Analysis: A Regression-Based Approach , New York : Guilford . Heckhausen Jutta , Dixon Roger A. , Baltes Paul B. ( 1989 ), “ Gains and Losses in Development throughout Adulthood as Perceived by Different Adult Age Groups ,” Developmental Psychology , 25 1 , 109 – 21 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Heckhausen Jutta , Krueger Joachim ( 1993 ), “ Developmental Expectations for the Self and Most Other People: Age Grading in Three Functions of Social Comparison ,” Developmental Psychology , 29 3 , 539 – 48 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Heckhausen Jutta , Wrosch Carsten , Schulz Richard ( 2010 ), “ A Motivational Theory of Life-Span Development ,” Psychological Review , 117 1 , 32 – 60 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Hess Moritz , Dikken Jeroen ( 2010 ), “ The Association between Ageism and Subjective Age of Older People in Europe ,” International Journal of Social Sciences and Humanity Studies , 2 1 , 99 – 109 . Hofstede Geert , Hofstede Gert Jan , Minkov Michel ( 2010 ), Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind , New York : McGraw-Hill . Hsu Laura M. , Chung Jaewoo , Langer Ellen J. ( 2010 ), “ The Influence of Age-Related Cues on Health and Longevity ,” Perspectives on Psychological Science , 5 6 , 632 – 48 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Hughes Matthew L. , Geraci Lisa , De Forrest Ross L. ( 2013 ), “ Aging 5 Years in 5 Minutes: The Effect of Taking a Memory Test on Older Adults’ Subjective Age ,” Psychological Science , 24 12 , 2481 – 8 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Hummert Mary Lee , Garstka Teri A. , O’Brien Laurie T. , Greenwald Anthony G. , Mellott Deborah S. ( 2002 ), “ Using the Implicit Association Test to Measure Age Differences in Implicit Social Cognitions ,” Psychology and Aging , 17 3 , 482 – 95 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Hummert Mary Lee , Garstka Teri A. , Shaner Jaye L. ( 1997 ), “ Stereotyping of Older Adults: The Role of Target Facial Cues and Perceiver Characteristics ,” Psychology and Aging , 12 1 , 107 – 14 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Josephs Robert A. , Bosson Jennifer K. , Jacobs Christopher G. ( 2003 ), “ Self-Esteem Maintenance Processes: Why Low Self-Esteem May Be Resistant to Change ,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin , 29 7 , 920 – 33 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Kang Sonia K. , Chasteen Alison L. ( 2009 ), “ The Moderating Role of Age-Group Identification and Perceived Threat on Stereotype Threat among Older Adults ,” International Journal of Aging and Human Development , 69 3 , 201 – 20 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Kastenbaum Robert , Derbin Valerie , Sabatini Paul , Artt Steven ( 1972 ), “‘ The Ages of Me’: Toward Personal and Interpersonal Definitions of Functional Aging ,” International Journal of Aging and Human Development , 3 2 , 197 – 211 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Kaufman Gayle , Elder Glen H. Jr. ( 2002 ), “ Revisiting Age Identity: A Research Note ,” Journal of Aging Studies , 16 2 , 169 – 76 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Kim Youn-Kyung , Kang Jikyeong , Kim Minsung ( 2005 ), “ The Relationships among Family and Social Interaction, Loneliness, Mall Shopping Motivation, and Mall Spending of Older Consumers ,” Psychology and Marketing , 22 12 , 995 – 1015 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Kotter-Grühn Dana , Hess Thomas M. ( 2012 ), “ The Impact of Age Stereotypes on Self-Perceptions of Aging across the Adult Lifespan ,” Journals of Gerontology: Series B , 67 5 , 563 – 71 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Lakin Jessica L. , Chartrand Tanya L. ( 2003 ), “ Using Nonconscious Behavioral Mimicry to Create Affiliation and Rapport ,” Psychological Science , 14 4 , 334 – 9 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Lakin Jessica L. , Jefferis Valerie E. , Cheng Clara M. , Chartrand Tanya L. ( 2003 ), “ The Chameleon Effect as Social Glue: Evidence for the Evolutionary Significance of Nonconscious Mimicry ,” Journal of Nonverbal Behavior , 27 3 , 145 – 62 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Lambert-Pandraud Raphaëlle , Laurent Gilles , Lapersonne Eric ( 2005 ), “ Repeat Purchasing of New Automobiles by Older Consumers: Empirical Evidence and Interpretations ,” Journal of Marketing , 69 2 , 97 – 113 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Leary Mark R. , Tambor Ellen S. , Terdal Sonja K. , Downs Deborah L. ( 1995 ), “ Self-Esteem as an Interpersonal Monitor: The Sociometer Hypothesis ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 68 3 , 518 – 30 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Levy Becca ( 1996 ), “ Improving Memory in Old Age through Implicit Self-Stereotyping ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 71 6 , 1092 – 107 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Lin Yu-Tse , Xia Kang-Ning ( 2012 ), “ Cognitive Age and Fashion Consumption ,” International Journal of Consumer Studies , 36 1 , 97 – 105 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Logan John R. , Ward Russell , Spitze Glenna ( 1992 ), “ As Old as You Feel: Age Identity in Middle and Later Life ,” Social Forces , 71 2 , 451 – 67 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Maass Anne , Cadinu Mara , Guarnieri Gaia , Grasselli Annalisa ( 2003 ), “ Sexual Harassment under Social Identity Threat: The Computer Harassment Paradigm ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 85 5 , 853 – 70 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Martinez-Carter Karina ( 2013 ), “ How the Elderly Are Treated around the World ,” The Week , July 23, http://theweek.com/article/index/246810/how-the-elderly-are-treated-around-the-world. Mathur Anil , Moschis George P. ( 2005 ), “ Antecedents of Cognitive Age: A Replication and Extension ,” Psychology and Marketing , 22 12 , 969 – 94 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Mead Nicole L. , Baumeister Roy F. , Stillman Tyler F. , Rawn Catherine D. , Vohs Kathleen D. ( 2011 ), “ Social Exclusion Causes People to Spend and Consume Strategically in the Service of Affiliation ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 37 5 , 902 – 18 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Mock Steven E. , Eibach Richard P. ( 2011 ), “ Aging Attitudes Moderate the Effect of Subjective Age on Psychological Well-Being: Evidence from a 10-Year Longitudinal Study ,” Psychology and Aging , 26 4 , 979 – 86 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Mogilner Cassie , Aaker Jennifer , Kamvar Sepandar D. ( 2012 ), “ How Happiness Affects Choice ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 39 2 , 429 – 43 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Montepare Joann M. ( 2009 ), “ Subjective Age: Toward a Guiding Lifespan Framework ,” International Journal of Behavioral Development , 33 1 , 42 – 6 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Montepare Joann M. , Lachman Margie E. ( 1989 ), “‘ You’re Only as Old as You Feel’: Self-Perceptions of Age, Fears of Aging, and Life Satisfaction from Adolescence to Old Age ,” Psychology and Aging , 4 1 , 73 – 8 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Moschis George P. ( 2003 ), “ Marketing to Older Adults: An Updated Overview of Present Knowledge and Practice ,” Journal of Consumer Marketing , 20 6 , 516 – 25 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Nelson Todd D. ( 2011 ), “Ageism: The Strange Case of Prejudice against the Older You,” in Disability and Aging Discrimination: Perspectives in Law and Psychology , ed. Wiener Richard L. , Willborn Steven L. , New York : Springer-Verlag , 37 – 47 . North Michael S. , Fiske Susan T. ( 2012 ), “ An Inconvenience Youth? Ageism and Its Potential Intergenerational Roots ,” Psychological Bulletin , 138 5 , 982 – 97 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Orth Ulrich , Maes Jürgen , Schmitt Manfred ( 2015 ), “ Self-Esteem Development across the Life Span: A Longitudinal Study with a Large Sample from Germany ,” Developmental Psychology , 51 2 , 248 – 59 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Perdue Charles W. , Gurtman Michael B. ( 1990 ), “ Evidence for the Automaticity of Ageism ,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology , 26 3 , 199 – 216 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Pierce Jon L. , Gardner Donald G. , Dunham Randall B. , Cummings Larry L. ( 1993 ), “ Moderation by Organization-Based Self-Esteem of Role Condition-Employee Response Relationships ,” Academy of Management Journal , 36 2 , 271 – 88 . Preacher Kristopher J. , Hayes Andrew F. ( 2008 ), “ Asymptotic and Resampling Strategies for Assessing and Comparing Indirect Effects in Multiple Mediator Models ,” Behavior Research Methods , 40 3 , 879 – 91 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Pronin Emily , Steele Claude M. , Ross Lee ( 2004 ), “ Identity Bifurcation in Response to Stereotype Threat: Women and Mathematics ,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology , 40 2 , 152 – 68 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Rosenberg Morris ( 1965 ), Society and the Adolescent Self-Image , Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press . Scheepers Daan , Ellemers Naomi ( 2005 ), “ When the Pressure Is Up: The Assessment of Social Identity Threat in Low and High Status Groups ,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology , 41 2 , 192 – 200 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Sedikides Constantine ( 1993 ), “ Assessment, Enhancement, and Verification Determinants of the Self-Evaluation Process ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 65 2 , 317 – 38 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Settersten Richard A. Jr. , Mayer Karl U. ( 1997 ), “ The Measurement of Age, Age Structuring, and the Life Course ,” Annual Review of Sociology , 23 1 , 233 – 61 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Sherman David K. , Hartson Kimberly A. , Binning Kevin R. , Purdie-Vaughns Valerie , Garcia Julio , Taborsky-Barba Suzanne et al. . ( 2013 ), “ Deflecting the Trajectory and Changing the Narrative: How Self-Affirmation Affects Academic Performance and Motivation under Identity Threat ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 104 4 , 591 – 618 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Sherman Elaine , Schiffman Leon G. , Mathur Anil ( 2001 ), “ The Influence of Gender on the New-Age Elderly’s Consumption Orientation ,” Psychology and Marketing , 18 10 , 1073 – 89 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Sinclair Stacey , Huntsinger Jeffrey , Skorinko Jeanine , Hardin Curtis D. ( 2005a ), “ Social Tuning of the Self: Consequences for the Self-Evaluations of Stereotype Targets ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 89 2 , 160 – 75 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Sinclair Stacey , Lowery Brian S. , Hardin Curtis D. , Colangelo Anna ( 2005b ), “ Social Tuning of Automatic Racial Attitudes: The Role of Affiliative Motivation ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 89 4 , 583 – 92 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Steele Claude M. ( 1997 ), “ A Threat in the Air: How Stereotypes Shape Intellectual Identity and Performance ,” American Psychologist , 52 6 , 613 – 29 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Steele Claude M. , Aronson Joshua ( 1995 ), “ Stereotype Threat and the Intellectual Test Performance of African Americans ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 69 5 , 797 – 811 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Steele Claude M. , Spencer Steven J. , Aronson Joshua ( 2002 ), “ Contending with Group Image: The Psychology of Stereotype and Social Identity Threat ,” in Advances in Experimental Social Psychology , Vol. 34 , ed. Mark P. Zanna, San Diego: Academic Press, 379 – 440 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Stephens Nancy ( 1991 ), “ Cognitive Age: A Useful Concept for Advertising? ” Journal of Advertising , 20 4 , 37 – 48 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Sudbury Lynn , Simcock Peter ( 2009 ), “ Understanding Older Consumers through Cognitive Age and the List of Values: A U.K.-Based Perspective ,” Psychology and Marketing , 26 1 , 22 – 38 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Teuscher Ursina ( 2009 ), “ Subjective Age Bias: A Motivational and Information Processing Approach ,” International Journal of Behavioral Development , 33 1 , 22 – 31 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Twigg Julia , Majima Shinobu ( 2014 ), “ Consumption and the Constitution of Age: Expenditure Patterns on Clothing, Hair and Cosmetics among Post-War ‘Baby Boomers,’ ” Journal of Aging Studies , 30 ( August ), 23 – 32 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Underhill Lois , Cadwell Franchellie ( 1984 ), “‘ What Age Do You Feel?’ Age Perception Study ,” Journal of Consumer Marketing , 1 1 , 18 – 27 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Van Auken Stuart , Barry Thomas E. ( 1995 ), “ An Assessment of the Trait Validity of Cognitive Age Measures ,” Journal of Consumer Psychology , 4 2 , 107 – 32 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Van Auken Stuart , Barry Thomas E. , Anderson Robert L. ( 1993 ), “ Observations: Toward the Internal Validation of Cognitive Age Measures in Advertising Research ,” Journal of Advertising Research , 33 3 , 82 – 4 . Van Auken Stuart , Barry Thomas E. , Bagozzi Richard P. ( 2006 ), “ A Cross-Country Construct Validation of Cognitive Age ,” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science , 34 3 , 439 – 55 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Weiss David , Freund Alexandra M. ( 2012 ), “ Still Young at Heart: Negative Age-Related Information Motivates Distancing from Same-Aged People ,” Psychology and Aging , 27 1 , 173 – 80 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Weiss David , Lang Frieder R. ( 2012 ), “‘ They’ Are Old but ‘I’ Feel Younger: Age-Group Dissociation as a Self-Protective Strategy in Old Age ,” Psychology and Aging , 27 1 , 153 – 63 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Westerhof Gerben J. , Barrett Anne E. ( 2005 ), “ Age Identity and Subjective Well-Being: A Comparison of the United States and Germany ,” Journals of Gerontology. Series B , 60 3 , S129 – 36 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS White Katherine , Argo Jennifer J. ( 2009 ), “ Social Identity Threat and Consumer Preferences ,” Journal of Consumer Psychology , 19 3 , 313 – 25 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS White Katherine , Argo Jennifer J. , Sengupta Jaideep ( 2012 ), “ Dissociative versus Associative Responses to Social Identity Threat: The Role of Consumer Self-Construal ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 39 4 , 704 – 19 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Wilkes Robert E. ( 1992 ), “ A Structural Modeling Approach to the Measurement and Meaning of Cognitive Age ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 19 2 , 292 – 301 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Williams Patti , Drolet Aimee ( 2005 ), “ Age-Related Differences in Responses to Emotional Advertisements ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 32 3 , 343 – 53 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Wood Joanne V. , Giordano-Beech Maria , Taylor Kathryn L. , Michela John L. , Gaus Valerie ( 1994 ), “ Strategies of Social Comparison among People with Low Self-Esteem: Self-Protection and Self-Enhancement ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 67 4 , 713 – 31 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Yoon Carolyn ( 1997 ), “ Age Differences in Consumer Processing Strategies: An Investigation of Moderating Influences ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 24 3 , 329 – 42 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Yoon Carolyn , Cole Catherine A. ( 2008 ), “Aging and Consumer Behavior,” in Handbook of Consumer Psychology , ed. Haugtvedt Curtis P. , Herr Paul M. , Kardes Frank R. , New York : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates , 247 – 70 . Yoon Carolyn , Cole Catherine A. , Lee Michelle P. ( 2009 ), “ Consumer Decision Making and Aging: Current Knowledge and Future Directions ,” Journal of Consumer Psychology , 19 1 , 2 – 16 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Yoon Carolyn , Laurent Gilles , Fung Helene H. , Gonzalez Richard , Gutchess Angela H. , Hedden Trey et al. . ( 2005 ), “ Cognition, Persuasion and Decision Making in Older Consumers ,” Marketing Letters , 16 ( 3–4 ), 429 – 41 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Zhao Xinshu , Lynch John G. Jr. , Chen Qimei ( 2010 ), “ Reconsidering Baron and Kenny: Myths and Truths about Mediation Analysis ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 37 2 , 197 – 206 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Journal of Consumer Research, Inc. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/open_access/funder_policies/chorus/standard_publication_model)

Journal

Journal of Consumer ResearchOxford University Press

Published: Dec 1, 2018

References

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create lists to
organize your research

Export lists, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off