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We Do What We Are: Representation of the Self-Concept and Identity-Based Choice



Publishing details

Social Sciences Research Network

Authors / Editors

Chen S


Publication Year



We propose a novel approach to identity-based choice that focuses on consumers’ representations of the self-concept, as captured by the perceived cause-effect relationships among features of an individual consumer’s self-concepts. More specifically, we propose that consumers who believe that an identity, a social category that they belong to, is causally central (has influenced or was influenced by many other features of the self-concept) are more likely to both believe that the identity is important and engage in behaviors consistent with that identity than those who believe that the same identity is causally peripheral (has influenced or was influenced by fewer other features). Across six studies, we provide evidence for the role of causal centrality in identity-based choice. We demonstrate that among consumers who belong to the same social category, those who believe that the associated identity is more causally central are more likely to engage in behaviors consistent with the social category.


Social Sciences Research Network

Available on ECCH


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