Celebrity memorabilia collectors are strongly judged – for better or worse – for behaviour that doesn’t conform to expectations, Schulich study finds
TORONTO, ON – Thursday, May 18, 2017 – Many people acquire celebrity memorabilia in hopes that some of the star power will rub off. However, new research at the Schulich School of Business shows that such ownership can also powerfully influence how others view us in some unexpected and startling ways.
The study, “How inferred contagion biases dispositional judgments of others”, is published in the April 2017 issue of the Journal of Consumer Psychology and is co-authored by Theodore J. Noseworthy, Canada Research Chair, Entrepreneurial Innovation and the Public Good and Scientific Director of the NOESIS: Innovation, Design, and Consumption Laboratory at the Schulich School of Business at York University; together with Schulich PhD students Sean T. Hingston, who is the study’s lead author, and Justin F. McManus.
The research, which was partially funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, suggests that owning a “celebrity-contaminated” item sets expectations about the consumer’s subsequent behaviour. If that behaviour deviates from those expectations, there is a disproportionate value judgement made, which can either demonize or canonize the consumer.
For example, if someone were to buy a jacket previously owned by convicted fraudster Bernard Madoff and then behaved in an honest way, such as returning a lost wallet with money intact to the owner, they would be judged to be even more morally exemplary than their behaviour indicated, says Dr. Noseworthy. Likewise, if someone purchased the robes once worn by the sainted Mother Teresa and then took candy from a baby, he or she might be judged even more harshly than the actual behaviour would indicate, he said.
“The research shows that people can make some pretty odd inferences about the behaviour of people known to have purchased celebrity memorabilia,” said Dr. Noseworthy. “Clearly, there can be unexpected social consequences in owning something that has come into contact with a celebrity, both good and bad. The caveat ‘buyer beware’ is all the more relevant for collectors of celebrity memorabilia.”
In the Schulich study, participants were asked to judge the owners of celebrity memorabilia in a variety of scenarios, based on their behaviour during a single isolated incident. In one scenario, participants were asked to judge the golfing talent of a person said to have purchased a golf putter used by Tiger Woods during the 2000 golf season. Because of the expectation that someone owning Tiger Woods’ putter would golf well, study participants more harshly judged the putter’s new owner when he reportedly missed his first three putting attempts than they might otherwise have.
Sean T. Hingston is a fourth-year PhD student studying psychological essentialism, contagion, and evolutionary psychology in Schulich’s post-graduate marketing program. He is the lead author of the paper.
Justin F. McManus is a second-year PhD student studying self-concept/identity, threat, contagion, and dual-processing in Schulich’s post-graduate marketing program.
Watch a short videotaped interview with Dr. Noseworthy about the research.
To read the full article published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, visit the website at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1057740816300791.
Known as Canada’s Global Business School™, the Schulich School of Business in Toronto is ranked among the world’s leading business schools by a number of global surveys. Schulich’s MBA program is ranked #1 in the world by Corporate Knights, the world’s largest circulation magazine with an explicit focus on Corporate Social Responsibility, in a global survey that identifies which schools are doing the best job of preparing future business leaders for the environmental, social and ethical complexities of modern-day business. Schulich’s MBA program is also ranked #1 in Canada and among the world’s leading schools by The Economist, Forbes, CNN Expansión and América Economía. Schulich is also ranked among the world’s top 35 business schools for a career in investment banking in a global survey by eFinancialCareers.com. The Kellogg-Schulich EMBA program is ranked #5 in the world by The Economist and #1 in Canada by the Financial Times of London. For complete ranking details, please visit www.schulich.yorku.ca.
Global, innovative and diverse, Schulich offers business programs year-round at its state-of-the-art complex at York University; at its Miles S. Nadal Management Centre located in the heart of the Toronto’s financial district; and at its new campuses in Hyderabad, India and Beijing, China. Schulich also operates a number of satellite centres in Beijing and Shanghai, China; Mumbai, India; Seoul, South Korea; Mexico City, Mexico; and Sao Paulo, Brazil. Schulich offers undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate business degrees that lead to rewarding careers in the private, public and nonprofit sectors, and has approximately 30,000 alumni working in over 90 countries. The School pioneered Canada’s first International MBA (IMBA) and International BBA (iBBA) degrees, as well as North America’s first ever cross-border Executive MBA degree, the Kellogg-Schulich Executive MBA. In addition to Schulich’s Master of Finance, Master of Management and Master of Accounting degrees, the School launched one of the world’s first Master of Business Analytics and Master of Real Estate and Infrastructure degrees. Schulich’s Executive Education Centre provides executive development programs annually to more than 12,000 executives in Canada and abroad.
For more information or to arrange an interview with Dr. Noseworthy, please contact:
Beth Marlin at (905) 717-6278 or firstname.lastname@example.org