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EXPRESS: Beautiful and Confident: How Boosting Self-Perceived Attractiveness Reduces Preference Uncertainty in Context-Dependent Choices
Journal of Marketing Research  (IF5),  Pub Date : 2021-07-08, DOI: 10.1177/00222437211033179
Zixi Jiang, Jing Xu, Margaret Gorlin, Ravi Dhar

Despite marketers' efforts to make consumers feel attractive in many sales and advertising contexts, little is known about how consumers' self-perceived physical attractiveness influences their decision-making. The authors examine whether a boost in consumers' self-perceived attractiveness influences subsequent choices in domains unrelated to beauty. Across six studies, the authors find converging evidence that a boost in consumers' self-perceived attractiveness enhances their general self-confidence and reduces preference uncertainty, resulting in less reliance on the choice context and thus fewer choices of compromise, all-average, and default options. Our findings further show that consumers use self-confidence as metacognitive information for inferring preference uncertainty in subsequent decisions. This process is a misattribution that can be attenuated when consumers attribute their self-confidence to the self-perceived attractiveness. The article concludes with a discussion of theoretical and managerial implications.