Research on discrepancies between the actual self and ideal self has examined self-discrepancies in knowledge, skills and stature but age-based self-discrepancies have only recently received attention and so we studied this phenomenon in young adolescents. In three studies we identified a product-category contextual cue that apparently caused adolescents to respond to an existing age-based self-discrepancy. Specifically we found that when the contextual cue was advertising for an age-restricted product, adolescents conformed to dissimilar young adult advertising models and diverged from similar adolescent models. This indicated that the contextual cue caused them to respond to an age-based self-discrepancy and use a product associated with the ideal self rather than the actual self. Importantly, this response was stronger among adolescents that were more dissatisfied with their age. With advertising for an age-unrestricted product, adolescents conformed to adolescent advertising models and diverged from young adult models. Industry policies for age-restricted products assume that similarity drives influence and therefore mandate that advertising models be young adults rather than adolescents. Our findings suggest this assumption is invalid for age-restricted products.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Consumer Psychology|
|State||Published - 1 Jul 2015|
- Child consumers
- Ideal self
- Public policy
- Social influence