Language and Consumer Dishonesty : A Self-Diagnosticity Theory

Gai, Phyliss Jia and Puntoni, Stefano (2021) Language and Consumer Dishonesty : A Self-Diagnosticity Theory. Journal of Consumer Research, 48 (2). ISSN 0093-5301

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How does foreign language influence consumer dishonesty? We propose a self-diagnosticity theory arguing that compared to one’s native language, using a foreign language makes lying appear less self-diagnostic, thereby increasing or decreasing lying depending on which aspect of the self is salient. In situations where lying reflects an undesirable, dishonest self, using a foreign language increases lying. In contrast, in situations where lying primarily reflects a desirable (e.g., competent or compassionate) self, using a foreign language decreases lying. Ten studies, spanning various languages, consumer contexts, and experimental paradigms, support the theory. The studies establish that the effect of language on lying jointly depends on the self-diagnosticity of lying and on whether lying is diagnostic of a positive or a negative aspect of the self. The findings highlight self-diagnosticity as a valuable lens to understand the behavior of bilingual consumers and offer practical guidance for addressing dishonesty in the marketplace.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Consumer Research
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? languageself-signalingdishonestyunethical decision-makingself-diagnosticityeconomics and econometricsbusiness and international managementmarketing ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
23 Aug 2021 15:10
Last Modified:
20 Jul 2024 00:46