The effect of implicit theories of human beauty and perceived pressure on cosmetic consumption

Natalie T. Faust, Ying yi Hong, Neil Gains, George I. Christopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The use of cosmetics is ubiquitous, signaling the importance of aesthetics for humans. Yet, little is known on drivers of cosmetic consumption. In a set of multiple surveys among over 5,000 women across seven countries in three continents (Study 1), we consistently show that heightened perceived pressure to change appearance is associated with higher cosmetic consumption. Further, perceived pressure (and subsequently cosmetic consumption) is influenced by implicit theories of human beauty, such that holding an entity beauty belief—that is, beauty beauty is fixed and unalterable—counterintuitively is associated with heightened perceived pressure to change appearance, which in turn is associated with higher cosmetic consumption. This pattern of results remains in Study 2 where an entity (vs. incremental) beauty belief was experimentally induced. Study 3 further shows that an entity (vs. incremental) beauty belief leads to higher intention to consume cosmetic products but only in a social, not a private, context. Our studies thus provide evidence that beauty-related consumption phenomena could be directly influenced by perception and indirectly influenced by deep-seated, almost philosophical, implicit theories

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Beauty
  • Implicit theories
  • Perceived pressure
  • Social judgments

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