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School of Business and Management

Research Seminar Series: Damned Either Way: Judgments of Consumer Hypocrisy

When: Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Where: Online, Zoom

Speaker: Dr Jonathan Berman

Dr Jonathan Berman conducts research in judgment and decision-making and consumer behavior. His specific areas of research look at (a) consumer ethical decision-making and (b) personal financial decision-making.

I present evidence for a “Damned Either Way” effect in judgments of consumer hypocrisy. When consumers face trade-offs between violating a commitment to engage in consistent behavior versus failing to maximize an implicit or stated goal, they get condemned as hypocrites regardless of what they choose. Actors can avoid being "Damned Either Way" by providing a deontological argument for a certain behavior (i.e., it is inherently wrong to do X) or by making a conditional claim on a commitment (i.e., explicitly identifying ahead of time how their behavior would change under special circumstances). Finally, I show that observers make hypocrisy judgments in a motivated fashion, selectively condemning actors for displaying either commitment- or goal-based inconsistency in a self-serving fashion.

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