Year of Graduation
Cynicism and Conspicuous Consumption: The Mediating Effect of Loneliness
Applied Social Psychology
This paper explores the relationship between cynicism and conspicuous consumption through the mediation effect of loneliness. The main idea is that cynical people are lonelier than less cynical individuals. To compensate for the lack of relationships they find substitutes in material possessions. Two studies were conducted in order to test this assumption. The first correlational study yielded established significant associations between cynicism, loneliness, materialism, and conspicuous consumption. The second study was an experiment in which participants were primed with two conditions – high-level cynicism and low-level cynicism. Current state of loneliness and luxury vs. casual brand preference were measured afterwards. The results of the second study showed significant indirect effect of loneliness on relative brand preference, stating that lonely people indeed prefer luxury brands more often than people who do not feel lonely.