Consumption cues (e.g., brands, money, and advertisements) can have powerful effects on cognition, perception, and behavior, yet how people regulate responses to such cues is not well understood. This is surprising given that consumption cues are increasingly present in nontraditional consumer contexts, such as healthcare, education, and politics. This research develops a measure of two types of consumer regulation strategies, cue‐based and budget‐based (studies 1–4), and demonstrates that these strategies influence how people respond to consumption cues in a political context (study 5). Specifically, in a study involving the 2012 American Presidential Election, priming survey participants as consumers (versus citizens) influenced both voting intentions and self‐reported voting behavior, and the newly developed consumer regulation scale was instrumental in detecting this effect. These findings suggest there may be merit in the escalating debate and concern over referring to voters as consumers.
Whelan, J., Goode, M. R., Cotte, J., & Thompson, M. (2016). Consumer Regulation Strategies: Attenuating the Effect of Consumer References in a Voting Context. Psychology & Marketing, 33(11), 899-916. https://doi.org/10.1002/mar.20927