Does Endowing a Product with Life Make One Feel More Alive? The Effect of Product Anthropomorphism on Consumer Vitality

Fangyuan Chen, Jaideep Sengupta, Rashmi Adaval

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


While most research in the area of product anthropomorphism examines how making products more humanlike can influence subsequent consumer reactions to those products, the present research examines how the act of anthropomorphizing products can influence consumers themselves. We propose that when consumers have an insufficient sense of either connectedness or competence, anthropomorphizing a product satisfies these deficiencies and increases vitality. Furthermore, this enhanced vitality has positive implications for individuals’ capacity to exert self-control in unrelated domains. A set of three studies provides support for these hypotheses. By demonstrating the positive effect of anthropomorphism on consumer vitality and self-control, this research illuminates the nature of anthropomorphism. In doing so, we also connect two streams of literature: one on anthropomorphism and the other on vitality, which share an inherent connection that has not been explicated by past research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-513
JournalJournal of the Association for Consumer Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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