Neglected women who are overlooked for promotion or forgotten by their friends tend to find solace by splurging out on expensive labels such as Armani and Versace.
Women who feel ignored apparently opt for expensive brands over high street options such as Topshop and H 'n' M to ensure that they are noticed.
AdvertisementThe U.S. researchers found that when an individual's need for 'control and a meaningful existence' is threatened, they tend to act in provocative and attention-seeking ways to reaffirm their sense of belonging in society.
And the flashier the outfit, the better, with women engaging in showy displays of consumption to get attention - and many falling into the trap of buying only branded clothes from well-known labels, the Daily Mail reported.
But the effect is relevant for those who feel ignored. On the other hand, those who feel rejected by society do not display any especial interest in designer labels, but do care more about helping others.
The researchers, from the universities of Houston-Clear Lake and Texas, conducted four experiments to find out what happens when consumers experience social exclusion and if it influences their spending habits.
One group of participants was instructed to remember their own real-life experiences of social rejection. Another was made to feel ignored or overlooked in exchanges simulated by the researchers.
Then, the participants took separate surveys designed to gauge behavioural intentions and actual behaviour.
The study revealed that those who felt they were being ignored displayed a preference for flashier clothing with obvious brand logos.
And being ignored did not make them more considerate or keener to volunteer or donate money.
However, the participants who felt rejected had no interest in branded clothing, but did show a rise in pro-social, charitable behaviour.
"Being ignored increased preferences for clothing with conspicuous brand logos, but it had no effect on pro-social behaviour," Professor Jaehoon Lee and Professor L Shrum, said.
"In contrast, being rejected increased pro-social behaviour, but had no effect for clothing with conspicuous brand logos.
'We propose that when relational needs, such as self-esteem and belonging, are primarily threatened, people attempt to fortify those needs by feeling, thinking, and behaving in a pro-social, affiliative manner, because pro-social acts such as helping others increase interpersonal attractiveness and help reconnect with society," they added.
The study has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
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