Princeton University Library Catalog
- Sawin, Alexandra [Browse]
- Senior thesis
- Cooper, Joel [Browse]
- Allen, Lesley [Browse]
- Princeton University. Department of Psychology [Browse]
- Class year:
- 70 pages
- Summary note:
- Optimum distinctiveness theory suggests that individuals desire an optimum level of similarity to
and distinctiveness from their peers, and they will make behavioral choices in attempt to achieve
this balance. One way individuals can distinguish themselves is by obtaining scarce products.
This study explores how conditions of scarcity, similarity, status, and privacy affect preference
for commodity advertisements. Two hundred and six Princeton University undergraduates were
given false feedback regarding how similar or unique they were to their peers. They then rated
preferences for seven pairs of advertisements. Each pair contained a scarce and a non-scarce
advertisement for the same product. The products advertised were either of high or low status.
For this portion of the experiment, participants were told either that their answers would be kept
private or made public to other participants. Major findings indicate an overall preference for
scarce over non-scarce advertisements, a preference for scarce advertisements in the private
condition, and a preference for high status over low status items in a non-scarce condition.
These results are important to the study of behavior and for advertisers because they provide
insight as to under what conditions and what types of people favor scarcity.