Does the devil wear Prada? Luxury product experiences can affect prosocial behavior

Yajin Wang, Deborah Roedder John, Vladas Griskevicious

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Despite the explosive growth of luxury consumption, researchers have yet to examine how the experience of using luxury products affects us both psychologically and behaviorally. In this research, we explore how the experience of using a luxury product can alter a user's perceptions of themselves and their behavior toward other people. We gave women either a luxury product (e.g., Prada handbag) or a non-luxury product (e.g., unbranded handbag) to use, and afterwards, we presented women with opportunities to exhibit either selfish or generous behaviors toward others. We found that, after using a luxury product, women exhibited more selfish behavior, such as sharing fewer resources with others and contributing less money to charity than women who used a non-luxury handbag. We also found this pattern can be reversed, with luxury users exhibiting more generous behavior when the generous behavior can be performed in front of other people. Further, we show that these patterns of selfish and generous behaviors are mediated by changes in perceived status and superiority that are triggered when women experience using a luxury product.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-119
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Research in Marketing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020


  • Consumer experience
  • Luxury
  • Prosocial behavior


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