Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Counterfeit Self: The Deceptive Costs of Faking It

Although people buy counterfeit products to signal positive traits, research shows that wearing counterfeit products makes individuals feel less authentic and increases their likelihood of both behaving dishonestly and judging others as unethical. In four experiments, participants wore purportedly fake or authentically branded sunglasses. Those wearing fake sunglasses cheated more across multiple tasks than did participants wearing authentic sunglasses, both when they believed they had a preference for counterfeits and when they were randomly assigned to wear them. Another experiment shows that the effects of wearing counterfeit sunglasses extend beyond the self, influencing judgments of other people’s unethical behavior. It was also demonstrated that the feelings of inauthenticity that wearing fake products engenders—what we term the counterfeit selfmediate the impact of counterfeits on unethical behavior. Finally, we show that people do not predict the impact of counterfeits on ethicality; thus, the costs of counterfeits are deceptive.

Read the full research here.o