Five studies examined the stigmatization of materialism. Participants expressed negative stereotypes of materialistic people, considering them to be more selfish and self-centered than experiential people (Study 1). Participants also viewed materialistic pursuits as more extrinsically motivated than experiential pursuits (Study 2). These stereotypes led respondents from varied demographic backgrounds to form less favorable impressions of individuals who were associated with prototypically materialistic versus experiential purchases, a result that was statistically mediated by impressions that materialistic purchases were more extrinsically motivated (Study 3). These differential impressions are primarily attributable to the denigration of materialistic people rather than the admiration of experiential people (Study 4). The stigmatization of materialism led participants to like less and enjoy interacting less with their conversation partners when discussing materialistic rather than experiential purchases (Study 5). The authors discuss these findings’ implications for self-perception, accurate social perception, and well-being.
Van Boven, L., Campbell, M. C., &Gilovich, T. (2010). Stigmatizing materialism: On stereotypes and impressions of materialistic and experiential pursuits. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36(4), 551-563.