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Surprising Science

Brand Names Boost the Ego

Pay attention, marketers. If any study validates what you do, this one does. Researchers found that using a generic (vs. brand name) product undermines self-esteem.

In one experiment, university students were asked to type out a resume, ostensibly for a recruiting event. Students used an Apple iMac to type their resumes and were told that the keyboard and mouse were new. Some students, though, were told that the keyboard and mouse were generic parts—to save money. The students who used the generic keyboard reported expecting a lower salary. A similar effect was found in an experiment on single men. The men were presented with a set of dating profiles for women, one of whom the men could choose to call.


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