“Activation of an Ideal Self Makes Successful Performance Contagious” by TaeWoo Kim, Adam Duhachek and Kelly B. Herd

“Activation of an Ideal Self Makes Successful Performance Contagious” by TaeWoo Kim, Adam Duhachek and Kelly B. Herd

Contagion beliefs refer to the perception that another individual’s traits can be transferred to the self through direct physical contact with that individual or via a contagious object. Whereas previous contagion research examines contagion effects as a function of the contagion source, we propose that recipient factors may also drive contagion effects. In this view, the same contagion source can produce either positive or negative contagion effects depending upon consumer recipients’ goals. We demonstrate that activation of a goal is a key factor driving contagion effects, leading to a more positive evaluation of a contagion object (Study 1) and enhanced performance in a task related to one’s goal (Study 2), but only when the object was physically touched by a goal-congruent contagion source (Study 3). We find that contagion effects are amplified when consumers are further from their goals (Study 4) and that these effects are attenuated when consumers are in an entity (vs. incremental) implicit theory mindset (Study 5). The implications of these findings for contagion and goal theories are discussed.

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