Sunday, July 17, 2022

Almost everyone practices secret consumer behaviors at one time or another, consuming things/paying for services that they keep secret from those close to them; the guilt leads to greater relationship investment

Secret consumer behaviors in close relationships. Danielle J. Brick, Kelley Gullo Wight, Gavan J. Fitzsimons. Journal of Consumer Psychology, June 30 2022.

Abstract: Although close relationships are often characterized by openness and disclosure, in the present research, we propose that there are times when individuals choose not to tell close others about their consumer behavior, keeping it a secret. For example, one partner may eat a candy bar on the way home from work, hide a package that was delivered to the house, or hire a cleaning service and not tell the other partner. We theorize that this type of consumer behavior is both common and mundane. That is, the consumption itself is minor—and has likely been done with the partner's knowledge in the past—but is being intentionally kept from the partner. We further investigate whether such behavior has downstream effects on the relationship, despite its mundaneness. Five studies support our conceptualization of secret consumer behaviors in close relationships and illustrate one consequence: guilt from secret consumption leads to greater relationship investment. This research explores a common, yet understudied, area of consumer behavior and highlights areas for future research. Thus, we contribute to the literature by being the first work to examine emotional, behavioral, and relational aspects of secret consumer behavior.

General Discussion
People commonly keep consumption a secret from close others. It tends to be mundane consumer behavior, but due to the nature of secrecy (i.e., intentional nondisclosure), it can have consequences for the relationship. By investigating the nature of secret consumer behaviors in relationships and examining emotional, behavioral, and relational outcomes, this research contributes to the literatures on close relationships (e.g., Brick & Fitzsimons, 2017; Caprariello & Reis, 2011; Finkel et al., 2015; Wight et al., 2022), social influences (e.g., Argo, 2020; Dzhogleva & Lamberton, 2014; McFerran et al., 2010; Ordabayeva & Chandon, 2011; Wood & Hayes, 2012), and secrecy in consumption (e.g., He et al., 2021; Rodas & John, 2020). This research also opens the door for future research to examine many more questions regarding the antecedents, methods, and consequences of secret consumer behavior (SCB) in close relationships. In the present research, we were agnostic as to why people keep SCBs, but future research should investigate relational motivations of SCBs. For example, one reason why an individual could choose to keep a SCB from a close other is to avoid a fight (e.g., secretly buying a shirt to avoid fighting about spending money). Another reason could be to help their partner (e.g., secretly eating candy in order to help their partner stick to their diet). In the shirt example, the person is keeping the secret for prevention reasons, and, in the candy example, the person is keeping the secret for promotion reasons (e.g., Regulatory Focus Theory; Higgins, 1998). Similarly, while we find that most people engage in SCB in close relationships, future research could examine antecedents to the tendency to do so. For example, consumers with a high need for independence may be more likely to engage in SCB, since it could give a sense of autonomy within an otherwise interconnected relationship. Another possibility is that attachment styles within a given relationship (Bowlby, 1982) affect the propensity to engage in SCB within that relationship. Those with a secure attachment to their relationship may ironically be more likely to keep SCBs as they may feel more confident that it would not threaten the relationship. In line with prior relational work (e.g., Slepian et al. 2017), we focused on the intent to conceal and were agnostic about the way in which the secret was kept. However, there are multiple ways in which individuals may keep a secret (e.g., omission, avoidance, lying; Thomas & Jewell, 2019). Future research could explore whether there are differences in relational outcomes depending upon the method for keeping the secret (e.g., lying may make the same SCB seem more severe than if it were kept via omission). Relatedly, we focused on relatively mundane consumer behaviors, but it is possible that some SCBs are more severe. In such cases, their relational outcomes may reflect the negative outcomes of the more severe general secrets that are typically studied in social psychology. While we do not find evidence of this in the current research (all interactions with how big of a deal the SCB is on both guilt and relationship investment are non-significant, p’s > .18), future research seems warranted. 

Additionally, while we focus on the effects of keeping SCBs (as opposed to disclosure), future research on confession seems warranted. Prior work has shown that confessing selfcontrol failures can affect subsequent self-control (Lowe & Haws, 2019); might confessing SCBs increase feelings of visibility and therefore decrease future secrecy? Could it bring people closer together? This reasoning opens questions about the potential relational effects of confessing SCBs depending upon to whom the secret is confessed: targets or non-targets. Future research could also examine other relational outcomes of SCB, such as relationship satisfaction or interpersonal goal pursuit. Individuals must navigate both inter- and intra-partner goals within close relationships, and sometimes the goals may not be aligned. For example, perhaps Partner A has a goal to lose weight, while Partner B does not. Would it be better for their relationship satisfaction, and perhaps for Partner A’s goal pursuit, if Partner B consumes pizza in secret? Research on invisible support (Bolger et al., 2000) suggests that it might, but future research should explore these questions. Finally, future research could explore other consequences for the partner from whom the SCB is kept. In a dyadic study of romantic partners’ spending on and satisfaction with Valentine’s Day, we found secret consumption can have positive downstream outcomes for the partner. Specifically, we found that Partner A’s guilt from engaging in SCB was associated with greater spending on Valentine’s Day for Partner B, and this, in turn, increased Partner B’s satisfaction with how Valentine’s Day went (see MDA for more information on this study). This provides initial evidence that SCB could have positive downstream consequences for the partner, but future research should explore this finding in more detail. In conclusion, the current work identifies secret consumer behavior as a common, but understudied, phenomenon in close relationships and demonstrates consequences of this behavior. We hope the current work will inspire researchers to pursue additional questions in this exciting area

Two decades of infidelity research through an intersectional lens -- Complaints of the intersectionists for not being able to analyze the subjects with a lens that includes "systems of" heterosexism, cissexism, classism in the many studies that lack enough data

“I’ve been cheated, been mistreated, when will I be loved”: Two decades of infidelity research through an intersectional lens. Dana A Weiser et al. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, July 6, 2022.

Abstract: Infidelity is a common experience within romantic relationships and is closely linked with relationship dissolution and well-being. Using an intersectionality theoretical framework, we undertook a systematic review of the infidelity literature in flagship journals associated with the disciplines of the International Association for Relationship Research. Our review includes findings from 162 published empirical articles. We identified several themes within the infidelity literature, including: individual, interpersonal, and contextual predictors; outcomes and reactions; beliefs and attitudes; prevalence; and conceptualization. We also found that the infidelity literature primarily utilizes participants who are White, heterosexual, cisgender individuals who reside in the United States or Canada. Moreover, researchers were limited in information they provided about participants’ identities so in most articles it was difficult to assess many dimensions of identity. Ultimately, these findings limit our ability to apply an intersectional framework. We argue that researchers should extend the research they cite, collect richer demographic data, expand their samples (especially beyond White heterosexual cisgender American college students), and consider the sociohistorical context of their participants (e.g., the particular social circumstances and historical forces which shape individuals’ lived experiences). For example, scholars using an intersectional framework would explain their participants’ relationship experiences through a lens which includes systems of sexism, racism, heterosexism, cissexism, classism, etc., in conjunction with individual and interpersonal factors.

Keywords: Deception, infidelity, jealousy, sexuality

Recent evidence challenges long-standing views of male–female power relationships by showing that power ranges along a continuum from strictly male- to strictly female-dominated animal societies

The eco-evolutionary landscape of power relationships between males and females. Eve Davidian et al. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Volume 37, Issue 8, August 2022, Pages 706-718.


Inequality in the degree of control (or ‘power’) that members of one sex exert over members of the other sex is a pervasive characteristic of mammalian societies, including our own.

The study of the drivers of male–female power relationships has been impeded by methodological limitations and a lack of conceptual embedding in theories of sexual conflict, sexual selection and social evolution.

Recent evidence challenges long-standing views by showing that (i) power ranges along a continuum from strictly male- to strictly female-dominated animal societies and (ii) intersexual power relationships are not fixed attributes of species.

Here we break with dichotomist and static approaches to adopt a dynamic, theory-driven framework that provides a better understanding of the power struggles between the sexes, and how these relate to the social and mating system of a species.

Abstract: In animal societies, control over resources and reproduction is often biased towards one sex. Yet, the ecological and evolutionary underpinnings of male–female power asymmetries remain poorly understood. We outline a comprehensive framework to quantify and predict the dynamics of male–female power relationships within and across mammalian species. We show that male–female power relationships are more nuanced and flexible than previously acknowledged. We then propose that enhanced reproductive control over when and with whom to mate predicts social empowerment across ecological and evolutionary contexts. The framework explains distinct pathways to sex-biased power: coercion and male-biased dimorphism constitute a co-evolutionary highway to male power, whereas female power emerges through multiple physiological, morphological, behavioural, and socioecological pathways.

Keywords: intersexual power inequalitysexual conflictsocial dominancesexual size dimorphismreproductive controlsocial evolution

Belief in Luck and Precognition Around the World

Belief in Luck and Precognition Around the World. Emily A. Harris, Taciano L. Milfont, Matthew J. Hornsey. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, July 14, 2022.

Abstract: Although magical beliefs (such as belief in luck and precognition) are presumably universal, the extent to which such beliefs are embraced likely varies across cultures. We assessed the effect of culture on luck and precognition beliefs in two large-scale multinational studies (Study 1: k = 16, N = 17,664; Study 2: k = 25, N = 4,024). Over and above the effects of demographic factors, culture was a significant predictor of luck and precognition beliefs in both studies. Indeed, when culture was added to demographic models, the variance accounted for in luck and precognition beliefs approximately doubled. Belief in luck and precognition was highest in Latvia and Russia (Study 1) and South Asia (Study 2), and lowest in Protestant Europe (Studies 1 and 2). Thus, beyond the effects of age, gender, education, and religiosity, culture is a significant factor in explaining variance in people’s belief in luck and precognition. Follow-up analyses found a relatively consistent effect of socio-economic development, such that belief in luck and precognition were more prevalent in countries with lower scores on the Human Development Index. There was also some evidence that these beliefs were stronger in more collectivist cultures, but this effect was inconsistent. We discuss the possibility that there are culturally specific historical factors that contribute to relative openness to such beliefs in Russia, Latvia, and South Asia.

Keywords: magical beliefs, luck, precognition, cross-cultural, multi-national