Augmented self - The effects of virtual face augmentation on consumers' self-concept
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Business Research. 2021, 130 170-187. 10.1016/j.jbusres.2021.03.026
Augmented reality mirrors are popular marketing tools that allow virtual try-on of products, such as makeup. We study how such sensory experiences affect consumer perception of the self, specifically the gap between actual and ideal attractiveness, and we conceptualise this change as augmented self. Over three lab experiments we show that viewing oneself in an AR mirror (as opposed to the regular mirror) affects the ideal-actual attractiveness gap and that this effect differs depending on a consumer’s self-esteem. Furthermore, we uncover that ideal self-congruence mediates this process. We also demonstrate that augmentation significantly changes variety-seeking. An additional survey-based study shows downstream effects of ideal self-congruence and ideal-actual gap on product choice and psychological well-being. While commercial immersive technologies are deployed to generate responses related to brands and products, this study demonstrates that the effects extend to consumers’ self-concept. We offer implications for academics and practitioners in marketing and human–computer interaction.