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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

Desirability­-driven Effects of Reasoning Focus Narrowing on Motivated Moral Reasoning in regard of Unsustainable Consumption Options

Published: May 25, 2021


Sven Kilian, University of Kassel


The present research deepens recent findings on the tendency of consumers’ to morally disengage from information about negative socio-ecological attributes of potential consumption options when these options are otherwise perceived as desirable. We conducted an experiment supporting the notion of a desirability-driven blending out of arguments contradicting potential justifications, termed as “narrowing of the reasoning focus”, as the underlying mechanism of such motivated moral reasoning processes. Specifically, for participants where a narrowing of the reasoning focus was not being thwarted, we found a desirability-driven alleviation of moral judgements and moral feelings, resulting in more favourable behavioural intentions (e.g., purchase intentions, word-of-mouth intentions) towards a consumption option with poor socio-ecological performance. These finding have important implications for academics and marketers concerned with understanding and promoting sustainable consumption.