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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Color Me Morally: White and Black Products Influence Prosocial Behaviors

Published: May 28, 2019


Jing Wan, University of Groningen; Eugene Chan, Monash University


Color; Prosocial; Regulation


There are “moral meanings” attached to objects in white and black colors, such that consumers likely see buying a product in white color to be buying a “moral” product and buying a product in black color to be buying a “less moral” product. Per moral regulation theory, those who buy white-colored products should then be less prosocial as they feel licensed to behave less morally afterwards, whereas those who buy black-colored products should be more prosocial as they feel a need to compensate for their initial transgression. Results from two studies are consistent with our theorizing. We thus suggest that product colors do not only satisfy the diversity of consumer tastes, but can affect consumers’ behaviors in a way relevant not only to their well-being but also society’s.