Journal of Undergraduate Research


anthropomorphized products, social behavior, relationships, social connectedness


Marriott School of Management




This project was designed to investigate the effects of exposure to anthropomorphized products on the way that consumers treat other people. Researchers have shown that people starved of social connectedness will sometimes seek relationships with products or brands as a way of relieving social insecurity and the fear of death (Rindfleisch, Burroughs & Wong, 2009). Additional research has shown that people whose needs for social interaction have been satisfied are more likely to dehumanize distant others (Waytz & Epley, 2012). We thus reasoned that anthropomorphism of brands and products, while efficacious for improving the consumer’s sense of social connectedness, might have an unintended side-effect of enabling consumers to dehumanize others. Our hypothesis was that consumers presented advertisements depicting anthropomorphized products would score higher on measures of dehumanization relative to those presented with advertisements of non-anthropomorphized products.

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