Predicting Personality through Possessions


This assignment will attempt to predict consumer behavior based on our impressions of another person. Individuals engage in “performances” in order to present to others a consistent set of impressions or social identity. The possessions that surround individuals such as clothing are an important component of these fronts or performances. Many studies show that individuals can make correct inferences about the personal characteristics of others based on their possessions. In this homework assignment, we are adding a bit of a twist. Can you predict someones consumer behavior purchases correctly by your impression of them? Does your impression of them also include some assumptions of self-discrepancies they might be dealing with through their purchases? ( for example, does the purchase compensate for a real or perceived discrepancy in the person’s self concept? ie, social nerd, gets hot car to gain popularity) Directions: To write this paper you will need to complete 3 steps. 1. Find a person who is willing to participate in this exercise that you do not know very well. 2. Part 1: Write up an impression and prediction of product brands and consumer preferences this person has as far as daily living and possessions. DO NOT DO THE OBVIOUS ONES YOU CAN OBSERVE , For instance if they are wearing Nike then you need to go further and predict other products and brands you DONT SEE. (For example, where do they shop for food? What type of food and food brands? Where do they eat out and what do they order? What kind of personal grooming products do they use? What products support their lifestyle? What is the object of transportation and type of living situation? What are other areas of product purchase and use? Be specific with brand names as much as you can, ie Vons, Nissan, Chipotle.) Go a step further now and explain any purchases that might be driven by a deficit in the person’s self concept—this will be a little more challenging and thought provoking. 3. Part 2: After you have put together your prediction of their consumer profile of products/product brands they consume and deeper reasons why they might purchase them, interview the volunteer and ask what their actual consumer behaviors and product brand preferences/situations are. (You do not need to ask them what psychological self-discrepancies they might be dealing with by purchasing these items, these are your own private predictions and it may be insensitive to ask or share…). Report on the information and interaction. 4. Part 3: Explore your correct and incorrect predictions of their consumer behavior. Discuss why you were successful and unsuccessful in your exercise. Add some enlightening lessons you learned. Format: Approximately 2 to 2.5 pages single space, Essay style, divide into a paragraphs and a few headers. Upload digital file to Canvas here in Microsoft word format (Mac users remember to add/export the correct extension “.doc”. ) if you have problems uploading in this format, you can use pdf as a backup but it is not preferred.

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