Five studies examined whether the concern for self-other distinction is moderated by self-guide activation, with the predictions based on deviance regulation theory that distinctiveness striving is amplified by activation of ideal self-guides and diminished by activation of ought self-guides. In Study 1, trait differences in self-guides predicted trait differences in self-reported distinctiveness motives. In Studies 2–5, state activation of ought versus ideal self-guides led to shifts in participants' self-reported interest in distinctiveness (Study 2), identification with common versus uncommon social groups (Study 3), preferences for common versus rare consumer products (Study 4), and emotional reactions to distinctiveness versus similarity feedback (Study 5). These findings suggest that self-guide activation can complement known cultural, dispositional, and contextual influences on distinctiveness striving.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Deviance regulation theory
- Distinctiveness striving
- Regulatory focus theory
- Self-discrepancy theory