Blick in das LC Gebäude

First MRSS Research Talk this semester by L. J. Shrum

18. April 2024

Keeping Up with the Joneses? Not So Much for Consumers Who Move Around a Lot

Our most recent guest, Professor L. J. Shrum started off this semester’s research seminar series. Known for his research in the domains of self-identity, culture, and materialism, Shrum presented his latest, related project that investigates how residential mobility affects consumption behavior.

More specifically, Shrum’s research talk outlined how residential mobility, which is the extent to which individuals change their residences, influences their “keeping-up behavior”, which is mainly characterized by consumption to keep up with their social network and maintaining status within it. This effect is shown across five studies using individual and societal-level data and is mediated by social comparison tendencies.

The unique contribution of his research is identifying residential mobility as a new situational factor, and combining it with established theories of social comparison, which stimulated constructive and fruitful post-presentation discourse.

The PhD seminar following the research talk was an opportunity for us to discuss the replication crisis. PhDs were asked to critically reflect upon the replication of behavioral priming studies and came to the conclusion that a failure to replicate does not always directly point toward unreliable methods. It is better to try and understand what caused the variance between results and identify the underlying mechanism.

We want to thank L. J. Shrum for sharing his time, insights, and ideas with us which resulted in interesting and fruitful discussions about the future of our field.

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