Magazine article USA TODAY

Who Likes Bling? Those Seeking Social Status

Magazine article USA TODAY

Who Likes Bling? Those Seeking Social Status

Article excerpt

A desire for expensive, high-status goods is related to feelings of social status, which helps explain why minorities are so attracted to bling, suggests a study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. Previous research has shown that racial minorities spend a larger portion of their incomes than do whites on conspicuous consumption--buying products that suggest high status--but this study shows that whites can be induced to crave expensive, high status products if they imagine themselves in a low-status position.

These findings cast doubt on the notion that urban minorities have developed a corrosive bling culture that is unique to them, indicates psychologist Philip Mazzocco, lead author of the study. "Minorities don't buy high-status products because of some bling culture. It is a basic psychological tendency that we all share when we're feeling inferior in some part of our life.

"Anyone who is feeling low in status is going to try to compensate and, in our capitalistic, consumption-oriented society, one way to compensate is to buy high-status products. …

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