This chapter reviews a recent theoretical approach, the causal centrality approach, to the self-concept and to identity-based choice. This approach focuses on people’s beliefs about the cause_effect relationships that exist among features (including identities, but also individual-level characteristics such as memories, moral qualities, personality traits, and so on) of their self-concepts. This approach proposes that an identity is perceived as defining of the self-concept to the extent that it is seen causally central (linked to many other features of the self-concept). Further, this approach predicts that among consumers who share an identity, those who see it as causally central are more likely to engage in behaviors consistent with that aspect than those who believe that the same aspect is causally peripheral (linked to fewer other features). This chapter highlights how a deeper understanding of internal representations of the self can provide new insights on identity-based consumption.
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