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Bonnie Simpson, Lea Dunn and Katherine White

This chapter examines the mirror image of the identity association principle: dissociation. While the association principle posits that stimuli associated with a positively regarded identity receive more positive evaluations, the dissociation principle suggests that stimuli associated with negatively regarded identities will receive negative evaluations and be abandoned. The authors focus on the nature of dissociative reference groups or groups that the consumer is motivated to avoid association with, and present a framework outlining how dissociative influence can impact consumer behavior. They review the literature on dissociative influence and note that although dissociative reference groups often spur avoidance behaviors, they can sometimes induce approach behaviors. They then turn to a discussion of how dissociative associations can lead to polarizing reactions in real-world domains, such as politics. Finally, they draw on their theorizing to outline some suggested directions for future research in this regard.