We’ve written about the popularity of counterfeit products but we hadn’t given much thought to the consumers that buy them until coming across a study that showed that the people who buy knockoffs are actually more likely to display deceptive behavior.
The study, “The Counterfeit Self: The Deceptive Costs of Faking It,” asked 276 women to try on a new pair of sunglasses—some were told they were designer knockoffs, others were told they were the real thing. The women who thought they were wearing counterfeit products misrepresented their answers more across the tasks presented in the study. They were also more likely to say they believed that people they knew would behave unethically and they tended to rate themselves as feeling “out of touch with the real me.”
While you may be able to fool others when you’re wearing those counterfeit designer sunglasses, can you fool yourself when you’re wearing a fake brand? The study’s authors sum it up best: “We suggested at the outset that people adopt counterfeit products because they are trying to improve their self-image; our studies show that counterfeits have the ironic consequence of harming self-image via inauthenticity, inducing a counterfeit self.”
What do you think?