ScienceShot: Like Daughter, Like Mother

Moms, your daughters don't want to be like you when they grow up—or at least, they don't want to dress like you. It's the other way around, according to a forthcoming study in the Journal of Consumer Behaviour. Researchers polled 343 mother-daughter pairs (average ages 44 and 16, respectively) and found that mothers intentionally mimic their daughters' style—an effect the authors call the "consumer's doppelganger effect." Subjects were asked about their perceived age, fashion consciousness, expertise in clothing and cosmetics, and the extent to which their mothers or daughters influenced their fashion tastes. If a mother thought her daughter was a style expert and perceived herself as youthful, she had a 25% chance, on average, of copying her daughter's clothes and cosmetics. Daughters, on the other hand, even if they felt older than their actual age and thought that their mothers were stylish, only had a 9% chance, on average, of mimicking them. While it has long been known that children influence their parents' consumptive behavior when it comes to products the family consumes as a whole, such as cars or food, this is the first study to show that children can influence their parents' purchase of goods they consume for themselves, suggesting that children's influence on their parents is much more profound than previously thought.

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Posted in Brain & Behavior