Research on gift giving has devoted considerable attention to understanding whether and how givers succeed in choosing gifts that match recipients' tastes. On the contrary, this article focuses on how recipients' appreciation for a gift depends on the match between the gift and the giver. Four studies demonstrate that recipients are particularly appreciative when they receive gifts that figuratively match the giver, i.e., that contain references to the giver's characteristics, because they perceive such gifts as more congruent with the giver's identity. This effect is not conditional on inferences recipients might make about the giver's motivations or on whether recipients have a good relationship with the giver, but relies on the match concerning core rather than peripheral characteristics of the giver. Importantly for our understanding of identity-based motivation, these findings demonstrate in a gift-giving context that identity-congruence not only drives consumer behavior, but is also appreciated in other people.

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ERIM Top-Core Articles
Journal of Consumer Psychology
Department of Marketing Management

Paolacci, G., Straeter, L., & de Hooge, I. (2015). Give me your self: Gifts are liked more when they match the giver's characteristics. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 25(3), 487–494. doi:10.1016/j.jcps.2015.01.006