ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (3): 511-522.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.00511

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The attitude–behavior gap of ethical consumers: From the perspective of construal level

WANG Caiyu1; LEI Li2; WU Bo3   

  1. (1 Department of Psychology, Xinyang Normal University, Xinyang 464000, China) (2 Department of Psychology, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China) (3 Business School, Tianjin University of Finance & Economics, Tianjin 300222, China)
  • Received:2016-05-03 Online:2017-03-15 Published:2017-03-15
  • Contact: LEI Li, E-mail:; WANG Caiyu, E-mail:


Ethical consumption refers to that consumers should consider the impact of their consumption choices upon the environment, animals and society in the acquisition, use or disposal of products. Despite embracing the values of ethical consumerism, most consumers rarely support their beliefs at the check-out counter, which is considered to be the attitude–behavior gap. This study shed light on the attitude–behavior gap of ethical consumers from the perspective of construal level. From the temporal dimension, ethical consumer is in high construal level when evaluating ethical products, since he or she is far from ethical products in psychological distance, but in purchasing stage, ethical consumer is near from ethical products, so he or she is in low construal level. There are many differences in motivation and cognition under different construal levels, which lead to the attitude–behavior gap. Future research needs to focus on how to transfer this kind of support into truly positive purchasing behavior.

Key words: ethical consumption, attitude-behavior gap, construal level