You designed that yourself for me? Vicarious pride in customized gift exchange

Marta Pizzetti, Diletta Acuti, Isabella Soscia, Michael Gibbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In four studies, we found that receiving a customized gift leads recipients to appreciate the gift more highly because of vicarious feelings of pride. This vicarious pride is the same feeling that the customizer experiences after having self-customized a product. In the first two experiments with real-life pairs of friends, vicarious pride was documented among recipients of customized gifts. The findings show that the relationship between customization and gift appreciation is mediated by vicarious pride. Study 3 and Study 4 replicate the results of the first series of experiments, and reveal the role of vicarious pride in enhancing state self-esteem and, in turn, gift appreciation. Study 4 also tests the effect of a relational variable (i.e., relationship anxiety) on this relationship. Specifically, relationship anxiety affects vicarious pride, and then consequently state self-esteem and gift appreciation, which are only enhanced by customization when the relationship is not anxious. As a practical implication, this research emphasizes the importance of communicating gift customization to gift recipients to enhance their gift experience and appreciation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology and Marketing
Early online date27 May 2024
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2024


  • customization
  • gift
  • pride
  • state self-esteem
  • vicarious experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing

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