Self-construal as a cultural factor moderates the effects of four self-congruity dimensions (i.e., actual, ideal, social, and ideal social self-congruity) on brand evaluation. The four self-congruity effects are induced by corresponding four types of self-expression motives: self-consistency, self-esteem, social-consistency, and social-approval motives. Self-construal influences the self-congruity effects by determining the strength of self-expression motives. Individualists with dominant independent self-construal have self-consistency and self-esteem motives more than social-consistency and social-approval motives. The reverse is true for collectivists with dominant interdependent self-construal.
Past research has mainly focused on the actual and ideal self-congruity effects because they have received stronger empirical support than the social and ideal social self-congruity effects. However, the findings of past research have been produced with samples from individualistic cultures. Present research shows that the social and ideal social self-congruity effects are stronger than the actual and ideal self-congruity effects for the samples in collectivistic cultures (Study 1 and 2). The underlying cause of the differences in the self-congruity effects is the difference in dominant self-construal across cultures (Study 3). Meanwhile, the cultural differences in the self-congruity effects disappear for inconspicuous products (i.e., privately consumed products) (Study 4). The directions for future research as well as the implications and limitations of present research are discussed.