‘Jesus, take the wheel’: the appeal of spiritual products in satiating concerns about randomness


Journal Article

© 2018, © 2018 Westburn Publishers Ltd. Why are consumers drawn to spiritual products? Leveraging theorising regarding the psychological need to perceive the world as orderly and non-random, we posit that products imbued with religious/spiritual significance help manage concerns about randomness and uncontrollability (e.g. when a product is unreliable or exposes the consumer to random uncontrollable processes). When randomness concerns were salient, religious consumers showed increased desire to attach religious significance to secular objects (e.g. having item blessed, physically attaching a religious symbol). For spiritual consumers, spiritual products (vs. non-spiritual physically equivalent products) were seen as having (i) non-material efficacy (i.e. efficacy not bound to the purely material world) and (ii) unfalsifiable efficacy (i.e. efficacy that is immune to contrary evidence). Evidence is found across a variety of religious and spiritual contexts.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Shepherd, S; Kay, AC

Published Date

  • March 24, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 35 / 5-6

Start / End Page

  • 467 - 490

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1472-1376

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0267-257X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/0267257X.2018.1556225

Citation Source

  • Scopus