By Ana Javornik, Ben Marder, Marta Pizzetti, & Luk Warlop


Augmented Reality (AR) has enabled companies to offer highly personalized, interactive experiences, making it possible to engage with customers on a whole new level. But while filters that digitally alter people’s appearances can add a lot of value, they also come at a cost: New research suggests that AR apps designed to let customers virtually try on makeup or other products can have a significant, negative impact on psychological wellbeing. Moreover, that impact can vary widely depending on the customer. While people with lower baseline levels of self-esteem may feel better about themselves after using an AR filter, those with higher pre-existing self-esteem are more likely to feel worse about themselves after using AR. In light of these findings, the authors offer five strategies to help firms responsibly deploy AR technologies, including avoiding promoting unrealistic beauty standards, proactively educating customers about the potential harms of using AR, and working with regulators and industry leaders to develop a code of ethics to guide development going forward.


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