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Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4690-4454

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Management

Year Degree Awarded

2019

Month Degree Awarded

May

First Advisor

Elizabeth G. Miller

Subject Categories

Marketing

Abstract

Emotions are a driving force in much of consumer behavior. Yet the breadth of emotions and their effects on consumption are only beginning to be discovered. One emotion, which has been understudied within consumer behavior, but has properties that suggest it could play an important role in improving consumer well-being, is awe. In this dissertation, I explore effects of awe on consumers’ materialist values, morality and lying behavior, and pro-environmental behavior.

Essay 1 examines the role of awe in consumers’ materialist values and their product choices. Findings from three experiments support that awe decreases consumers’ materialist values and leads to an increased desire for experiential goods over material ones. My analysis also suggests that feeling of small self (diminished self) mediates the relationship between awe and consumers’ product choices.

Essay 2 examines the role of awe in consumers’ morality and lying behavior. Results from four studies reveal that awe plays an important role in making consumers’ moral identity accessible, encouraging consumers’ desire to engage in moral behavior through small self and triggered moral identity, and may lead to an increased propensity to engage in prosocial lying.

Essay 3 explores the role of awe in consumers’ pro-environmental behavior. Results from three studies suggest that consumers that feel awe are more likely to have higher pro-environmental attitudes and increased willingness to engage in pro-environmental behavior. Additionally, in Study 3, I investigate the effects of different sources of awe which shows that the induction of awe of nature and awe of God led consumers to engage in pro-environmental behavior but not the induction of awe from man-made wonders.

In doing so, this dissertation extends the awe literature in consumer research. In addition, this dissertation contributes to the literature on materialistic consumption by introducing a novel emotion, awe, that reduces consumers’ materialist values. This dissertation also contributes to morality and lying behavior research by showing the effect of a unique emotion in triggering consumers’ morality. Lastly, this dissertation contributes to pro-environmental behavior literature by presenting the positive role of awe in increasing consumers’ pro-environmental attitudes and behavior. Implications for practice are also discussed.

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