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The impact of mortality salience effects on consumer behaviour


The impact of mortality salience effects on consumer behaviour

Davidson, Alexander (2010) The impact of mortality salience effects on consumer behaviour. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Terror management theory (TMT) has proven that reminders of death intensify efforts to engage in culturally prescribed behaviour. Individuals tend to exhibit cultural worldview defences when mortality is made salient and it has been demonstrated that heightened self-esteem will reduce existential anxiety. In connection with consumer behaviour, death-related thoughts have been found to increase consumption, enhance support for charitable donations and stimulate preferences for luxury products among many other things. This study demonstrates that mortality salience (MS) manipulations influence subconscious reactions to different consumer behaviours. In particular, MS leads to decreased importance for prestigious items among high self-esteem individuals and causes age to have an inverse relationship with prestige importance. MS causes low as compared to high self-esteem individuals and younger as compared to older individuals to become more risk averse when confronted with risky purchase decisions. MS also leads to increased preferences for nutritional information on food products for females as compared to males. Surprisingly, MS does not lead to less favourable attitudes towards foreign products nor does it lead it to more favourable attitudes towards charitable organizations. As opposed to testing the effects of MS on consumer behaviour among American consumers, this study contributes to the terror management literature by revealing that MS impacts Canadian consumer behaviour outcomes. While past research has consisted of methodological similarities by conducting most MS experiments in a classroom of university students, this study primes subjects with death-related thoughts through an online survey questionnaire. The managerial implications of this study suggest that in times when MS is high among the Canadian population, risky products might become more profitable especially if they are known to already interact with individual levels of self-esteem. Similarly, marketing strategies for high status products should diverge away from older age groups as those consumers will most likely exhibit negative reactions to such items. The theoretical implications of this study contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the link between TMT and consumer behaviour and reflect evolutionary influences on consumer psychology.

Divisions:Concordia University > John Molson School of Business
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Davidson, Alexander
Pagination:x, 190 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M. Sc.
Program:John Molson School of Business
Thesis Supervisor(s):Laroche, M
Identification Number:LE 3 C66M37M 2010 D38
ID Code:979200
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:09 Dec 2014 17:55
Last Modified:13 Jul 2020 20:11
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