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The Effects of Parasite Stress Levels on Conspicuous Consumption and Neophobia


The Effects of Parasite Stress Levels on Conspicuous Consumption and Neophobia

Trapid, Adam (2021) The Effects of Parasite Stress Levels on Conspicuous Consumption and Neophobia. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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In addition to the classical human immune system, aspects of human behaviour act as a form of behavioural immune response. When faced with a higher perceived likelihood of contracting parasitic/infectious disease, humans respond with behavioural changes which are adaptations that allow for stronger fitness, a measure of the likelihood of one’s genes being carried on to the following generation. The increased fitness can be achieved through a stronger likelihood of survival, having more offspring, or a combination of the two. The behavioural changes tested were conspicuous consumption and neophobia, both of which have implications on consumer behaviour. Examples of conspicuous consumption include men’s purchase of visible brands that display wealth and/or social status, and women’s consumption of products or services related to beauty. Neophobia is the fear of new things, whether it be social interactions or the purchase or adoption of new products. Together, conspicuous consumption and neophobia map onto the reproductive and survival Darwinian modules. The current research tested changes in behaviour based on perceived vulnerability to parasites. This was achieved by conducting a cross-cultural survey and an experiment using visual cues to illicit a change in perceived vulnerability. This study provided evidence that perceived vulnerability to parasites can cause increased levels of conspicuous consumption, general neophobia and, to a smaller effect, food neophobia. The changes in behaviours demonstrated in response to a perceived vulnerability to infectious disease may have an effect on types of consumer behaviours such as purchasing decisions with regards to brands and status as well as new product adoption.

Divisions:Concordia University > John Molson School of Business > Marketing
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Trapid, Adam
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M. Sc.
Date:8 December 2021
Thesis Supervisor(s):Saad, Gad
Keywords:Parasite stress theory, evolutionary psychology, consumption
ID Code:990216
Deposited By: ADAM TRAPID
Deposited On:16 Jun 2022 15:18
Last Modified:16 Jun 2022 15:18


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