Investigating the Role of Personality in (Sport) Consumer Behavior

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Mahan III, Joseph Edward
McDaniel, Stephen R
This dissertation is presented as three empirical investigations examining the state of personality research in consumer behavior (CB). Each study supports the notion that the use of established personality theory can serve to better inform CB research (e.g., Baumgartner, 2002). Study one builds upon previous research in evaluating and comparing the validity and reliability of the Impulsive Sensation Seeking (ImpSS) scale with the more established Sensation Seeking Scale, Form V (SSS-V) and a third measure of Optimum Stimulation Level (OSL) in both homogenous and heterogeneous samples. Findings suggest ImpSS to be a valid and reliable alternative to SSS-V. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) results point to concurrent validity of ImpSS and SSS-V. In addition, the predictive validity of ImpSS compares favorably to both SSS-V and CSI in the context of high-risk behavioral correlates (i.e., gambling, smoking, and drinking). Consumer use of imagery to process advertising messages has received much attention in the literature (e.g., Thompson and Hamilton 2006) yet little is known about its underlying structure. Study two adopts a hierarchical personality approach (cf. Mowen and Spears 1999) in examining the influence of certain traits on an individual's processing style. Results suggest that variance in preferences for a visual processing style may be explained by interplay among some higher-order personality traits (i.e., Openness to Experience and fantasy-proneness) but not others (i.e., ImpSS). The findings of study two also provide a platform for the third investigation by demonstrating that a theoretically-grounded personality trait (i.e., fantasy proneness) appears to play a role in mode of processing. The third study examines the role of personality in the imagery processing of sport marketing stimuli. Specifically, this investigation explores the effects of fantasy proneness on processing and response to print ads containing varying levels of sport-related imagery. While the research hypotheses are not supported, this study follows existing imagery-processing literature (e.g., Petrova & Cialdini, 2005) in that manipulation of imagery-eliciting ad elements (i.e., ad copy) can lead to increased processing and more favorable ad response. Results of post hoc regression analyses also imply that fantasy proneness may, in fact, play a small role in consumer processing.