Dissertation Proposal Award 2014

Every year, SCP organises a Dissertation Proposal Competition for doctoral students. The proposals need to relate to a topic in the consumer psychology area and be in the proposal stage at the time of submission which means no final data can have been collected and the work may not have been submitted for journal publication by the submission date.

This year the competition received a record number of entries which were all double-blind reviewed on innovativeness, potential contribution to consumer psychology, grounding in literature, design of the research as well as argument and rhetorical quality. Based on the summed rankings, the top 5 proposals moved on to a second round of double-blind reviews by new reviewers and the final winner was based on these reviews.

Alixandra BaraschThis year’s winner is Alixandra Barasch from Wharton with her dissertation proposal titled “How Photo-Taking Goals Impact Enjoyment of Experience,” with Deborah Small and Gal Zauberman as her co-advisors. Alixandra said: “Participating in the competition challenged me to take a hard look at the fundamental objectives and methodology of my proposal. This in-depth examination, along with the insightful feedback from the reviewers, ended up adding great value to my work. It’s an honor to be selected as the winner, and I am extremely grateful to SCP and the committee for this invaluable opportunity!”

Winning dissertation abstract:

Though we take more photos than ever before, little is understood about how different motivations for doing so affect consumers’ experiences. For instance, millions of people share photos of their personal experiences with others every day. In contrast with other ways of sharing information about an experience, sharing photos entails taking them during the experience, often with the intention to share them already in mind. How might these intentions affect the experience itself? This research examines how taking photos to share with others (e.g., to post on Facebook), compared to taking photos for oneself (e.g., to remember an experience), affects the enjoyment of an experience. Across two field and six laboratory studies, we find that taking pictures to share with others, relative to taking pictures for oneself, reduces enjoyment of experiences. This effect occurs because taking photos to share increases self-presentational concern. We identify several factors that affect self-presentational concern and thus moderate the effect of photo-taking goals on enjoyment, such as whether the photo-taking goal is active during the experience, the closeness of the intended audience, and the degree of control in photo-taking.

This year’s honorable mention was Charlene Chen for her dissertation at Columbia titled “The Need to Feel Better,” with advisor Michel Pham. Thanks to Joann Peck who coordinated the doctoral dissertation competition and all the reviewers.

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