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Table of Contents
                            Joseph Edward Mahan III, Doctor of Philosophy, 2008
This dissertation is dedicated to the following people:
To my parents, Joe & Susan; thank you for instilling in me enough strength, perseverance, and good, old Irish stubbornness to see this through.  Dad, wish you were here.
This degree would not have come to fruition without the support and guidance of the following people:
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Figures
Chapter 1:  Introduction
Chapter 2:  Review of Literature
Chapter 3:  Study One
Chapter 4:  Study Two
Chapter 5:  Study Three
Chapter 6:  Summary and Conclusion
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D
Appendix E
Appendix F
Appendix G
Appendix H
Appendix I
Appendix J
Appendix K
Appendix L
Appendix M
Appendix N
Document Text Contents
Page 1


Title of Document:


Joseph Edward Mahan III, Doctor of Philosophy,


Directed By: Associate Professor Stephen McDaniel,

Department of Kinesiology

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).

Page 2

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


Page 95

individual differences in processing and ad format (Peracchio & Meyers-Levy, 2005).

Based on this line of inquiry, the following hypotheses are generated:

H3: Fantasy proneness will moderate the effect of high/low imagery ad

stimuli (Ad type x Fantasy Proneness interaction) on the quantity,

vividness, and valence dimensions of imagery processing.

H4: Fantasy proneness will moderate the effect of high/low imagery ad

stimuli (Ad type x Fantasy Proneness interaction) on AAd, AB, PI and



This study employs a 2 (ad type) by 3 (fantasy proneness) between subjects

factorial design to investigate the effect of a personality construct (i.e., fantasy

proneness) in the processing of and response to print advertisements. Following

existing advertising-imagery research (e.g., Babin & Burns, 1997), ad appeal is

manipulated as high-imagery appeal (picture and high imagery-eliciting text) and

low-imagery appeal (picture and low imagery-eliciting text). Fantasy proneness is

assessed using a tripartite split (high, medium, and low; Aleman & de Haan, 2004) of

the Creative Experiences Questionnaire (CEQ; Merckelbach, Horselenberg & Muris,



Page 96

The data collection for this study was conducted in several phases, following

existing advertising research (e.g., Sojka & Giese, 2006; Thompson & Hamilton,

2006; Walters, Sparks & Herington, 2007). First, a pilot study (Pilot Study One) was

performed to aid in the construction of ad stimuli (e.g., Sojka & Giese). Pilot Study

One used survey methodology to identify a low-involvement, utilitarian product

category as well as determine level of personal relevance (i.e., enduring involvement)

related to various professional sporting events (McDaniel, 1999). In order to gauge

validity and reliability of the scaled measures as well as validate proposed ad

manipulations, a second pilot (Pilot Study Two) was employed using a sample of

Undergraduate college students (N=50). Participants first completed an on-line

survey then took part in a lab session in which they viewed print ads and responded to

outcome measures on imagery processing (i.e., quantity, vividness, and valence) and

ad response (i.e., AAd, AB, PI and VI). Once validity and reliability of measures and

ad manipulations were assessed, the main study was carried out using the same

procedures as Pilot Study Two. The following sections describe these data collection

procedures in greater detail.

Pilot Study One: Stimulus Construction

It is noted in the ad processing literature that certain imagery-based ad

elements (e.g., pictures) can influence consumer response (i.e., AAd, AB, PI) to low-

involvement product categories (Putrevu, 2008). Likewise, there are calls for

additional examination of consumer processing and response in the context of

promoting utilitarian (i.e., functional) products or services (Wakefield & Barnes,


Page 190

Wilson, S. C. & Barber, T. X. (1983). The fantasy-prone personality: Implications for

understanding imagery, hypnosis, and parapsychological phenomena. In

A.A.Sheikh (Ed.), Imagery, current theory, research, and application. New

York: Wiley.

Yoo, C. & MacInnis, D. (2005). The brand attitude formation process of emotional

and informational ads. Journal of Business Research, 58, 1397-1406.

Zaichkowsky, J. L. (1986). Conceptualizing involvement. Journal of Advertising, 15,


Zaichkowsky, J. L. (1994). The Personal Involvement Inventory: Reduction, revision,

and application to advertising. Journal of Advertising, 23, 59-70.

Zuckerman, M. (1979). Sensation seeking: Beyond the optimal level of arousal.

Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Zuckerman, M., Kuhlman, M. D., Thornquist, M., & Kiers, H. (1991). Five (or three)

robust questionnaire scale factors of personality without culture. Personality

and Individual Differences, 12, 929-941.

Zuckerman, M., Kuhlman, D. M., Joireman, J., Teta, P., & Kraft, M. (1993). A

comparison of three structural models for personality: The big three, the big

five, and the alternative five. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 65,



Page 191


Zuckerman, M. (1994). Behavioral expressions and biosocial bases of sensation

seeking. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Zuckerman, M. & Kuhlman, D. M. (2000). Personality and risk taking: common

biosocial factors. Journal of Personality, 68, 999-1029.

Zuckerman, M. (2007). The sensation seeking scale V (SSS-V): Still reliable and

valid. Personality and Individual Differences, 43, 1303-1305.

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