Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Business Administration -- Marketing

Committee Director

Yuping Liu-Thompkins

Committee Member

John B. Ford

Committee Member

Rachel E. Frieder


Through five experiments, this research examined and supported the central hypothesis that a casual mating motive promotes higher reliance on form in product evaluation and choice, whereas a committed mating motive promotes higher reliance on function. Particularly, compared to a committed mating motive, a casual mating motive was associated with the relative preference for product options superior in form attributes as opposed to options superior in function attributes (Study 1, Study 2, and Study 4). This research applied three different operationalizations of mating motives. In studies 1 and 5, contextual priming was used. Studies 2 and 3 employed chronic mating motives using sociosexuality. Study 4 utilized a physiological operationalization by assessing fertility in women’s menstrual cycle. It was demonstrated that the underlying mechanism for this effect lied in differential reliance on form- versus function-related product cues (Study 2). In addition, two moderating effects were demonstrated. First, Study 3 provided support for the moderating role of information ambiguity type (form vs. function). Second, Study 5 showed the interactive effect of mating motive and product choice strategy. By directing consumers to pursue a form-based versus a function-based strategy, Study 5 illustrated the effect of congruence between mating motives and choice strategy on product valuation such that consumers with a casual mating motive were willing to spend more on their product choices when they were based on form than when they were based on function, whereas consumers with a committed mating motive indicated higher willingness to pay when the product choices were made based on function than when they were made based on form. Finally, theoretical contributions and managerial implications were discussed.


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