Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Park, Ernest

Subject Headings

Advertising -- Psychological aspects, Customer behavior, Communication in marketing, Threat, Affiliation, Inclusive pronouns, Product evaluations


This study further examines the relationship between threat and affiliative tendencies. Under threat, there is a tendency to embrace others in efforts to reduce threat and uncertainty. This study explores whether product advertisements that use inclusive pronouns (e.g., we, our) lead products to be perceived as more attractive/valuable under threat (compared to low threat). Therefore, this study employs a 2 (threat: low vs. high) X 2 (ad reference frame: inclusive pronouns vs. 3rd person) between-subjects design. Data from 145 university student participants were collected. To manipulate threat, participants were told they would be taking part in a learning exercise and were "randomly" assigned the role of the "learner", while a participant in another room would act as the "teacher" who would administer the punishment/reinforcement (e.g., sound blasts) to the "learner". Participants viewed one of two versions of an advertisement for a hypothetical product. We expect that participants in the inclusive pronoun condition will evaluate the product more positively and that the positive impact of inclusive pronoun use will be stronger under high levels of threat. Analyses for the primary hypotheses revealed some support and many exploratory analyses revealed significant results

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Psychology Commons