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PhD Dissertation Defense, Claire Linares, Marketing

Congratulations to Dr Claire Linares, Marketing specialization, who successfully defended her Doctoral Dissertation at HEC Paris, on June 3, 2022. Dr Linares has accepted a position at the University of Navarra, IESE Business School, starting September, 2022.

Claire Linares, HEC PhD, Marketing, 2022

 

Specialization: Marketing 

Topic: Three essays on consumer social cognition in a technology-rich world 

Supervisor: Anne-Laure Sellier, Professor, HEC Paris

Jury Members:

  • Stefano Puntoni Professor, Erasmus University, Rotterdam School of Management
  • Andrea Bonezzi Associate Professor, New York University, Stern School of Business  
  • Ran Hassin Professor, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Psychology Department 
  • Marc Vanhuelen, Professor, Marketing Department, HEC Paris
  • Anne-Laure Sellier, Professor, Marketing Department, HEC Paris, Supervisor


Abstract: The three essays of this dissertation examine consumer social cognition processes which take a special resonance in today’s technological world.

Essay 1 investigates the effect of the mere presence of a technological device, a smartphone, on social interactions and creativity. The initial objective of this essay was to build on the work of Przybylski and Weinstein (2013), which showed a negative effect of the mere presence of a phone on relationship formation, to extend the investigation to creativity. After two failed replications of Przybylski and Weinstein’s (2013) results and an absence of robust results on creativity, the conclusion of this work is that the effect of the mere presence of a smartphone is at least harder to find than it may have been before. The two other essays in this dissertation examine questions at the intersection of management and face perception, at a time when faces take a new place in social interactions with the development of social media and videoconferencing platforms and with the increase in facial data with social media and facial detection technologies.

Essay 2 investigates brand–user facial stereotypes, the mental representations that people have of the faces of the typical users of a brand (e.g., the face of a BMW driver). The first part reveals that such shared stereotypes exist by using a method borrowed from face-perception research that is new in consumer behavior research to compose “mugshots” of different car brand users for German consumers. The second part uncovers a face–brand matching effect, whereby observers can accurately match a target’s true perfume brand to their face, above chance level, and beyond sociodemographic cues. Together, the results of Essay 2 suggest that faces and brands can be connected both in consumers’ mental representations and in their actual faces. Although this work opens managerial opportunities, consumers may not be aware of the information that their faces reveal, which raises ethical questions to address.

Essay 3 explores facial name stereotypes, that is the mental representations that people have of the face of someone wearing a given name (e.g., the stereotypical face of a man named James). The first part of a study produced mugshots associated with a series of French given names (e.g., the faces associated with the names Julien and Nicolas). The second part is currently in progress. Before sending the present document, the data collected up to March 29, 2022 were analyzed (143 valid participants out of 250 preregistered participants) to get a sense of the pattern. It already reveals that the mugshots are recognized on average by an independent sample of participants, significantly above chance level. If these preliminary results are confirmed once the preregistered sample size will be attained, this research would offer direct evidence supporting the existence of facial name stereotypes while validating the use of the reverse correlation technique from Essay 2 to capture such stereotypes. The objective is to take this work forward in the management domain in one of several possible directions fleshed out in the General Discussion of this essay.

Overall, this dissertation sheds light on marketing and management questions that have theoretical relevance as well as managerial and ethical implications in our real- and virtual-world. 

Keywords: consumer behavior, social cognition, creativity, technology, face perception
 

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Read more about the collaboration between Claire Linares and Anne-Laure Sellier in an interview on their research paper "The Smartphone: Not the Behemoth Feared by Business and Researchers" here, recently published on Knowledge | HEC Paris.