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PhD Program

PhD Dissertation Defense, Alican Mecit, Marketing

Congratulations to Dr Alican Mecit, Marketing specialization, who successfully defended his Doctoral Dissertation at HEC Paris, on June 15, 2021. Alican will join the Skema Business School as assistant professor. 

Dissertation Topic: 
Four Essays on Psycholinguistic Effects in Consumer Behavior and Consumer-Object Relations.


Tina M. Lowrey, Professor, HEC Paris, Advisor
L. J. Shrum, Professor, HEC Paris, Co-Advisor

Jury members:   
Selin Atalay, Professor, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management 
Rajesh Bhargave, Associate Professor, Imperial College 
Peter Ebbes, Associate Professor, HEC Paris 
Gilles Laurent, Professor, ESSEC Business School 

Tina M. Lowrey, Professor, HEC Paris, Advisor
L. J. Shrum, Professor, HEC Paris, Co-Advisor


In the first essay, I investigate language as a novel antecedent of anthropomorphism. Across eight studies, I show that gender-marking of non-human nouns in gendered languages (e.g., French) influences the way individuals mentally represent these entities, and as a result increases their generalized tendencies to anthropomorphize consumption objects. I demonstrate the effects both by comparing anthropomorphism as a function of natural differences in languages (e.g., English, French, Italian) and by manipulating the presence of gender-markings for non-humans in within-language studies. I further show that within gendered languages, grammatical gender of non-human nouns, although semantically arbitrary, influences consumers’ interactions with brands and consumption objects consistent with connotations of femininity and masculinity. In the second essay, I test whether the grammatical gender mark of diseases affects consumers’ risk judgements. In French and Spanish, the name of the disease resulting from the virus (COVID-19) is grammatically feminine, whereas the virus that causes the disease (coronavirus) is masculine. In a series of experiments with French and Spanish speakers, I find that grammatical gender affects virus-related judgments consistent with gender stereotypes: feminine- (vs. masculine-) marked terms for the virus lead individuals to assign lower stereotypical masculine characteristics to the virus, which in turn reduces their danger perceptions. The effect generalizes to precautionary consumer behavioral intentions as well as to other diseases, and is moderated by individual differences in chronic gender stereotyping. In the third essay, I study whether attributing humanlike characteristics to non-human entities facilitate the inverse process of denying human characteristics to other humans (dehumanization). Across four studies, I show that the tendency to anthropomorphize is positively correlated with a tendency to dehumanize other individuals, as well as with support for dehumanizing policies; the use of technological devices with humanlike characteristics is associated both with increased anthropomorphism and increased dehumanization. Causal evidence shows that priming with anthropomorphic cues, such as a humanlike robot, increases dehumanization and denying secondary emotions to other individuals. Furthermore, I find that dehumanization only occurs in interactions with anthropomorphized objects and that consumers’ attitudes toward the anthropomorphized object moderates the effect, with more favorable attitudes ironically leading to greater dehumanization tendencies. In the last essay, I study whether the way one talks and thinks about time affects the inferences s/he draws from the perceived speed of time. The results of four experiments show that when time is perceived to have passed quickly, people speed up to compensate for the lost time. Whether one conceptualizes herself as a moving agent on a stationary timeline or a stationary agent on a moving timeline moderates this effect. People who conceptualize themselves as moving agents are more likely to infer their speed from the speed of time, and become faster (slower) when they experience time passing unexpectedly quickly (slowly). As a result, they suffer from cognitive trade-offs, such as inaccuracy and impulsivity, more than those who conceptualize themselves as stationary agents on a moving timeline.