Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Kenneth Bernhardt - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Detmar Straub

Third Advisor

Dr. Naveen Donthu

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Pam Ellen


This dissertation examines what motivates individuals to prefer certain types of product attributes over others. It is proposed that consumer preference regarding product attributes is fundamentally connected to an individual’s future orientation, i.e., how a person perceives, thinks about, and copes with time left in life. Specifically, it is posited that future orientations play key roles in shaping a person’s criteria in product evaluation. Thus, this dissertation seeks to integrate the study of future orientation with research on socio-emotional selectivity influences on consumption. Building on past research, this study proposes a conceptual model including four constructs: future orientations, chronological age, product evaluation, and preferences. An experimental study was used to investigate the research objectives and calibrate and validate the model. The experiment examines the moderating effect of future orientations and chronological age on consumer preference for hedonic vs. utilitarian attributes. The subjects were randomly assigned to one of two future orientations (expansive and limited) and one of two attributes contexts (hedonic and utilitarian). The sample for this study was drawn from consumers in Metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia. The research results will lead to an improved understanding of how preference varies from individual to individual and changes over time. In particular the research will provide insights about the impact of an individual’s future orientation on product attitude. The findings will advance current theory in both the new product evaluation and preference literature and have implications for the practice of marketing at levels of marketing strategy, product development, integrated marketing communications and loyalty programs.

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