Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

David Washburn

Second Advisor

Heather Kleider-Offutt

Third Advisor

Kevin Swartout

Fourth Advisor

Michael Beran


This study was designed to investigate the relationships between executive function, impulsivity, and personality within consumer behavior. In particular, this study tested whether executive function influences consumer decision making. In order to answer that question, three datasets were analyzed. In Study 1A, a dataset was collected of self-report measures (N=6,122) and was analyzed to investigate the role of executive function with impulsiveness and personality on consumer behavior. In this dataset, a self-report measure for executive function (EFI) was employed. In Study 1B., a second data set (N=6,000) of self-report measures was collected and analyzed to validate the results from the first data set. In Study 2, behavioral measures of inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, and working memory capacity were subsequently analyzed to identify relations with consumer behavior. Additionally, a correlational analysis was conducted on the self-report measure Executive Function Index (EFI), with cognitive measures previously determined to measure cognitive flexibility, working memory, and executive attention in order to identify variance overlap with executive functioning. Results for these studies demonstrated that components of executive function—particularly inhibitory control and working memory capacity—are related to impulsive consumer decision making. Further, these data illuminate the relation between a self-report measure of executive function and performance-based assessments. It appears that the Executive Function Index may be more closely related to self-reported personality than to task-based inhibition, working memory, or cognitive flexibility.

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