Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2012

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Interdisciplinary Studies in Decision Neuroscience

First Advisor

Levin, Irwin P.

First Committee Member

Cole, Catherine A.

Second Committee Member

Denburg, Natalie L.

Third Committee Member

Nayakankuppam, Dhananjay

Fourth Committee Member

Wang, Jing


Consumer impulsivity accounts for a large percentage of purchases yet this aspect of personality is measured with a variety of instruments. Three studies were conducted to examine how measures of consumer impulsiveness relate to each other, other measures of trait level impulsivity, and a variety of decisions and judgments. These studies looked at the relationship between biases resulting from motivated reasoning and the trait of impulsiveness. Motivated reasoning and impulsiveness was considered within the context of consumer and other choice decisions. Consumer impulsivity was found to be related to both general measures of trait level impulsivity as well as containing a lot of content overlap among the three measures considered here. One measure was distinct and formed its own factor in a factor analysis suggesting it may be the most specific measure of consumer impulsivity. The other measures of consumer impulsivity overlapped quite a bit with general impulsivity. The Iowa Gambling Task was used to measure both choice behavior and anticipatory SCR, however no significant results were found. The cups task, a risky decision making task, was also administered and results mirrored classic findings such that participants were more risk averse in the domain of gains than losses. Additionally, both expected value and outcome magnitude influenced results. Individuals who scored higher on the UPPS urgency subscale made more risk advantageous choices when looking at sensitivity to expected value. The third task assessed differences in purchase time for hedonic and utilitarian items. Impulsive consumers reported they would purchase both hedonic and utilitarian items sooner than their less impulsive counterparts.


motivated reasoning, risky decision making


1, ix, 122 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 76-84).


Copyright 2012 Suzanne Beth Bellman