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The psychology of socially inclusive advertising

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Research Area: Social Inclusion and marginalised communities

The psychology of socially inclusive advertising

This project is devoted to the topical issue of responsible socially inclusive advertising. While tougher advertising standards are being introduced (e.g. regarding gender bias) and Social Media backlash increases, advertisers are not being equipped with relevant tools to effectively implement more inclusive and less biased practices.

This PhD project aims to test novel ways of boosting the effectiveness of socially inclusive advertising practices pertaining to stigmatised social groups, i.e. women, minorities, elderly people, people with mental illness. On a theoretical level it will extend the application of social perception models to brands and advertising context. It will also explore the possibility of applying the novel techniques to branded online content (e.g. with Bacardi).

During the project, the PhD student will experimentally investigate the role of social perception principles in the effectiveness of socially inclusive advertisements. They will design and preselect appropriate advertising stimuli and test relevant manipulations, their effects on ad, brand, self-perceptions and attitudes to disadvantaged groups as well as suitable mediators and moderators. Equipment and software, e.g. online experimental testing platforms enabling use of Social Media, will be available at ARU, Cambridge. The student will aim to produce: 1) high quality articles for publication in leading peer-reviewed journals, and 2) practical guidelines for consumers, practitioners and advertising standards agencies.

Interested candidates should come with background in psychology, social sciences, marketing and/or advertising, experience in running quantitative research projects (i.e. experiments) and conducting advanced statistical analyses. Knowledge and interest in experimental social psychology is essential and in gender and consumer psychology desirable.

The successful candidate will conduct research under the supervision of Dr Magdalena Zawisza, and Dr Daragh McDermott, Department of Psychology in collaboration with Hans Petch at StoryLab Research Institute.

How to apply

To apply, you’ll need: A first class bachelor’s degree or a 2:1 bachelor’s degree and a masters at merit level or above. Equivalent awards will be considered. Qualifications must be relevant for the particular studentship you are applying for.

You can apply online via our Vice Chancellor’s PhD Studentships page ( Under each project description you will find a link to the application form.

Full details of the application process and the terms and conditions can also be found on the above- page

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