Superstitious thinking is a subset of paranormal belief, which refers to the belief that there is a causal link between action and outcome when no such causation exists (Matute, Yarritu, & Vadillo, 2011; Thalbourne, 1997). Despite this, superstitious thinking remains widespread. Superstitious thinking can influence behaviour in various forms for example, the use of superstitious ritual in athletes surrounding major
competitions or sporting events (Schippers & Van Lange, 2006), and the use of ‘lucky’ charms during examination periods in students (Rudski & Edwards, 2007). Consumers can also be influenced by superstition, for example, Chinese consumers show a preference for items priced with the auspicious number ‘8’ in Asia (Ang et al., 2014). Consequently, it has been suggested that superstitious thinking may influence consumer behaviour and brand choices. However, the strength of this influence is unknown. Further research is needed to understand the circumstances that would lead to choices made solely on the basis of superstition rather than factors such as existing consumer knowledge and perception of the product or brand.
The aim of this project is to explore the importance of superstition in consumers when making choices, including, but not limited to, the influence of superstitious thinking on brand, product or logo preference and evaluation and intention to purchase. The project will use quantitative methodology and will adopt a strong experimental approach. It is intended that the research will utilise resources such as eye tracking equipment and other software to develop and test stimuli (e.g. Blender).
Studying at Chester
As a postgraduate research student at the University of Chester, you will benefit from being part of one of the fastest-growing Graduate Schools in the UK. The University has almost 500 students studying towards a research degree, each of whom benefit from our excellent library and learning resources, including a dedicated postgraduate study space and regular programme of skills development workshops. Your work will be supervised by a team of experts in your specialist area of study, in addition to our faculty postgraduate tutor. The primary supervisor for this project is Dr Annie Scudds ([email protected]
); prospective applicants are very welcome to contact Dr Scudds in advance of making an application to discuss this project in more depth.
Based within the Department of Psychology, you will also have access to our suite of research laboratories and a host of specialist equipment for your data collection, supported by a small team of psychology technicians. Our department supports an enthusiastic and active research community of which you will be part. This includes our monthly research seminar series, public lectures, and regular meetings of our research groups and journal clubs. For this particular project, you will join our Experimental Psychology Research Group.
You will be allocated a generous development fund to support your data collection and conference attendance. We are not able to provide any other financial support for your studies. This advertisement is for self-funded study only and you will be required at the point of application stage to detail how you will pay your fees (see http://www.chester.ac.uk/research/degrees/fees). You are encouraged to have a sensible plan in place for payment of your living expenses whilst you undertake this work.
General enquiries about PhD study in our department can be made by contacting Dr Sam Roberts ([email protected]
How to apply
Applications should be made via our online application system (http://www.chester.ac.uk/research/degrees/application): please make it clear in your application which specific project you are applying for. The deadline for applications is Friday 26th February 2016, and we anticipate that interviews will take place in March.