Master's Theses

Document Type


Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Dr. Trey Hill


The current study examined the differential effects of advertisement and peer pressure on the consumer choices of young adults.. Data were gathered from Fort Hays State University undergraduate participants enrolled in psychology courses. Participants were assigned to one of four experimental groups being comprised of two separate two-level independent variables. One independent variable, advertisement-type, appeared on a computer screen while the participants were completing a simple, yet arbitrary task. The next independent variable, peer choice, was manipulated by having confederates in the same experimental session choose either healthy or unhealthy foods prior to the participants as a reward for completing the arbitrary task. Thus, some deception was involved in this experiment, because the participants were led to believe the arbitrary task they completed on the computer was the focus of the study, rather than their food choice. Participants’ food choices were shown to be heavily influenced by peer pressure (i.e., by the food choices of the confederates in the same experimental session). However, no effect of advertisement type was present. Also, the effect of peer choice on participant food choice was not moderated by advertisements for a particular type of food, suggesting a fairly stable peer influence effect. Limitations and future research are also discussed.


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Copyright 2015 Lindsey M. Gordon

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