Facial cues; facial resemblance; facial expression; smile; face based inference; group entitativity; donation; time versus money; power; persuasion; ulterior motive


This dissertation investigates the roles of facial cues in consumer behavior. Specifically, the research examines the effect of facial structural resemblance, facial expressions, and other perceptual cues—in both individual and group settings—on consumer judgment and decision-making. Essay 1 examines the influence of facial resemblance on consumers* product purchase likelihood. This effect is moderated by consumers* mental construal, such that the effect of increased facial resemblance on product purchase likelihood occurs among consumers with high-level construals but not among those with low-level construals. Results of three experimental studies show that increased facial resemblance among team members enhances the perceived entitativity of the group, which in turn leads to more favorable intention of purchasing the product offered by the group. Essay 2 investigates the differential effects of recipients* group entitativity on two types of donation (time vs. money). Through three studies, the research demonstrates that high (versus low) group entitativity among the recipients increases donation of time but decreases donation of money. Such differential effects on donation of time versus money are driven by consumers* emotional or cognitive well-being associated with time or money donations. In essay 3, the effect of smile intensity on customer behavior is shown to be moderated by power and salience of ulterior motive. When employees* ulterior motive is not salient to customers, low-power customers evaluate the employee with intensified smiles more favorably compared to high-power customers. In contrast, when ulterior motive is made salient, high-power rather than low-power customers react more positively to smile intensity. Results show that the interactive effects between smile, power, and ulterior motive are driven by customers* warmth and competence perceptions. Collectively, this dissertation focuses on consumers* face-based judgments of individuals and teams, and investigates how such facial cues might influence consumers* attitude, purchase intention, and prosocial behavior.


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Graduation Date





He, Xin


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Business Administration

Degree Program

Business Administration; Marketing








Release Date

August 2020

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Business Administration -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Business Administration

Included in

Marketing Commons