(last updated June 2024)

* indicates equal contribution


Research Under Review and In Preparation

Image source: Gabrielle Henderson from Unsplash

The "Unique" Challenge of Promoting Luxury Purchases with Word of Mouth

[Job Market Paper]

Myaeng, Seo Young and Jake Teeny

(revising for 2nd round review at Journal of Marketing)

Click to read the abstract

Although consumer word of mouth (WOM) has been widely shown to be one of the most powerful forms of marketing, the present work highlights one domain where its positive effect is reduced: luxury goods. Across both field and laboratory studies (N = 4,792), the authors demonstrate that consumers report less favorable attitudes and lower product choice, purchase intentions, and willingness to pay for luxury (relative to non-luxury) goods that are first encountered through WOM recommendations versus absent one. This effect is observed across different luxury product categories as well as different sources and channels of WOM, and it in part occurs because WOM can reduce the feelings of uniqueness elicited by the purchase. The authors then use this insight to identify real-world boundary conditions: consumer’s primary attribute of interest (i.e., uniqueness vs. quality), individual differences (i.e., their political identity), and the type of WOM (i.e., direct recommendation vs. mere mention). Altogether, this research offers a novel perspective on WOM’s effectiveness and the importance of the initial product encounter on consumers’ luxury attitudes.

* Presented in the Haring Symposium (2024 | Bloomington, IN), the Transatlantic Doctoral Conference (2023 | London, UK), the Kellogg-Booth Student Symposium (2023 | Chicago, IL), the Association for Consumer Research Conference (2022 | Denver, CO), and the Society for Consumer Psychology Conference (2022 | Online)

Image source: freepik

The Negative Impact of Deepfake Advertising on Brand and Celebrity Attitudes: The Deepfake Aversion Effect

Myaeng, Seo Young and Neal J. Roese

(revising for 2nd round review at Journal of Advertising Research Special Issue on Generative AI)

Click to read the abstract

Brands today have started incorporating deepfake technology into their advertisements, replacing the faces of individuals with those of celebrities. Despite potential key advantages of deepfake advertising, the present research documents a downside. Specifically, four experiments documented deepfake aversion: consumers hold less favorable attitudes toward both brands and celebrities featured in deepfake (vs. control) ads, an effect driven by reduced brand and celebrity authenticity. This aversion may be weakened for brands if they receive celebrity consent to use their likeness, while celebrities may benefit more from not giving their consent to be deepfaked. Disclosure of deepfake usage and use of de-aging deepfakes (in which the celebrity is made to look younger) also weakened deepfake aversion. We consider practical implications and make recommendations for how best to use deepfake in advertising.

* Presented at the Unconference (2024 | Arlington, VA)

Image source: Rita Morais from Unsplash

What's Mine Makes Me an Expert: Psychological Ownership Increases Advice Giving by Inflating Subjective Expertise

Myaeng, Seo Young and Jake Teeny

(manuscript in preparation)

Click to read the abstract

Whether it is a word-of-mouth recommendation or an answer in an online forum, consumer-to-consumer advice giving plays a critical role in consumer behavior. But what factors affect when consumers intend to or engage in advice giving? The present research identifies a novel antecedent: feelings of psychological ownership. Across varied samples, an archival data set, and multiple experiments, the authors demonstrate that when consumers exhibit or are led to experience a high sense of psychological ownership over an object, it increases their relevant advice-giving intentions and behavior. Notably, this effect emerges because feelings of high psychological ownership augment consumers’ subjective expertise with the object, because the feelings of ownership lead that object to become more associated with their sense of self. Thus, even when ownership is induced peripherally (e.g., a consumer names vs. does not name a possession), the increased self-connection results in increased subjective expertise, motivating advice giving. These findings offer new insights on the antecedents to consumer advice giving, the consequences of psychological ownership, and practical advice on how to elicit consumer generated content.

* Presented in the Association for Consumer Research Conference (2023 | Seattle, WA)

Image source: Shubham Dhage from Unsplash

Navigating the Unpredictable: Consumers Engage in Greater Negative WOM for Unexpected Events in Material (vs. Experiential) Products

Grabke, Jocelyn*, Matejas Mackin*, Seo Young Myaeng*, and Neal J. Roese

(manuscript in preparation)

Click to read the abstract

Unexpected events often occur during consumption. Across six studies (N = 1732), we demonstrate that consumers respond more negatively to unexpected events that occur during material (vs. experiential) product consumption, due to the perception that the consumption of material products is less variable than the consumption of experiential products.

Image source: Paul Steuber from Unsplash

Seeing Tesla as High-Tech and Sustainable: Dimensions of Brand Personality Revisited

Lee, Angela Y.* & Seo Young Myaeng*

(manuscript in preparation)

Click to read the abstract

Consumers’ perception of brand image plays a critical role in helping marketers formulate branding and positioning strategies to attract consumers. Since the Brand Personality Scale was developed by Aaker (1997) that identified five brand personality dimensions, new generations of consumers and brands have emerged. The authors sought to update the scale with a total sample of 2392 participants across fours studies. Study 1 (n = 150) showed a poor model fit of the original scale. Study 2 (n = 60) identified new traits that contemporary consumers use to describe brands to be used for further testing. Study 3 (n = 1,633) identified six brand personality dimensions—Caring, Fun, Competent, Sophisticated, Rugged, and High-tech—based on ratings of 57 brands on 74 traits. Study 4 (n = 549) validated the six dimensions using 42 traits. The authors provide comparisons of brand profiles between the original and the updated scales and offer examples of how marketers could leverage the new scale to compete in the marketplace.

Image source: Ekaterina Shevchenko from Unsplash

What Constitutes a Thoughtful Gift? Effort, Personal Specificity, and Their Relationship to Thoughtful Gift-Giving

Luttrell, Andy, Jake Teeny, and Seo Young Myaeng

(manuscript in preparation)

Click to read the abstract

Research in Progress

Image source: creativeart from Freepik

The Digital Dehumanization of AI

Myaeng, Seo Young and Maferima Touré-Tillery

(data collection in progress)

Click to read the abstract

Image source: Peter Conlan from Unsplash

Self-Promotion, Social Comparison, and Meaning in Life

Huh, Young Eun*, Irene Scopelliti*, and Seo Young Myaeng*

(data collection in progress)

Click to read the abstract

Past studies show that people experience negative feelings toward other people’s bragging, but whether individual variables such as meaning in life change these responses are yet unknown. It has been established that the search for meaning in life (Search) and presence of meaning in life (Presence) influence how people view themselves and others. Thus, Search and Presence would also change the degree of negative emotions people experience from other’s bragging. The study results showed that Search is positively related to negative feeling and feeling envy, annoyed, and irritated toward others’ bragging. Presence, however, showed negative relationship with such emotions. Successful manipulation of Presence and Search further evinced this relationship. All studies have been preregistered on AsPredicted.

​* Presented in the Association for Consumer Research (2020 | Online), Society for Consumer Psychology Conference (2020 | Huntington Beach, CA), and in Marketing Science Conference (2019 | Rome, Italy)