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Durham e-Theses
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The Evolutionary Psychology of the Country-of-Origin Effect

ATKINSON-TOAL, AARRON,JASON,JAKE (2023) The Evolutionary Psychology of the Country-of-Origin Effect. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Adopting the applicational protocols of the epistemological method of evolutionary psychology, this thesis examines the evolved cognitive biases that facilitate the country-of-origin effect, namely a consumer preference for home country or domestic products and brands as opposed to foreign, alternative equivalents. This thesis presents cumulative evidence, through the construction and presentation of a sequential analysis undertaken at both the proximate and ultimate levels of explanation, three distinct investigations exploring the effectiveness of common heuristic strategies adopted by manufacturers that seek to incite nationality biased behaviours of consumers within the field of consumer psychology, how such behaviours can be explained through the causal view offered by group-based behavioural dynamics within social constructivism, whilst ultimately concluding how evolved, adaptive group-based preferences facilitate a nationality bias within the field of evolutionary psychology. In doing so, differing yet complementary explanations of the country-of-origin effect are offered.

Chapter Two investigates country-of-origin labelling frequency, design and consumer response across the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods industry within the United Kingdom during a time of an immense shift within the socio-political landscape in response to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, providing evidence of its widespread application and its importance as a marketing strategy by manufacturers whilst exploring consumer responses. Chapter Three investigates the distinct group-based cognitive biases that are activated within different consumer groupings when exposed to such labelling heuristics from the perspective of social constructivism. Conceptualising the effect within group-based behavioural dynamics allows for an exploration of the perceived reciprocal motivations that result in ingroup loyalty and outgroup avoidance behaviours. Chapter Four investigates such group-based motivations through the lens of evolutionary psychology, specifically acknowledging the evolved mechanisms that facilitate biased behaviours towards ingroups and outgroups whilst providing evidence of the adaptive, cognitive functions and conditioned emotions in operation, thereby offering an ultimate explanation of ingroup loyalty behaviours associated with the country-of-origin effect.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Country-of-Origin effect; consumer behaviour; evolutionary consumer psychology
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Business > Management and Marketing, Department of
Thesis Date:2023
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:02 Nov 2023 15:31

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