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Publication Date



UM campus only

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Marketing (Business)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Juliano Laran

Second Committee Member

Chris Janiszewski

Third Committee Member

Claudia Townsend

Fourth Committee Member

Keith Wilcox


Technological innovations have changed the marketing landscape such that consumers themselves (as opposed to only producers) are increasingly motivated and rewarded for being creative. In this research I examine the cognitive properties of consumer creativity, and develop a framework for understanding both a key antecedent and consequence of creativity in consumer contexts. First, I demonstrate that busyness, or the perception of having a lot to do, enhances creativity. The perception of having a lot to do disrupts one’s ability to control thoughts on a focal task. I report five studies demonstrating that this disruption, resulting from busyness, ironically benefits the creative process. This occurs because not controlling one’s thoughts allows people to access otherwise weak associations during the idea generation process, which increases creativity. Second, I explore the relationship between a creative mindset and vice consumption behavior. I define vice consumption as any tempting consumption behavior that opposes a virtuous goal. Building on research demonstrating that creative thinking expands conceptual boundaries, I find that a creative mindset encourages vice behavior because it increases the perceived similarity between the vice and the virtuous options, which favors the vice because it offers unambiguous feedback on goal progress. More importantly, my framework identifies an important boundary condition in which a creative mindset will actually discourage vice behavior. When vice-virtue goal conflict is highly salient, a creative mindset will emphasize the differences (instead of the similarities) between the vice behavior and the opposing virtuous goal, which discourages choice of the vice. Four studies test this framework across different contexts of vice consumption, including indulgent food consumption, procrastination, and self-serving allocation of time.


consumer, busyness, vice behavior

Available for download on Wednesday, October 28, 2020