• 10 backers
  • $495 of $1,150

Mount Saint Mary College

Verified 501(c)(3) Non-Profit


Project Description

Provide background, description of the problem to be studied, proposed work to be done, time frame.):
The purpose of this study is to investigate the difference in levels of psychological ownership pet owners feel over their pet depending on whether they own a dog or a cat, and additionally whether this predicted difference influences the willingness to pay for expenses related to the animal. The research questions specifically include: (1) is there a difference in level/intensity of psychological ownership between cat owners and dog owners over their pets, due to the differences in experiences of owning a dog or a cat? (2) Does the difference in psychological ownership between cat and dog owners influence the amount of money one would willingly spend on pet expenses, such as food for the pet and veterinary bills. Previous research leads us to hypothesize that dog owners will report more feelings of psychological ownership and thus will be willing to pay more for pet expenses (Pierce, Kostova, and Dirks, 2003; Peck & Shu, 2009).
Subjects will be recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk, which is what the majority of this grant would be used for. We plan on recruiting approximately 150 subjects, allowing the group to be split up into two groups of 50 for each independent variable condition (dog, cat, and control). There is a possibility that some participants will withdraw from the study, however, recruitment will continue until the desired sample size is achieved. After being recruited, participants will be asked to read over an informed consent form, which includes all necessary details to understanding the study. After signing the informed consent form, the participant will be asked to answer a series of questions displayed through an online survey, hosted by Qualtrics. Randomly assigned by Qualtrics, the participants will be placed in one of three conditions; a measured variables condition, in which existing data on the participants’ pet and perception of ownership will be collected, a “dog” condition, and a “cat” condition, in which participants will be asked to imagine a scenario in which he or she owns a dog or cat, respectively, and psychological ownership of assigned pets will be measured. As a whole, the survey will include questions regarding the participant’s demographics, as well as scales of love, perceived behavioral control, identity, psychological ownership and willingness to pay for various expenses. After completion of the survey, participants will be thanked and provided contact information of the two researchers, should the participants have any questions or concerns about the study in the future. The actual procedure is expected to take no more than 10 minutes so complete and the actual research project is expected to be completed by the end of 2015. The research will have implications for understanding differences in the identity and ownership constructs and when each may be activated in consumers, in addition to the darker implications regarding psychological ownership over animals and animal abuse.

Rosemarie Whyte is a third year undergraduate psychology student at Mount Saint Mary College. Beginning her freshman year, Rosemarie took on a research project that has recently been accepted for publication in the journal Birth, and she has presented at a number of psychology conferences. Rosemarie anticipates graduating in May 2016, after which she hopes to begin her PhD graduate study in the area of clinical psychology.

Colleen P. Kirk is Assistant Professor of Marketing at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY and her research interests focus on consumer emotions in decision-making, especially related to technology appropriation and psychological ownership. Colleen Kirk has published in Journal of Advertising Research, Journal of Brand Management, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, Journal of the Academy of Behavioral Finance and Economics, and International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, and Business Case Journal, among others. She presents regularly at national conferences including those of the American Marketing Association, the Association for Consumer Research, and the Academy of Marketing Science. Her awards include “best doctoral student paper” from the Academy of Behavioral Finance and Economics with Bernard McSherry in 2012 and she was honored as a “best reviewer” at the Direct/Interactive Marketing Research Summit in Chicago in 2013. In addition to teaching and conducting research, Dr. Kirk enjoys mentoring students and is a regular faculty mentor for the Mount Saint Mary College Summer Undergraduate Research Experience program and the student Honors Research program.

Expected project outcomes
Preliminary results will be presented at the Eastern Colleges Science Conference in April, and once the research is complete, it will be submitted to the Society for Consumer Psychology annual conference for presentation and publication in the proceedings.

Will any products of the project be made available to donors?
Research abstracts will be made available, as will results published in conference proceedings.

Student stipend(s) (numbers of students and number of weeks): 5 weeks, 10 hours/week x $10/hour = $500
Student Travel (state destination(s) and purpose): Eastern Colleges Science Conference, Buffalo, NY, April 2015
Hotel, travel, conference registration: $500.00
Other: $150.00 is needed for recruitment through Amazon Mechanical Turk, at $1.00 per participant, for a total of $150.00 for 150 participants.

TOTAL amount to raise on CREU: $1,150.00

How will any additional funds be used?
Any additional funds will be used to continue Rosemarie’s research activities during her senior year.


CREU recommends this project at the recommended level

Reviewer comments:

"What type of analyses will be used?"

"The author cites previous research to support the research question, but it's not clear how this particular project will add value to the existing literature."

"Need to significantly clarify the research design and rationale, but this is an interesting project."


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