Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Lauren G. Block

Committee Members

Stacey Finkelstein

Stephen Gould

Beth Vallen

Subject Categories



Consumer Behavior, Sounds


The presence of sounds in the marketplace can be an important driver of customer behavior. To date, the academic literature on sounds in the marketplace has typically focused on how properties of ambient sound, such as volume, pitch, and tempo affect consumer response in terms of consumption speed, quantity, and evaluations. With my research, I fill a gap in the literature on marketplace sounds by exploring how the presence (versus absence) of sound, both in ambient retail environments and embedded in products themselves, can influence spatial estimates, which in turn affects purchase intent and consumption. Specifically, I demonstrate that ambient sound can bias spatial proximity for motivated consumers and that embedded sound can lead to spatial connectedness, or social surrogacy. My work offers a theoretical contribution to the literature as well as practical insights for practitioners in the areas of promotional design, product development, retail space, and services marketing.

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