Justine Rapp, a marketing doctoral student at the UNL College of Business Administration, appeared on Lincoln radio station KLIN’s Grow Lincoln program
recently to discuss her research on how marketing affects consumers with compulsive and addictive behaviors.
Rapp, who will receive her Ph.D. in August, talked about the differences between impulsive and compulsive purchasing.
“Impulsive behavior is where you see a pack of gum at the checkout counter and you pick it up and buy it,” Rapp said. “Compulsive is more of a repetitive chronic behavior that is associated with some kind of harm.”
Rapp focuses on many areas of compulsivity in her research. Most recently she wrote a paper on the effects of marketing on people who are addicted to tanning.
“A lot of people think of addictions as drugs, and so they think, ‘Well, I’m not addicted to these hard substances so I’m OK,’ but you can get addicted to different behaviors because it really affects you cognitively and emotionally.”
Ultimately, Rapp sees the addictive process playing out in compulsive shopping, plastic surgery, tattooing and a variety of other behaviors. She believes that marketing can play a role in enabling the addictions.
“There’s a very fine line in the marketing world in terms of exploiting compulsive behaviors. I’m not saying that marketing is awful, but I do think that you need to protect the consumers. We have regulation for alcohol and tobacco, and maybe we need to protect consumers from these behavioral compulsions as well.”
Visit the KLIN Grow Lincoln podcast to hear the entire interview with Rapp