Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Business Administration

Major Professor

Sajeev Varki, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mark Bender, Ph.D.

Committee Member

JeeWon Paulich, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sriram Kalyanaraman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Anand Kumar, Ph.D.


environmental protection, conservation, flora, fauna, sensory marketing, social marketing


Can imagined touch of flora and fauna (i.e., the plants and animals of the natural world) make you more willing to support environmental protection efforts? Across seven studies, I demonstrate that by asking consumers to imagine touching fauna, marketers can encourage consumers to become more engaged in environmental protection efforts. This effect occurs because imagined touch generates haptic imagery, which enhances a consumer’s emotional attachment to fauna. I demonstrate that emotional attachment to fauna induced via imagined touch enhances individual’s willingness to share Facebook posts, improves their willingness to support increased fines for environment-related offenses, and increases the number of individuals who sign up for a conservation mailing list. I also find that the effect of imagined touch on emotional attachment extends to include flora, though only for females. The effect of haptic imagery on emotional attachment is enhanced for individuals who are environmentally conscious and have a greater autotelic need for touch. Furthermore, I explore the visual elements related to color and how they help increase a consumer’s haptic imagery and consequent emotional attachment to flora as an alternative to asking consumers to imagine touching.