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Tabitha Thomas

Title of Research: Children’s Perception of Beauty: Perceived Links with Materialism and Aggressive Behaviour

TabithaQualifications: Bachelor of Commerce, Accounting & Finance, Master of Business Administration, Bachelor of Commerce (Honours), Marketing

Area of PhD Research: Consumer Behaviour

PhD started: May 2014

Email: tabitha.thomas@postgrad.otago.ac.nz

Supervisors: Dr Kirsten Robertson & Associate Professor Maree Thyne

Short description of research topic:

This research aims to understand children’s perception of beauty in India, Fiji, and New Zealand. The findings demonstrate perceptions of beauty are linked to physical features (e.g., thin waist for a girl and muscles for a boy), behaviours (prosocial behaviours with attractive children and antisocial behaviours with less attractive children), and material possessions. In particular, the physical features children associated with beauty were similar to stereotypes held by adults and suggests that children internalise sexualised or adultified messages regarding beauty at an early age. Moreover, the association between beauty and materialism reveals a novel pathway between a lack of possessions and experiencing inequalities.


Honours and Awards

• Best Paper in the Retail and Distribution Track, Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy (ANZMAC), 2016
• Association for Consumer Research Travel Grant 1500 (USD), 2015
• Three Minutes Thesis Competition Study Grant 250 (NZD), Business Annual Research Conference, University of Otago, 2015
• Poster Competition Winner, Business Annual Research Conference, University of Otago, 2015
• Summer Bursary Poster Competition Winner, Department of Marketing, University of Otago, 2014
• Summer Research Scholarship 5000 (NZD), Department of Marketing, University of Otago, 2013

Journal Publications:

M.,Thyne, K., Robertson, T., Thomas, and M., Ingram. (2016). “It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness”: expectancies associated with tween makeup ownership. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 40(5), 543-551.

Conference Presentations:

Thomas, Tabitha, Kirsten Robertson and Maree Thyne (2017) Good looks, possessions, and stereotypes: The relationship between physical attractiveness and materialism, Association for Consumer Research, North American Conference, San Diego, CA, October 26-29, 2017.


Thomas, Tabitha, Kirsten Robertson and Maree Thyne (2017) Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: Young girl’s perception of female attractiveness in New Zealand, India, and Fiji, Association for Consumer Research, North American Conference, San Diego, CA, October 26-29, 2017.


Thomas, Tabitha, Kirsten Robertson, Maree Thyne and Preeti Krishnan-Lyndem (2016). Beware of strangers...Unless you're looking at making connections for shopping tips. In D. Fortin & L. K. Ozanne (Eds.), Proceedings of the Australian & New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference (ANZMAC): Marketing in a Post-Disciplinary Era. (pp. 725). Christchurch, New Zealand: Department of Management, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship, University of Canterbury. (Best Paper in Retail and Distribution Track)


Thomas, Tabitha, Kirsten Robertson and Maree Thyne (2016). Do Children Perceive Links Between Physical Attractiveness, Possessions, and Aggression? Association for Consumer Research, North American Conference, Berlin, Germany, October 27-30, 2016.


Thomas, Tabitha, Kirsten Robertson, Maree Thyne and Preeti Krishnan-Lyndem (2016). Does Customer-Stranger Interaction Vary as a Function of Age in the Retail Context? Society for Consumer Psychology, St. Pete Beach, FL, February 25-27, 2016


Thomas, Tabitha, Kirsten Robertson and Maree Thyne (2015). Am I fair and lovely: Indian children's perceptions of physical attractiveness and their links with materialism, Association for Consumer Research, North American Conference, New Orleans, LA, October 1- 4, 2015.


Thyne, Maree, Kirsten Robertson, Tabitha Thomas, and Sarah McDonald (2015). Mummy, when will I get muscles? – Children’s gendered stereotypes around beauty and body image Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Conference 2015, Limerick, Ireland. July 7-9 2015.

Thomas, Tabitha, Kirsten Robertson and Maree Thyne (2015), “Children’s Perception of Physical Attractiveness and their Links with Materialism and Aggression, In A. Ganglmair-Wooliscroft, J. Williams & B. Wooliscroft (Eds.), Proceedings of the Australian & New Zealand Marketing Academy (ANZMAC) Midyear Doctoral Colloquium. (pp. 1-9). Dunedin, New Zealand: Marketing Department, University of Otago.

Teaching Experience:

• 2016, Guest Lecture, MART329, Consumer Behaviour, University of Otago
• 2015, Guest Lecture, MART305, Societal Issues in Marketing, University of Otago
• 2015, Tutor, MART 210, Consumer Behaviour, University of Otago
• 2014, Tutor, BSNS 103, Marketing and Consumption, University of Otago
• 2014, Tutor, MART 201, Integrated Marketing Communications, University of Otago

Academic Service:

• Ad hoc reviewer European Journal of Marketing
• Association for Consumer Research North American Conference, Working Paper Reviewer, 2015, 2017
• Macromarketing Conference, Competitive Paper Reviewer, 2017
• Academy of Management Conference, Competitive Paper Reviewer, 2017
• Society for Consumer Psychology, Working Paper Reviewer, 2016, 2017; Competitive Paper Reviewer, 2017
• Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy, Competitive Paper Reviewer, 2015
• Consumer Culture Theory Conference, Competitive Paper Reviewer, 2015

Professional Association:

• Association for Consumer Research (2014 -)
• Society for Consumer Psychology (2014 -)