Influence of women’s cognitive and emotional responses across the ovarian cycle in regards to sex in advertisement

Pi Nanna Loving

Student thesis: Master thesis


This master thesis seeks an answer to whether women´s ovarian cycle influences their cognitive and emotional responses towards sex in advertisement. The thesis takes the starting point with a discussion of what researchers before have been investigating in regards to sex in advertisement. Hereafter, the research angle is emphasized to investigate women as the abstraction level increases. The second part discusses how research within the field of neuroscience is able to contribute with new knowledge in order to enhance marketing communications and consumer behavior. This part of the thesis gives a description from a neuroscientific perspective of why the different phases across the ovarian cycle might have an effect on women’s cognitive and emotional processes. The interplay of attention, emotion and memory will be discussed in this context and a model created for the purpose is presented. Limited research if any before have been investigating the effect of women´s ovarian cycle in regards to sexual content in advertisement. Therefore an experimental research is presented in part 3 in order to collect primary data to seek an answer to three hypotheses that have been outlined; H1 is supported; women in the pre-ovulation stage, compared to women in the post ovulation stage will demonstrate more visual attention to sexual appeal in advertisement. H2 is rejected; Women in the pre-ovulation stage will demonstrate stronger subjective preference rating for adverts containing sexual appeal than those from the post-ovulation group. H3 is rejected; Women in the pre-ovulation group will demonstrate increased memory for images and image content, compared to the post-ovulation group and this effect will be stronger for adverts with sexual contents. Overall it was argued that, biological and individual differences should be accounted for when applying sexual appeal in advertisement for women. As it is the purpose of the thesis to enlighten marketers with new knowledge part 4 addresses this with some examples of how to apply findings from the study in real life cases. Furthermore, it is suggested that future research will be investigating the impact of hormonal fluctuations in men in regards to marketing communications and consumer behavior.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages96