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Associate Professor JoAndrea Hoegg has been named Canada Research Chair in Consumer Behaviour, which gives her research a $500,000 boost in funding and adds to her authority in the area as she further establishes herself as an international leader in marketing research.

“To have my name among this group of incredible scholars is a huge honour,” Hoegg says.

Hoegg regularly attracts global media attention for research that includes studies on vanity sizing and unearned preferential treatment for customers.

In her current research now supported by federal funding, she is studying the faces of cars – drawing on how a car’s grille looks like a human face, she’s investigating how looking like a face affects how people perceive different products. In another study on product appearance, she’ll be exploring if customers judge a product to be of higher quality just because it looks pretty.

Another study investigating the importance of graphic design for nutritional information in food packaging could have important implications for public health in terms of obesity rates. She asks if an image of a runner showing how far you’d have to run to burn off calories could make you eat fewer cookies. She says many people overestimate how many calories they burn while exercising, so clarifying that relationship could be very helpful.

Hoegg is also investigating relationships between salespeople and customers. If the whole sales staff wears the same outfit, is the consumer experience improved because the staff seem more like a cohesive team?

In addition to leading cutting-edge research, Canada Research Chairs also play key roles in educating the next generation of researchers. Hoegg has been successful in supporting the publication of her PhD students’ research in leading journals and even mainstream media. For one, recent PhD grad Lea Dunn’s research on using fear as a marketing tool was profiled in Businessweek and the Harvard Business Review.

“One of the things I love most about my job is working with my students, so I’m very glad this funding will help me help them conduct important research,” Hoegg says.

She also mentors undergraduate students interested in pursuing business research with Sauder’s Commerce Scholars Program, a unique opportunity for high-achieving undergrads to conduct original research under the mentorship of world-leading researchers.

“It’s very exciting that Hoegg’s work will receive this important support,” says Darren Dahl, Senior Associate Dean, Faculty and Research at Sauder. “Having collaborated with her on multiple studies, I have seen first-hand what an astute scholar she is.  Her appointment as a Canada Research Chair reinforces her position as a leader in her field.”

Hoegg is joining two other Sauder professors as a Canada Research Chair. Professor Izak Benbasat has been Canada Research Chair in Information Technology Management since 2001, and Professor Ralph Winter has been Canada Research Chair in Business Economics and Policy since 2003.

UBC has 12 other researchers newly appointed as Canada Research Chairs, and three others just had their appointments renewed, bringing the university’s total to 186 researchers funded by the prestigious government program.