Public Defence of Elzė Marija Uždavinytė Doctoral Dissertation



Date: 10 a.m. on the 12th of September 2023

Location: ISM University of Management and Economics, room 102. Gediminas av. 7, Vilnius, Lithuania.


Prof. dr. Justina Baršytė (Vilnius University, ISM University of Management and Economics, Social Sciences, Management – S 003).

About Doctoral Dissertation:

While we know a lot about the effects of external and internal factors driving (un)heathy eating, research still has to offer more valid and powerful ways how to guide consumers and convince them to make better eating choices. The line of work on health-related behaviour has little addressed evolutionary, personal, and social identity perspectives. This dissertation aims to understand (1) how to reconcile mixed findings of the previous literature, showing that consumers prefer products with small companies’ cues vs. large companies’ cues (2) how to reconcile conflicting findings, showing that overachievers can serve as a source of inspiration to improve own behaviour or as a trigger for reactance. To reach this aim I apply the evolutionary psychology perspective, specifically, proximate and ultimate consumer motives relevant to health-related behaviour. In addition, I analyse two distinct identity perspectives – personal identity related to individuals’ traits (in this case general sensitivity to disease and consumer social responsibility) as well as social identity (related to group membership). The empirical evidence shows that consumers tend to evaluate small size company products as healthier than large size company products and it also has a downstream positive effect on consumer willingness to buy. In addition, this dissertation investigated whether the effectiveness of overachieving behaviour depends on the overachiever’s group membership. The findings of this dissertation provided evidence that being exposed to overachievers presented with in-group membership causes a backfiring effect when people are less willing to follow overachievers’ behaviour. Moreover, I explored the underlying mechanism explaining why the behaviour of the overachievers part of the in-group, but not the out-group, backfires. The empirical evidence suggested that this effect is driven by distancing from the group. The results of this dissertation shows that certain health-related behaviors are based on personal identity characteristics, other behaviors are determined by our social identity, furthermore, the understanding of health-related consumer behavior can be enriched by looking through the evolutionary psychology perspective.

Defense board members


Prof. dr. Viltė Auruškevičienė (ISM University of Management and Economics, Social Sciences, Management – S 003)


Prof. dr. Vita Akstinaitė (ISM University of Management and Economics, Social Sciences, Management – S 003)
Prof. dr. Yannick Joye (Vilnius University, Social Sciences, Management – S 003)
Assoc. prof. Giacomo Marzi (IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca, Italy, Social Sciences, Management – S 003)
Prof. dr. Sigitas Urbonavičius, (Vilnius University, Social Sciences, Management – S 003)


The dissertation is available at the Martynas Mažvydas National library and the Library of ISM University of Management and Economics.