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The Psychology of Selling and Advertising


Admission requirements

Master’s students Psychology with specialisation Economic and Consumer Psychology


Course contents and goals:

One of the most important findings in Economic and Consumer Psychology is that consumer preferences are not stable, but rather are influenced by many different contextual factors, both consciously and unconsciously. In this course, you will read scientific literature on how and when consumer preferences for products are influenced by advertising. Furthermore, you will learn how to apply the insights from this literature to other contexts and sell and advertise products effectively.

Assume that you worked hard to develop a new product. What is the best way to make consumers buy your product? What is the best way to advertise it? What cues can you best use to deliver your message? And what are the pitfalls of “bad” advertising?

This course will focus on these and other questions, and on how the scientific literature can help in answering them. To reach this aim, we will read classic and recent journal articles, which we will relate to real-life examples of selling and advertising. Moreover, we will teach the basics of the Marketing perspective on selling and advertising. You will write research ideas, present an article and give a group presentation where you pitch your idea to sell a product. At the end of the course students will have gained more insight in the psychology of selling and advertising and will be able to use their insights in practice.

Course objectives

  • Students have the knowledge of classic and recent findings on the psychology of selling and advertising.

  • Students are able to put these scientific insights into practice.

  • Students are able to use these insights to present their own products effectively.

  • Students have the tools to build a well-founded marketing strategy


The Psychology of Selling and Advertising (2014-2015):



Students need to enroll for lectures and work group sessions. Please consult the Instructions registration


Students are not automatically enrolled for an examination. They can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the date; students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination. Registering for exams

Mode of instruction

Seminars (attendance of meetings is obligatory).

Assessment method

Written assignments, individual and group presentations.

The Faculty of Social Sciences has instituted that instructors use a software programme for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. In case of fraud disciplinary actions will be taken. Please see the information concerning fraud


Information on

Reading list

N.B. This list contains conditional readings.

Workgroup 1: Strategy: Psychology of price

1) Lynch, J. G., & Ariely, D. (2000). Wine online: Search costs affect competition on price, quality, and distribution. Marketing Science, 19, 83-103.
2) Zeelenberg, M., & Van Putten, M. (2005). The dark side of discounts: An inaction inertia perspective on the post-promotion dip. Psychology & Marketing, 22, 611-622.
3) Shampanier, K., Mazar, N., & Ariely, D. (2007). Zero as a special price: The true value of free products. Marketing Science, 26, 742 -757.
4) Van de Ven, N., Zeelenberg, M., & Pieters, R. (2011). The envy premium in product evaluation. Journal of Consumer Research, 37(6), 984-998. doi: 10.1086/657239

Workgroup 2: Consumer goals and brand identity

5) Aaker, J. (1997). Dimensions and brand personality. Journal of Marketing Research, 34, 347-356.
6) Chernev, A. (2004). Goal-attribute compatibility in consumer choice. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 14, 141-150, 2004.
7) Dhar, R., & Wertenbroch, K. (2000). Consumer choice between hedonic and utilitarian goods. Journal of Marketing Research, 37, 60-71.
8) Strick, M., Van Baaren, R. B., Holland, R. W., & Van Knippenberg, A. (2009). Humor in advertisements enhances product liking by mere association. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 15, 35-45.

Workgroup 3: Psychology of positioning

9) Simonson, I. (1989). Choice based on reasons: The case of attraction and compromise effects. Journal of Consumer Research, 16, 158-174.
10) Nedungadi, P. (1990). Recall and consumer consideration sets. Journal of Consumer Research, 17, 263-276.
11) Wanke, M., Bless, H., & Igou, E. R. (2001). Next to a star: Paling, shining, or both? Turning interexemplar contrast into interexemplar assimilation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27(1), 14-29. doi: 10.1177/0146167201271002
12) Van Horen, F. & Pieters, R. (2012). When high-similarity copycats lose and moderate-similarity copycats gain: The impact of comparative evaluation. Journal of Marketing Research, 49, 83-91.

Workgroup 4: Conscious and unconscious communication

13) Fang, X., Singh, S., & Ahluwalia, R. (2007). An examination of different explanations for the mere exposure effect. Journal of Consumer Research, 34, 97-103.
14) Lee, A. Y., & Labroo, A. A. (2004). The effect of conceptual and perceptual fluency on brand evaluation. Journal of Marketing Research, 41, 151-165.
15) Nordhielm, C. L. (2002). The influence of level of processing on advertising repetition effects. Journal of Consumer Research, 29, 371-382.
16) Shapiro, S., & Krishnan, H. S. (2001). Memory-based measures for assessing advertising effects: A comparison of explicit and implicit memory effects. Journal of Advertising, 30, 1-13.
17) Duff, B. R. L., & Faber, R. J. (2011). Missing the mark: Advertising avoidance and distractor devaluation. Journal of Advertising, 40, 51-62.

Contact information

Dr. Marijke van Putten (semester 1)
Room 2A-13A
Tel: 071 5276845