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Psychology of Advertising


Entry requirements

Students must have completed the first-year Psychology course in Social and Organisational Psychology or a comparable course (only for students outside of the bachelor programme Psychology)


Advertising is a powerful force, seducing consumers into buying wanted and sometimes unwanted products and services, donating to charity or changing our health-related lifestyles for better or worse. The impact of advertising is often subtle and implicit, but sometimes blatant and impossible to overlook. This course discusses key topics from the fields of social and consumer psychology and addresses questions such as: what is the impact of advertising on consumer behaviour? Which psychological processes make advertising effective? How do consumers make sense of advertising messages? And how do new online and digital technologies affect consumer behavior?

The course provides an overview of psychological findings on the impact of advertising and discusses this research in the context of recent developments in the field of psychology. The course provides greater insight into how consumer decisions are made and is therefore relevant for students who are interested in the interplay between marketing, psychology, and consumer behaviour.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, the student will be able to:

  • recognise and reproduce knowledge about the most important theories in the field of the psychology of advertising

  • recognise and reproduce knowledge about the most important paradigms in the field of the psychology of advertising

  • recognise and reproduce knowledge about the most important empirical findings in the field of the psychology of advertising

  • apply this knowledge of the psychology of advertising to understand consumer behaviour

  • apply this knowledge of the psychology of advertising to analyse consumer behaviour


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable



Students must register themselves for all course components (lectures, tutorials and practicals) they wish to follow. You can register up to 5 days prior to the start of the course. The exception here is that first-year bachelor students are assigned and registered for all components in the first semester or academic year by the administration of their bachelor programme. The programme will communicate to these students for which course components and for which period the registration applies.


You must register for each exam in My Studymap at least 10 days before the exam date. Don’t forget! For more information, see the enrolment procedure.
You cannot take an exam without a valid registration in My Studymap.

Carefully read all information about the procedures and deadlines for registering for courses and exams.

Students who take this course as part of a LDE minor or a premaster programme, exchange students and external guest students will be informed by the education administration about the current registration procedure.

Mode of instruction

8 2-hour lectures

Assessment method

Final exam with 40 multiple-choice and 2 essay questions. The multiple-choice questions count for 80% of the grade and the essay questions count for 20% of the grade. The reading materials and the information presented in lectures will be part of the exam material.

The Institute of Psychology uses fixed rules for grade calculation and compulsory attendance. It also follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. All students are required to take and pass the Scientific Integrity Test with a score of 100% in order to learn about the practice of integrity in scientific writing. Students are given access to the quiz via a module on Brightspace. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of these three policies.

Reading list

  • Fennis, B. M., & Stroebe, W. (2021). The Psychology of Advertising (3rd edition). Psychology Press.

Contact information

Dr. G. J. Lelieveld