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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 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. 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 (2012-2013):

Mode of instruction

Seminars (attendance of meetings is obligatory).

Assessment method

Written assignments, individual and group presentations.

From January 1, 2006 the Faculty of Social Sciences has instituted the Ephorus system to be used by instructors for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. Please see the information concerning fraud .


Information on

Reading list

Workgroup 1: Exposure & Attention, Literature:

  • Fang, X., Singh, S., & Ahluwalia, R. (2007). An examination of different explanations for the mere exposure effect. Journal of Consumer Research, 34, 97-103.

  • Campbell, M. C., & Keller, K.L. (2003). Brand familiarity and advertising repetition effects. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 30, 292-304.

  • Lee, A. Y., & Labroo, A. A. (2004). The effect of conceptual and perceptual fluency on brand evaluation. Journal of Marketing Research, 41, 151-165.

  • Verwijmeren, T., Karremans, J. C., Stroebe, W., & Wigboldus, D. H. J. (2010). The workings and limits of subliminal advertising: The role of habits. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 21, 206-213.

Workgroup 2: Context Literature:

  • Simonson, I. (1989). Choice based on reasons: The case of attraction and compromise effects. Journal of Consumer Research, 16, 158-174.

  • Janiszewski, C. (1990). The influence of print advertisement organization on affect toward a brand name. Journal of Consumer Research, 17, 53-65.

  • Duff, B. R. L., & Faber, R. J. (2011). Missing the mark: Advertising avoidance and distractor devaluation. Journal of Advertising, 40, 51-62.

  • 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: Memory, Literature:

  • Nedungadi, P. (1990). Recall and consumer consideration sets. Journal of Consumer Research, 17, 263-276.

  • Kumar, A., & Krishnan, S. (2004). Memory interference in advertising: A replication and extension. Journal of Consumer Research, 30, 602-611.

  • Yang M., Roskos-Ewoldsen D. R., Dinu L., & Arpan, L. M. (2001). The effectiveness of “in-game” advertising – Comparing college students’ explicit and implicit memory for brand names. Journal of Advertising, 35, 143-152.

  • Escalas, J. E. (2007). Self referencing and persuasion: Narrative transportation versus analytical elaboration. Journal of Consumer Research, 33, 421-429.

Workgroup 4: Behavior Literature:

  • Chernev, A. (2006). Goal-attribute compatibility in consumer choice. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 14, 141-150, 2004. Available at SSRN:

  • Dhar, R., & Wertenbroch, K. (2000). Consumer choice between hedonic and utilitarian goods. Journal of Marketing Research, 37, 60-71.

  • Wood, S. L. (2001). Remote purchase environments: The influence of return policy leniency on two-stage decision processes. Journal of Marketing Research, 38, 157-169.

  • 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.


Course enrolment

Students need to enrol for the course via uSis on the master’s introduction and course enrolment day that takes place at the start of each semester. Please, consult the master’s agenda Psychology.

Contact information

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