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Consumer Psychology


Admission requirements

First year Psychology course Social and Organisational Psychology completed or comparable course. For more information contact the student counsellor of Psychology.


Consumers and their behaviour are becoming more and more important nowadays. Through marketing and advertising companies try to influence consumers in their choices. This is not limited to questions concerning how to motivate consumers to buy a (new) product, but, for example, also includes questions related to how to enhance satisfaction of consumers. On a more general level consumers’ satisfaction has been regarded as an indicator of (future) economic growth. The sometimes whimsical behaviour a consumers becomes more and more a deciding factor (think about the stock market). But how do consumers make decisions and what drives their behaviour? In this course insights from social psychology and consumer behaviour are integrated and a broad range of topics is covered–the construal of judgments and decisions, automatic processes, sexual and humorous marketing, affective and cognitive feelings, and social norms. The course provides insight in the way consumer decisions are made and is therefore relevant for students, who are interested in the interplay between marketing, psychology and consumer behaviour.

Course objectives

By the end of the course students will be expected to understand the key concepts and theories presented in the course and are expected to be able to apply these to issues relevant to consumer behaviour.


Consumer Psychology (2013-2014):

Mode of instruction

  • Seven lectures

  • Exam

Assessment method

Final exam with 40 multiple-choice questions in English. The information presented in lectures will be part of the exam material.


Information on

Reading list

  • W. D. Hoyer & D. J. MacInnis (2009). Consumer Behavior (5th, International Edition). Publisher: South Western College (ISBN-10: 0324834276; ISBN-13: 978-0324834277)

  • Fennis, B. M., & Janssen, L. (2010). Mindlessness revisited: sequential request techniques foster compliance by draining self-control resources. Current Psychology, 29, 235–246.

  • Goldstein, N. J., Cialdini, R. B., & Griskevicius, V. (2008). A room with a viewpoint: Using social norms to motivate environmental conservation in hotels. Journal of Consumer Research, 35, 472-482.

  • Hansen, J., Strick, M., Van Baaren, R., Hooghuis, M., & Wigboldus, D. H. J. (2009). Exploring memory for product names advertised with humour. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 8, 135-148.

  • Holland, R. W., Hendriks, M., & Aarts, H. (2005). Smells like clean spirit: Nonconscious effects of scent on cognition and behavior. Psychological Science, 16, 689-693.

  • Karremans, J. C., Stroebe, W., & Claus, J. (2006). Beyond Vicary’s fantasies: The impact of subliminal priming and brand choice. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 792-798.

  • Nelissen, R. M. A., & Meijers, M. H. C. (2012). Social benefits of luxury brands as costly signals of wealth and status. Evolution and Human Behavior, 32, 343-355.

  • North, A. C., Hargreaves, D. J., & McKendrick, J. (1999). The influence of in-store music on wine selections. Journal of Applied Psychology, 84, 271-276.

  • Rucker, D. D., & Galinsky, A. D. (2008). Desire to Acquire: Powerlessness and Compensatory Consumption. Journal of Consumer Research, 35, 257-267.

  • Rucker, D. D., & Galinsky, A. D. (2009). Conspicuous consumption versus utilitarian ideals: How different levels of power shape consumption. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 549-555.

  • Schultz, P. W., Nolan, J. M., Cialdini, R. B., Goldstein, N. J., & Griskevicius, V. (2007). The constructive, destructive, and reconstructive power of social norms. Psychological Science, 18, 429-434.

  • Schwartz, B., Ward, A., Monterosso, J., Lyubomirsky, S., White, K., & Lehman, D. R. (2002). Maximizing versus satisficing: Happiness is a matter of choice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 1178-1197.

  • Song, H., & Schwarz, N. (2008). If it’s hard to read, it’s hard to do: Processing fluency affects effort prediction and motivation. Psychological Science, 19, 986-988.

  • Song, H., & Schwarz, N. (2009). If it’s difficult-to-pronounce, it must be risky: Fluency, familiarity, and risk perception. Psychological Science, 20, 135-138.

  • 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.

  • Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1974). Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases, Science, 185, 1124-1131.

  • Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1981). The framing of decisions and the psychology of choice, Science, 211, 453-458.

  • Van Baaren, R. B., Holland, R. W., Steenaert, B., & Van Knippenberg, A. (2003). Mimicry for money: Behavioral consequences of imitation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 39, 393-398.

  • Wänke, M., Bohner, G., & Jurkowitsch, A. (1997). There are many reasons to drive a BMW: Does imagined ease of argument generation influence attitudes? Journal of Consumer Research, 24, 70-77.


Exam registration

Registration for the (re)exam is not automatic. Students, who haven’t registered, cannot participate in the (re)exam

Electives students

You have to enroll for each course separately.

Contact information

Dr. W. van Dijk
Room 2 A21
Tel: 071 5276844