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Emotions and (Ir)rationality in Economic Behaviour


Entry requirements

Only open to master’s students in Psychology with specialisation Economic and Consumer Psychology.


Emotions are important aspects of human lives, but how do they function in economic behaviour? “Does envy increase the price we are willing to pay for a product?” “Does anticipated regret make us choose for safe options?” “Does disappointment with a service lead to negative word-of-mouth” “Do we shop more when we feel lousy?” These questions (and many more) will be addressed in this course. During the course, which consists of seminars, students are encouraged to actively think about the assigned readings by developing discussion questions for each meeting. During the course students will be given several written assignments in which they are asked to apply emotion theoretical ideas in the context of economic and consumer behaviour.

Course objectives

Upon completion of the course, students:

  • Have specialized knowledge of theories, concepts, methods, and research findings central to the study of emotions in social contexts relevant to economic and consumer behaviour;

  • Can apply emotion theories to economic and consumer behaviour;

  • Have developed further scientific thinking about emotions through reviewing, evaluating, and discussing literature on emotions; and

  • Have developed further academic skills through presenting empirical articles and discussion topics on emotions.


For the timetables of your lectures, work groups and exams, please select your study programme in:
Psychology timetables



Students need to enroll for lectures and work group sessions.
Master’s course 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

8 seminars of 3 hours (attendance of all seminars is mandatory).

Assessment method

Written assignments (40%), presentations (20%), and final paper (40%).

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural 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.

Reading list

  • Adolphs, R. (2010). Emotion. Current Biology, 20, 549–552.

  • Lerner, J. S., Li, Y., Valdesole, P., & Kassam, K. S. (2015). Emotion and decision making. Annual Review of Psychology, 66, 799–823.

  • Kemp, E., & Kopp, S. W. (2011). Emotion regulation consumption; When feeling better is the aim. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 10, 1–7.

  • Sivanathan, N., & Pettit, N. C. (2010). Protecting the self through consumption: Status goods as affirmational commodities. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 564–570.

  • Mukherjee, A., & Dubé, L. (2012). Mixing emotions: The use of humor in fear advertising. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 11, 147–161.

  • Dunn, L., & Hoegg, J. (2014). The impact of fear on emotional brand attachment. Journal of Consumer Research, 41, 152–168.

  • Rubaltelli, E., & Agnoli, S. (2012). The emotional cost of charitable donations. Cognition & Emotion, 26, 769–785.

  • Dunn, E. W., Aknin, L. B., & Norton, M. I. (2014). Prosocial spending and happiness: Using money to benefit others pays off. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23, 41–47.

  • Handgraaf, M., Van Lidth de Jeude, M., & Appelt, K. (2013). Public Praise vs. Private Pay: Effects of Rewards on Energy Conservation in the Workplace. Ecological Economics, 86, 86–92.

  • Newman, G. E., & Cain, D. M. (2014) Tainted Altruism: When doing some good is evaluated as worse than doing no good at all. Psychological Science, 25, 648–655.

  • Bougie, R., Pieters, R., & Zeelenberg, M. (2003). Angry customers don’t come back, they get back: The experience and behavioural implications of anger and dissatisfaction in services. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 31, 377–393.

  • Gregoire, Y., & Fisher, R. (2008). Customer betrayal and retaliation: When your best customers become your worst enemies. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 36, 247–261.

  • He, H., & Harris, L. (2014). Moral disengagement of hotel guest negative WOM: Moral identity centrality, moral awareness, and anger. Annals of Tourism Research, 45, 132–151.

  • May, F., Monga, A. B., & Kalaignaman, K. (2015). Consumer responses to brand failures: The neglected role of honor values. Brand Meaning Management. Published online: 05 May 2015; 257–291.

  • Lelieveld. G.-J., Van Dijk, E., Van Beest, I., & Van Kleef, G. A. (2013). Does communicating disappointment in negations help or hurt? Solving an apparent inconsistency in the social-functional approach to emotions (2013). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105, 605–620.

  • Hendriks, H., Van den Putte, B., & De Bruijn, G.-J. (2013). Changing the conversation: The influence of emotions on conversational valence and alcohol consumption. Prevention Science, 15, 625–633.

  • Kim, J., & Gupta, P. (2012). Emotional expressions in online user reviews: How they influence consumers’ product evaluations. Journal of Business Research, 65, 985–992.

  • McGraw, P. A., Warren, C., & Kan. C. (2015). Humorous complaining. Journal of Consumer Research, 41, 1153–1171.

  • Hofmann, W, & Van Dillen, L. F. (2012). Desire: The new hot spot in self-control research. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21, 317–322.

  • Hofmann, W., Vohs, K. D., & Baumeister, R. F. (2012). What people desire, feel conflicted about, and try to resists in everyday life. Psychological Science, 23, 582–588.

  • Wilcox, K. Kramer, T., & Sen, S. (2011). Indulgence or self-Control: A dual process model of the effect of incidental pride on indulgent Choice. Journal of Consumer Research, 38, 151–163.

  • Goldsmith, K., Cho, E. K., & Dhar, R. (2012). When guilt begets pleasure: The positive effects of a negative emotion. Journal of Marketing Research, 49, 872–881.

  • Mani, A., Mullainathan, S., Sharif, E., & Zhao, J. (2013). Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function. Science, 341, 976–980.

  • Van der Wal, R., & Van Dillen, L. F. (2013). Leaving a flat taste in your mouth. Task load reduces taste perception. Psychological Science, 24, 1277-1284.

  • Van Dillen, L. F., Papies, E. K., Hofmann, W. (2013). Turning a blind eye to temptation: How cognitive load can facilitate self-regulation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104, 427443.

Contact information

Prof. dr. Wilco van Dijk