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Economic and Consumer Psychology


Entry requirements

First-year examination in Psychology


Economic and consumer behaviour is to a large extent social behaviour, which means that understanding social cognition is essential to understanding economic and consumer behaviour. This course provides advanced knowledge of social cognition (theories, paradigms, empirical findings) and of how this knowledge can in turn be applied to understand and influence economic and consumer behaviour. The course consists of 2 complementary parts: lectures and work group sessions. The lectures will provide a solid theoretical basis in social cognition. The work group sessions consist of discussion meetings on assigned readings. The discussions are initiated by students’ presentations of the topics. Students are encouraged to think actively about the assigned readings and topics by developing essay questions for each work group session. Moreover, during the course students are required to write and review a paper in which the theoretical ideas of the course are applied to a relevant question in the field of economic and consumer psychology.

Course objectives

Upon completion of the course, students can:

  • recognize and reproduce knowledge about the most important theories, paradigms, and empirical findings in the field of social cognition;

  • apply knowledge on social cognition to understand and analyse economic and consumer behaviour; and

  • explain, discuss, and report on problems regarding economic and consumer behaviour and has further developed his or her academic skills through reading, presenting, assessing, and discussing recent literature on economic and consumer behaviour.


For the timetables of your lectures, workgroups, and exams, select your study programme.
Psychology timetables

Work group sessions



Students need to register for lectures, workgroups and exams.
Instructions for registration in courses for the 2nd and 3rd year

For information on registration periods consult the bachelor course registration


Elective students have to enroll for each course separately. For admission requirements contact your study advisor.

Exchange/Study abroad

For admission requirements, please contact your exchange coordinator.


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 2-hour lectures and 8 2-hour mandatory work group sessions.

Assessment method

Examination consisting of multiple-choice and essay questions (50%) and work group sessions assignments (50%). The information presented in lectures and on Blackboard is part of the examination material.

Regulations on grade calculations

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

  • Fiske, S. T., & Taylor, S. E. (2013). Social Cognition (2nd edition)

Seminar 1

  • Wänke, M. (2009). What’s social about consumer behavior? In: M. Wänke (Ed.), Social psychology of consumer
    behavior (pp. 3-18). New York: Psychology Press.

  • Crusius, J., van Horen, F., & Mussweiler, T. (2012). Why process matters: A social cognition perspective on
    economic behavior. Journal of Economic Psychology, 33(3), 677-685.

  • Dijksterhuis, A., Smith, P. K., van Baaren, R. B., & Wigboldus, D. H. J. (2005). The unconscious consumer:
    Effects of environment on consumer behavior. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 15, 193-202.

  • Chartrand, T. L. (2005). The role of conscious awareness in consumer behavior. Journal of Consumer
    Psychology, 15(3), 203-210.

Seminar 2

  • 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(6), 792-798.

  • Bermeitinger, C., Goelz, R., Johr, N., Neumann, M., Ecker, U. K., & Doerr, R. (2009). The hidden persuaders
    break into the tired brain. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45(2), 320-326.

  • Verwijmeren, T., Karremans, J. C., Stroebe, W., & Wigboldus, D. H. (2011). The workings and limits of subliminal
    advertising: The role of habits. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 21(2), 206-213

  • Kopetz, C. E., Kruglanski, A. W., Arens, Z. G., Etkin, J., & Johnson, H. M. (2012). The dynamics of consumer
    behavior: A goal systemic perspective. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 22(2), 208-223.

  • Kruglanski, A. W., Chernikova, M., Rosenzweig, E., & Kopetz, C. (2014). On motivational readiness. Psychological Review, 121(3), 367.

Seminar 3

  • Van Koningsbruggen, G. M., Stroebe, W., & Aarts, H. (2011). Through the eyes of dieters: Biased size
    perception of food following tempting food primes. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47(2), 293-299.

  • Dunning, D., & Balcetis, E. (2013). Wishful seeing how preferences shape visual perception. Current Directions
    in Psychological Science, 22(1), 33-37.

  • Krishna, A. (2012). An integrative review of sensory marketing: Engaging the senses to affect perception,
    judgment and behavior. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 22(3), 332-351.

  • Topolinski, S., Lindner, S., & Freudenberg, A. (2014). Popcorn in the cinema: Oral interference sabotages
    advertising effects. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 24(2), 169-176.

  • Bruner, J. S. & Goodman, C. C. (1947). Value and need as organizing factors in perception. Journal of Abnormal
    and Social Psychology, 42, 33-44.

Seminar 4

  • Pettit, N. C., & Sivanathan, N. (2011). The plastic trap self-threat drives credit usage and status
    consumption. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2(2), 146-153.

  • Carter, T. J., & Gilovich, T. (2012). I am what I do, not what I have: the differential centrality of experiential and
    material purchases to the self. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102(6), 1304.

  • Belk, R. W. (2013). Extended self in a digital world. Journal of Consumer Research, 40(3), 477-500.

  • Kim, K., & Johnson, M. K. (2013). Extended self: spontaneous activation of medial prefrontal cortex by objects
    that are ‘mine’. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 9(7), 1006-1012.

Seminar 5

  • Kruger, J., Wirtz, D., Van Boven, L., & Altermatt, T. W. (2004). The effort heuristic. Journal of Experimental
    Social Psychology, 40(1), 91-98.

  • Cho, H., & Schwarz, N. (2008). Of great art and untalented artists: Effort information and the flexible construction of judgmental heuristics. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 18(3), 205-211.

  • Loschelder, D. D., Stuppi, J., & Trötschel, R. (2013). “€ 14,875?!”: Precision boosts the anchoring potency of first
    offers. Social Psychological and Personality Science. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/

  • Slovic, P., Finucane, M., Peters, E., & MacGregor, D. G. (2002). Rational actors or rational fools: Implications of
    the affect heuristic for behavioral economics. The Journal of Socio-Economics, 31(4), 329-342.

Seminar 6

  • Briñol, P. & Petty, R. E (2003). Overt head movements and persuasion: A self-validation analysis. Journal of
    Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 1123-1139. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.84.6.1123

  • Schneider, I. K., Eerland, A., van Harreveld, F., Rotteveel, M., van der Pligt, J., Van der Stoep, N., & Zwaan, R.
    A. (2013). One way and the other the bidirectional relationship between ambivalence and body movement. Psychological Science, 319-325. doi:10.1177/0956797612457393

  • Bullens, L., van Harreveld, F., Förster, J., & van der Pligt, J. (2013). Reversible decisions: The grass isn’t merely
    greener on the other side; it’s also very brown over here. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49(6), 1093-1099. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2013.07.011

  • Briñol, P., & Petty, R. E. (2012). The history of attitudes and persuasion research. In A. Kruglanski & W. Stroebe
    (Eds.), Handbook of the history of social psychology (pp. 285-320). New York: Psychology Press.

Seminar 7

  • Kubota, J. T., Li, J., Bar-David, E., Banaji, M. R., & Phelps, E. A. (2013). The price of racial bias: Intergroup
    negotiations in the ultimatum game. Psychological Science, 24(12), 2498-2504.

  • Mazzocco, P. J., Rucker, D. D., Galinsky, A. D., & Anderson, E. T. (2012). Direct and vicarious conspicuous
    consumption: Identification with low-status groups increases the desire for high-status goods. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 22(4), 520-528.

  • Reutner, L., Hansen, J., & Greifeneder, R. (2015). The cold heart: Reminders of money cause feelings of
    physical coldness. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 490-495.

  • Yang, Q., Wu, X., Zhou, X., Mead, N. L., Vohs, K. D., & Baumeister, R. F. (2013). Diverging effects of clean
    versus dirty money on attitudes, values, and interpersonal behavior. Journal of Personality and Social
    Psychology, 104(3), 473-489.

  • Kervyn, N., Fiske, S. T., & Malone, C. (2012). Brands as intentional agents framework: How perceived intentions
    and ability can map brand perception. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 22(2), 166-167.

  • Aggarwal, P., & Mcgill, A. L. (2012). When brands seem human, do humans act like brands? Automatic
    behavioral priming effects of brand anthropomorphism. Journal of Consumer Research, 39(2), 307-323.

Seminar 8

  • Lelieveld, G. J., Van Dijk, E., Van Beest, I., Steinel, W., & Van Kleef, G. A. (2011). Disappointed in you, angry
    about your offer: Distinct negative emotions induce concessions via different mechanisms. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47(3), 635-641.

  • Fehr, E., & Gächter, S. (2002). Altruistic punishment in humans. Nature, 415(6868), 137-140.

  • Seip, E. C., van Dijk, W. W., & Rotteveel, M. (2009). On hotheads and dirty harries. Annals of the New York
    Academy of Sciences, 1167(1), 190-196.

  • Scherer, K. R. (2011). On the rationality of emotions: or, When are emotions rational? Social Science
    Information, 50(3-4), 330-350.

  • Van Kleef, G. A., Van Doorn, E. A., Heerdink, M. W., & Koning, L. F. (2011). Emotion is for influence. European
    Review of Social Psychology, 22(1), 114-163.

Contact information

Dr. D.T. Scheepers