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Economic and Consumer Psychology


Entry requirements

All 60 ec of the first-year in Psychology obtained.


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

Semester 1: Lectures Work group sessions Exams

Semester 2: Lectures Work group sessions Exams



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


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 book Social Cognition (Fiske & Taylor, 2013) and the information presented in lectures and on Blackboard is part of the examination material. The examination is in English. Work group sessions are in Dutch or English.

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. 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

  • Fiske, S. T., & Taylor, S. E. (2013). Social Cognition (3rd 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.

Seminar 2

  • Florack, A., Friese, M., & Scarabis, M. (2010). Regulatory focus and reliance on implicit preferences in consumption contexts. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 20(2), 193-204.

  • Lee, A. Y., Keller, P. A., & Sternthal, B. (2010). Value from regulatory construal fit: The persuasive impact of fit between consumer goals and message concreteness. Journal of Consumer Research, 36(5), 735-747.

  • Loersch, C., Durso, G. R., & Petty, R. E. (2013). Vicissitudes of desire: A matching mechanism for subliminal persuasion. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 624-631.

Seminar 3

  • 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.

Seminar 4

  • 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), 1304-1317.

  • Sivanathan, N., & Pettit, N. C. (2010). Protecting the self through consumption: Status goods as affirmational commodities. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46(3), 564-570.

Seminar 5

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Petty, R. E., & Brinol, P. (2008). Persuasion: From single to multiple to metacognitive processes. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3(2), 137-147.

Seminar 7

  • • Aaker, J., Vohs, K. D., & Mogilner, C. (2010). Nonprofits are seen as warm and for-profits as competent: Firm stereotypes matter. Journal of Consumer Research, 37(2), 224-237.

  • 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.

  • 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. Arianne van der Wal