Consumer Behavior Summer School

Summer School


  1. Expose students to the main theoretical and substantive research areas conducted in consumer behavior research.
  2. Provide students with a strong foundation for critical thinking in the area of consumer behavior.
  3. Provide insight into how a consumer behavior paper is written.



In preparation for each class, all students are expected to carefully read a set of assigned readings. There are two types of readings: “discussion papers” and “background readings”. Students are required to read all of the discussion papers as we will spend the majority of the time discussing these articles and exploring promising avenues for related future research. The background readings will provide students with additional information on the topic if they are interested in learning more.

Class Discussion:

We will spend a large portion of class time focusing on the assigned discussion papers. For each topic, students will be expected to submit one discussion question to me by 9pm the night before the class discussion. The discussion question can be about a specific article, a combination of the articles, or focus on the topic area. Students should come to class prepared to share their questions with their classmates.

In addition to submitting a discussion question, students will be asked to come prepared to advocate for and critique against the assigned articles. In order to advocate for a paper, students should identify some positive aspects for the work and think about why the assigned article merited publication. As a critic, students should seek to identify the weakness(es) of the work and explain why they believe the weakness(es) limit the research. Unlike the discussion question students are NOT expected to submit their thoughts on the articles’ strengths and weaknesses prior to class.

Thought Papers:

Students will be expected to prepare a thought paper for a minimum of three of the topics we cover (please feel free to do more if you would like!). The thought paper is designed to help develop skills of identifying interesting future research ideas and to practice communicating ideas in a coherent written fashion. The structure of the paper should involve identifying a specific new research question that extends, or is otherwise inspired by, the work reported in the assigned articles. Further, students will be expected to justify why the proposed idea is interesting and important to consider.

Thought papers are due by 9 pm the evening before the day we cover the topic. The papers should be submitted to me by e-mail in a Word document (2-3 pages, double spaced, Times New Roman 12-point font, 1 inch margins) for each paper. Late submissions will not be marked.

The submissions will be marked on the following scale:

  • Fail: 0 points
  • Pass: 1 point
  • Outstanding: 2 points

Note that I will mark a thought paper as “outstanding” only if it significantly exceeds my standard for acceptable submissions. I will provide feedback on each of the submitted thought papers. In addition, during each class discussion I will ask some students to share their thought paper idea with their classmates. When asked students will be asked to present a brief overview of their idea and then the class will discuss it. The goal is for students to have a “workable” idea from most of the thought papers they write.

Research Proposal

Students will be expected to submit a research proposal for a major study (or multiple studies, where appropriate) on a novel and important question or topic in the area of consumer behavior. This proposal should include:

1. A statement of motivation for the proposed research. (Why should anybody care about the outcomes of this research?)

2. A clear statement of the purpose of the research. (What is the objective of the research).

3. A statement of the intended contribution of the proposed research. (How will it improve our understanding of the phenomenon of interest?)

4. A thorough review of the relevant bodies of literature. (What has already been done in relevant areas of research?)

5. A theoretical framework for the proposed work. (What are the relevant theories, and how is the proposed research enhancing, integrating, or applying them?)

6. A set of research hypotheses. (What are the specific predictions, in connection with the theoretical framework, that is proposed to be tested?)

7. A detailed description of the research method that is proposed to test the hypotheses. (Including experimental design, environment, tasks, stimuli, instruments for measuring responses, and specific plans for data collection and data analysis.)

This assignment is designed to result in a working draft of the front end for a paper. Students will be given an opportunity to share their research proposal idea in class on the final day. During this time, students will be expected to communicate the core idea of their work and then solicit feedback from their classmates and myself. Final papers will be due one month later.

Topics (schedule)

Day 1

  • AM: Introduction and Motivation/Personality
  • PM: Attention and Perception

Day 2

  • AM: Decision-Making
  • PM: Memory and Learning

Day 3

  • AM: Attitudes/Persuasion
  • PM:  research paper ideas and discussion of emerging research topics


Final marks will be based on performance in three domains. The percentages below show the importance that each of these three components.

Thought papers (3 @ 5% each)                    - 15%

Class Participation/Preparation                   - 35%

Research Proposal                                       - 50%


Introduction, Motivation, and Personality

Belk, Russell W. (1988), “Possessions and the Extended Self,” Journal of Consumer Research, 15(September), 139-68.

Holbrook, Morris B. (1987), “What is Consumer Research,” Journal of Consumer Research, 14(June), 128-32.

Howard John A. and Jagdish N. Sheth (1967), “A Theory of Buyer Behavior,” New York, NY: Wiley.

Huang, Szu-chi (2018), “Social Information: When, Why, and How it is Costly in Goal Pursuit,” Journal of Marketing Research, 55(3), 382-95.

Attention and Perception

Atasoy, Ozgun and Carey K. Morewedge (2018), “Digital Goods Are Valued Less Than Physical Goods,” Journal of Consumer Research, 44(6), 1343-57.

Bargh, John A. and Tanya L. Chartrand (1999) “The Unbearable Automaticity of Being,” American Psychologist, 54, 462-79.

Lembregts, Christophe and Bram Van Den Bergh (2019), “Making Each Unit Count: The Role of Discretizing Units in Quantity Expressions,” Journal of Consumer Research, 45(5), 1051-67.

Shiv, Baba, Ziv Carmon, and Dan Ariely (2005), “Placebo Effects of Marketing Actions: Consumers May Get What They Pay For,” Journal of Marketing Research, 42, 383-93.


Bettman, James R., Mary Francis Luce, John Payne (1998), “Constructive Consumer Choice Processes,” Journal of Consumer Research, 187-217.

Grewal, Lauren and Andrew T. Stephen (2019), “In Mobile We Trust: The Effects of Mobile Versus Nonmobile Reviews on Consumer Purchase Intentions,” Journal of Marketing Research, 56(5), 791-808.

Shiv, Baba and Alexander Fedorikhin (1999), “Heart and Mind in Conflict: The Interplay of Affect and Cognition on Choice Behavior,” Journal of Consumer Research, 26(3), 278-92.

Simonson, Itamar (1989), “Choice Based on Reasons: The Case of Attraction and Compromise Effects,” Journal of Consumer Research, 16 (September), 158-74.

Ward, Morgan K. and Susan Broniarczyk (2016), “Ask and You Shall (Not Received: Close Friends Prioritize Relational Signaling over Recipient Preferences in Their Gift Choices,” Journal of Marketing Research, 53 (December), 1001-18.

Memory and Learning

Bettman, James R. (1979), “Memory Factors in Consumer Choice: A Review,” Journal of Marketing, 43, 37-53.

Gorn, Gerald J. (1982), “The Effects of Music in Advertising on Choice Behaviour: A Classical Conditioning Approach,” Journal of Marketing, 46(1), 94-101.

Tu, Yanping and Christopher K. Hsee (2016), “Consumer Happiness Derived From Inherent Preferences Versus Learned Preferences,” Current Opinion in Psychology, 10, 83-8.

Zauberman, Gal, Rebecca K. Ratner, and B. Kyu Kim (2009), “Memories as Assets: Strategic Memory Protection in Choice over Time,” Journal of Consumer Research, 35, 715-28.

Attitude and Persuasion

Friestad, Marian and Peter Wright (1994), “The Persuasion Knowledge Model: How People Cope with Persuasion Attempts,” Journal of Consumer Research, 21 (June), 1-31.

Goldstein, Noah J., Robert J. Cialdini, and Vladas Griskevicius (2008), “A Room with a Viewpoint: Using Social Norms to Motivate Environmental Conservation in Hotels,” Journal of Consumer Research, 35, 472-82.

Kupor, Daniella and Zakary Tormala (2018), “When Moderation Fosters Persuasion: The Persuasive Power of Deviatory Reviews,” Journal of Consumer Research, 45(3), 490-510

Petty, Richard, E. and John Cacioppo (1986), “The Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion,” in Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 19, L. Berkowitz (ed.) San Diego, Ca: Academic Press, 123-205.

Additional Consumer Behaviour Topics

Argo, Jennifer J. and Darren Dahl (2018), “Standards of Beauty: The Impact of Mannequins in the Retail Context,” Journal of Consumer Research, 44(5), 974-90.

Additional info

The timetable for this course can be found here.

ERIM PhD candidates and Research Master students can register for this course via Osiris Student. ERIM faculty members can register on SIN Online.

External (non-ERIM) participants are welcome to this course. To register, please fill in the registration form and e-mail it to the ERIM Doctoral Office by four weeks prior to the start of the course. For external participants, the course fee is 750 euro.

The registration deadline is 22 May 2020. Please note that the number of places for this course is limited. In case the number of registrations exceeds the number of available seats, priority is given to ERIM RM students and PhD candidates.