Recruitment paused Doctoral Research in Consumer Behavior



Consumer behavior is the study of the full range of human interactions with products, services, their providers, and the marketing activities associated with them. The Consumer Behavior research group of the Department of Marketing Management at Rotterdam School of Management (Erasmus University) is seeking a highly motivated PhD student who desires to pursue an academic career studying consumer behavior. A strong applicant is highly motivated to conduct novel research within the field of consumer behavior/psychology, has a background in psychology, business, statistics, or a related field, and desires to pursue an international career as a leading academic researcher. The project will enable the PhD student to develop new theories about consumer behavior/psychology and support those theories with quantitative research. The project will be defined by the student and the advisors together and thus requires creativity, self-direction, and passion for scientific research.


motivation, intertemporal choice, choice under risk and uncertainty, beliefs and preferences, self-control, social dilemmas, status, symbolic consumption, attitude formation and change, judgment and decision making, morality, economic psychology, well-being


The Consumer Behavior research group at RSM’s department of Marketing Management is one of the best of its kind in the world. Its members publish regularly in the leading journals focused on consumer research (e.g., Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Consumer Psychology), but also in top journals of foundational disciplines such as social and cognitive psychology (e.g., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Psychological Science, Psychological Review). 

The overarching goal of our doctoral program in Consumer Behavior is to train the next generation of marketing scholars; the professors, researchers and educators of the future. The entire program is therefore designed to maximize your chances of realizing a career in academia at the best possible university. To succeed, you will need to demonstrate that you have developed into an independent marketing scholar during your 4-5 years of PhD study. You are therefore responsible for cultivating your own topic of research and expertise, of course with the consultation and advice of your (co-)promotors and daily supervisors. As a result, the project proposal described here is open, in the sense that students are expected to develop their own projects over the course of the program. Accordingly, you are free to explore collaborations with any of our faculty members, or even professors at other institutions. In fact, research visits to top global universities are strongly encouraged. 

At the same time, we want to ensure that every student joining the doctoral program has a team of supervisors in place that will commit to guide you at least during your first 1-2 years in the program, while you explore the discipline, potential topics, and potential advisors. Three professors have committed to take on the supervision of the incoming student. They are Prof. Dr. Steven Sweldens (promoter;, Dr. Gabriele Paolacci (co-promoter;, and Dr. Amit Bhattacharjee (daily supervisor, This team could stay on as the ultimate supervisors of your dissertation research or change completely, depending on your progress, your preferences, and the evolution of your research interests.

As a PhD student, you will conduct research on topics relevant to consumer behavior, either specializing in one area or developing ideas that integrate and cut across topic boundaries. You are welcome to collaborate with the other consumer behavior researchers in the marketing management department. The faculty in the department work on a wide range of interesting topics in consumer research, such as how advertising works psychologically (Prof. Dr. Steven Sweldens), identity and language effects in global marketing (Prof. Dr. Stefano Puntoni), biological influences on consumption and goal pursuit (Dr. Bram Van den Bergh), self-control and consumption (Dr. Mirjam Tuk), judgment and decision making (Dr. Gabriele Paolacci), expression modalities and restriction effects on choice (Dr. Anne Klesse), moral psychology and economic judgments (Dr. Amit Bhattacharjee), numerical processing (Dr. Dan Schley and Dr. Christophe Lembregts),and consumer neuroscience (Prof. Dr. Ale Smidts, Dr. Maarten Boksem and Dr. Alex Genevsky). 

Experimental studies can be conducted at the Erasmus Behavioral Lab, a world-class laboratory that provides all the facilities to conduct the very best research (sound-insulated cubicles, group labs, video-labs, eye tracking, EEG). To strengthen your international profile and complement your time at RSM, you will have the chance to go abroad for a 3-6 month research visit at a top North American University (past destinations include Stanford, Wharton, Harvard, University of Florida, University of Chicago, and University of Colorado at Boulder).

The Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) is the dynamic business school of the Erasmus University. It is recognized worldwide as a top business school , and was ranked at #3 globally in the most recent subject-specific Shanghai Ranking of research quality and productivity in the area of business administration. The marketing department at RSM is also regarded as one of the best in the world, attracting many reputable scholars every year. One of the many unique features of the group is its multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary nature. The faculty publishes their research not only in the best marketing journals, but also in top academic journals of related disciplines (e.g., psychology, management, neuroscience, statistics, economics). This makes the department a lively, creative, and intellectually stimulating place to conduct research. For further information about the Rotterdam School of Management, you can visit; for further information about the marketing department:; for further information about the research institute and PhD program, please visit

o Developing theoretically novel hypotheses
o Conducting original and rigorous research to test your hypotheses
o Presenting research findings at international conferences
o Writing up research findings for publication in top international journals
o Attending classes that will develop your thinking and research skills
o Contributing to departmental research functions (PhD Day, research seminars, weekly research workshops)
o Mentoring junior students of the department (to a limited degree)

Supervisory Team

Steven Sweldens
Endowed Professor of Consumer Behavior and Marketing and ERIM Director of Doctoral Education
  • Promotor
Gabriele Paolacci
Associate Professor of Marketing Management
  • Copromotor
Jason Roos
Associate Professor of Marketing Management
  • External Member Supervisory Team