nl en

Emotions and (Ir)rationality in Economic Behaviour


Entry requirements

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

This course is offered twice a year


This course —consisting of small-group seminars— provides you with advanced and specialized knowledge of the concepts, methods, and research findings central to the study of emotions in (social) contexts relevant to economic and consumer behaviour and of how this knowledge can be applied to understand and influence economic and consumer decisions. The seminars are interactive work group sessions and initiated by students’ views on the addressed themes. Each seminar has a specific theme to examine the influence of emotions on economic and consumer decisions (i.e., The Emotional Consumer, The Good Consumer, The Persuaded Consumer, The Complaining Consumer, The Conspicuous Consumer, and The Tempted Consumer). During these sessions your academic skills are further developed by presenting and discussing recent scientific insights in the role of emotions in economic and consumer behaviour. At the end of the course, your skills to apply theoretical insights to a ‘real life’ economic and consumer psychology topic will be further advanced and assessed by writing a paper.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, students:

  • have specialised knowledge of theories, concepts, and research findings central to the study of emotions in social contexts relevant to economic and consumer behaviour.

  • have knowledge of the ethical issues of influencing and changing behaviour in the field of economic and consumer psychology.

  • can critically write about topics in the field of economic and consumer psychology, making use of scientific literature, in accordance with the A.P.A. standards.

  • can create an evidence-based analysis (of the effectiveness) of an organisation’s strategy.


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable



Students must register themselves for all course components (lectures, tutorials and practicals) they wish to follow. You can register up to 5 days prior to the start of the course.


You must register for each exam in My Studymap at least 10 days before the exam date. You cannot take an exam without a valid registration in My Studymap. Carefully read all information about the procedures and deadlines for registering for courses and exams.

Exchange students and external guest students will be informed by the education administration about the current registration procedure.

Mode of instruction

The course consists of 7 2-hour work group sessions (attendance of all work group sessions is mandatory; no web-lectures available).

Assessment method

The final grade is based on: 5 written assignments (1 selected for grading, 50%) and 1 final paper (50%).

  • To pass the course, a total (weighted) course grade of at least 6.0 is required, whereby the mark for the paper should be at least 6.0.

  • In case your mark for the paper is lower than a 6.0 or if you miss the deadline, you will be given 4 weeks to (re)submit the paper. In that case, your mark for this assignment will not be higher than 6.0.

The Institute of Psychology follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. All students are required to take and pass the Scientific Integrity Test with a score of 100% in order to learn about the practice of integrity in scientific writing. Students are given access to the quiz via a module on Brightspace. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of this fraud policy.

Reading List

In the work group sessions we will use:

Seminar 1, The Emotional Consumer
1. Lerner, J. S., Li, Y., Valdesole, P., & Kassam, K. S. (2015). Emotion and decision making. Annual Review of Psychology, 66, 799–823.
2. Salerno, A., Laran, J., & Janiszewski, C. (2014). Hedonic eating goals and emotion: When sadness decreases the desire to indulge. Journal of Consumer Research, 41, 135-151.
3. 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.
4. Munichor, N., & Friedlander, N. (2019). Sadly, you made me earn it: The effect of responsibility attributions for sadness on food indulgence. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 18(5), 415-428.

Seminar 2, The Good Consumer
1. van Kleef, G. A., & Lelieveld, G. J. (2022). Moving the self and others to do good: The emotional underpinnings of prosocial behavior. Current opinion in psychology, 44, 80-88.
2. Kim, S., & Childs, M. L. (2021). Passion for the past: Effect of charity appeals and nostalgia on clothing donation intentions. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 20, 1179-1190.
3. Brosch, T. (2021). Affect and emotions as drivers of climate change perception and action: a review. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 42, 15-21.
4. Kim, G., Adams, I., Diaw, M., Celly, M., Nelson, L. D., & Jung, M. H. (2022). Prosocial spending encourages happiness: A replication of the only experiment reported in Dunn, Aknin, and Norton (2008). Plos one, 17, e0272434.

Seminar 3, The Consumer with a Scarcity Perception
1. De Bruijn, EJ., Antonides, G. Poverty and economic decision making: a review of scarcity theory. Theory Decis 92, 5–37 (2022).
2. Hilbert, L. P., Noordewier, M. K., & van Dijk, W. W. (2022). The prospective associations between financial scarcity and financial avoidance. Journal of Economic Psychology, 88, 102459.
3. Herzenstein, M., & Posavac, S. S. (2019). When charity begins at home: How personal financial scarcity drives preference for donating locally at the expense of global concerns. Journal of Economic Psychology, 73, 123-135.
4. Lee-Yoon, A., Donnelly, G. E., & Whillans, A. V. (2020). Overcoming resource scarcity: consumers’ response to gifts intending to save time and money. Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, 5(4), 391-403.

Seminar 4, The Complaining Consumer
1. Biraglia, A., Usrey, B., & Ulqinaku, A. (2021). The downside of scarcity: Scarcity appeals can trigger consumer anger and brand switching intentions. Psychology & Marketing, 38, 1314– 1322.
2. 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.
3. Lelieveld, G. & Hendriks, H. (2021). The interpersonal effects of distinct emotions in online reviews. Cognition and Emotion, DOI: 10.1080/02699931.2021.1947199, 1–24.
4. McGraw, P. A., Warren, C., & Kan. C. (2015). Humorous complaining. Journal of Consumer Research, 41, 1153–1171.

Seminar 5, The Green Consumer
1. 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.
2. Puska, P., Kurki, S., Lähdesmäki, M., Siltaoja, M., & Luomala, H. (2018). Sweet taste of prosocial status signaling: When eating organic foods makes you happy and hopeful. Appetite, 121, 348-359.
3. Bolderdijk, J. W., Brouwer, C., & Cornelissen, G. (2018). When Do Morally Motivated Innovators Elicit Inspiration Instead of Irritation?. Frontiers In Psychology, 8, 1–9.
4. Amatulli, C., De Angelis, M., Peluso, A. M., Soscia, I., & Guido, G. (2019). The effect of negative message framing on green consumption: An investigation of the role of shame. Journal of Business Ethics, 157, 1111-1132.

Seminar 6, The Tempted Consumer
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Becker, D., Jostmann, N. B., Hofmann, W., & Holland, R. W. (2019). Spoiling the pleasure of success: Emotional reactions to the experience of self-control conflict in the eating domain. Emotion, 19, 1377. 4. Vosgerau, J., Scopelliti, I., & Huh, Y. E. (2020). Exerting Self‐Control ≠ Sacrificing Pleasure. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 30, 181–200.

Contact information

Dr. Elise Seip