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The Psychology of Selling and Advertising


Entry requirements

Only open to Master’s students Psychology with specialisation Economic and Consumer Psychology

This course is offered twice a year


Many psychological factors influence consumer decisions. As such, findings from Economic and Consumer Psychology can help marketers to understand how products can be sold and advertised. Imagine that you are hired as a consumer psychologist by a company that developed a new product that they would like to sell. What selling and advertising strategy would you recommend, based on your psychological knowledge? This is the focus of the present course. You will read psychological literature on how and when consumer preferences for products are influenced. Furthermore, you will learn how to apply this literature to define problems with actual marketing strategies and how improve them. At the end of the course, you will have acquired psychological knowledge and skills that are needed to develop an effective selling and advertising strategy.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, the student can:

  1. analyze cases within the field of selling and advertising based on theory and empirical research articles.
  2. give evidence-based advice on selling and advertising strategies.
  3. understand the ethical issues of influencing and changing behavior in the field of economic and consumer psychology.
  4. create an evidence-based selling and advertising plan for a new product.
  5. communicate about selling and advertising strategies to peers and clients in a persuasive manner.


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

Five two-hour work group sessions and one three-hour final meeting (attendance to meetings is mandatory). Knowledgde clips.

Assessment method

The final grade is based on: 3 individual written assignments (60% of end grade; related to course objectives 1-3) and 1 final group presentation (40% of end grade; related to course objective 4). For both assignments, the literature from the reading list below will be used and for the final presentation, students are asked to find additional literature and to use the knowledge clips. To pass the course a total (weighted) course grade of at least 5.5 is required, whereby the grade for the final group presentation should be at least a 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

Sheets from the workgroups/knowledge clips and journal articles:

Seminar 1: Target Audience
1. Chernev, A. (2004). Goal-attribute compatibility in consumer choice. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 14, 141-150, 2004.
2. Summers, C. A., Smith, R. W., Reczek, R. W. (2016). An audience of one: Behaviorally targeted ads as implied social labels. Journal of Consumer Research, 43, 156-178.
3. Aaker, J. L., Brumbaugh, A. M., & Grier, S. A. (2000). Nontarget markets and viewer distinctiveness: The impact of target marketing on advertising attitudes. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 9, 127-140.
4. Torelli, C. J., Özsomer, A., Carvalho, S. W., Keh, H. T., & Maehle, N. (2012). Brand concepts as representations of human values: Do cultural congruity and compatibility between values matter? Journal of Marketing, 76, 92-108.

Seminar 2: Brand Identity
5. Malär, L., Krohmer, H., Hoyer, W. D., Nyffenegger, B. (2011). Emotional brand attachment and brand personality: The relative importance of the actual and the ideal self. Journal of Marketing, 75, 35-52.
6. Dhar, R., & Wertenbroch, K. (2000). Consumer choice between hedonic and utilitarian goods. Journal of Marketing Research, 37, 60-71.
7. Kolbl, Ž., Arslanagic-Kalajdzic, M., & Diamantopoulos, A. (2019). Stereotyping global brands: Is warmth more important than competence? Journal of Business Research, 104, 614-621.
8. Aaker, J., Fournier, S., & Brasel, S. A. (2004). When good brands do bad. Journal of Consumer Research, 31, 1-16.

Seminar 3: Positioning
9. Wänke, M., Bless, H., & Igou, E. R. (2001). Next to a star: Paling, shining, or both? Turning interexemplar contrast into interexemplar assimilation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 14-29.
10. Van Horen, F., & Pieters, R. (2012). When high-similarity copycats lose and moderate-similarity copycats gain: The impact of comparative evaluation. Journal of Marketing Research, 49(1), 83-91.
11. Nedungadi, P. (1990). Recall and consumer consideration sets: Influencing choice without altering brand evaluations. Journal of Consumer Research, 17, 263-276.
12. Zou, K. Z., & Nakamoto, K. (2007). How do enhanced and unique features affect new product preference? The moderating role of product familiarity. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 35, 53-62.

Seminar 4: Advertising
13. Nordhielm, C. L. (2002). The influence of level of processing on advertising repetition effects. Journal of Consumer Research, 29, 371-382.
14. Lee, A. Y., & Labroo, A. A. (2004). The effect of conceptual and perceptual fluency on brand evaluation. Journal of Marketing Research, 41, 151-165.
15. Shapiro, S., & Krishnan, H. S. (2001). Memory-based measures for assessing advertising effects: A comparison of explicit and implicit memory effects. Journal of Advertising, 30, 1-13.
16. Wang, J., & Calder, B. J. (2009). Media engagement and advertising: Transportation, matching, transference and intrusion. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 19(3), 546-555.

Contact information

Contact information:
Dr. Coen Wirtz