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Emotions and (Ir)rationality in Economic Behaviour


Admission requirements

Master’s students in Psychology specialisation Economic and Consumer Psychology


Emotions are important aspects of human lives, but how do they function in economic behaviour? “Does envy increase the price we are willing to pay for a product?” “Does anticipated regret make us choose for safe options?” “Does disappointment with a service lead to negative word-of-mouth” “Do we shop more when we feel lousy?” These questions (and many more) will be addressed in this course. During the course, which consists of seminars, students are encouraged to actively think about the assigned readings by developing discussion questions for each meeting. During the course students will be given several written assignments in which they are asked to apply emotion theoretical ideas in the context of economic and consumer behaviour.

Course objectives

The student:

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

  • Can apply emotion theories to economic and consumer behaviour.

  • Has developed further scientific thinking about emotions through reviewing, evaluating, and discussing literature on emotions.

  • Has developed further academic skills through presenting empirical articles and discussion topics on emotions.


Emotions and (Ir)rationality in Economic Behaviour (2013-2014):

Mode of instruction

Seven seminars (attendance of meetings is obligatory).

Assessment method

  • Written assignments

  • Presentations

  • End paper

From January 1, 2006 the Faculty of Social Sciences has instituted the Ephorus system to be used by instructors for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. Please see the information concerning fraud .


Information on blackboard.leidenuniv.nl

Reading list

  • Brosnan, S. F. & De Waal, F. B. M. (2003). Monkeys reject unequal pay. Nature, 424, 297-299.

  • De Waal, F. B. M. & Berger, L. M. (2000). Payment for labour in monkeys. Nature, 404, 563.

  • De Waal, F. B. M. (2005). How animals do business. Scientific American, 292, 73-79.

  • Dunn, E. W., Gilbert, D. T., & Wilson, T. D. (2011). If money doesn’t make you happy, then you probably aren’t spending it right. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 21, 115-125.

  • Elder, R. S., & Krishna, A. (2010). The effects of advertising copy on sensory thoughts and perceived taste. Journal of Consumer Research, 36, 748-756.

  • Fehr, E., & Gächter, S. (2002). Altruistic punishment in humans. Nature, 415, 137-140.

  • Fredrickson, B. L. (1998). What good are positive emotions? Review of General Psychology, 2, 300-319.

  • Griskevicius, V., Tybur, J. M., & Van den Bergh, B. (2010). Going green to be seen: Status, reputation, and conspicuous conservation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98, 392-404.

  • Han, S., Lerner, J. S., & Keltner, D. (2007). Feelings and consumer decision making: The appraisal-tendency framework. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 17, 158-168.

  • Hill, S. E., Rodeheffer, C. D., Griskevicius, V., Durante, K., & White, A. E. (2012). Boosting beauty in an economic decline: Mating, spending, and the Lipstick Effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103, 275-291.

  • Hofmann, W., Strack, F., & Deutsch, R. (2008). Free to buy? Explaining self-control and impulse in consumer behavior. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 18, 22-26.

  • Janssen, L., Fennis, B. M., Pruyn, A. T. H., & Vohs, K. D. (2008). The path of least resistance: Regulatory resource depletion and the effectiveness of social influence techniques. Journal of Business Research, 61, 1041-1045.

  • Keltner, D., & Lerner, J. S. (in press). Emotion. In: S. T. Fiske & D. Gilbert (Eds.). The handbook of social psychology (5th ed.). New York; Wiley.

  • Kemp, E., & Kopp, S. W. (2011). Emotion regulation consumption: When feeling better is the aim. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 10, 1-7.

  • Lerner, J. S., & Keltner, D. (2000). Beyond valence: Toward a model of emotion-specific influences on judgment and choice. Cognition and Emotion, 14, 473-493.

  • Lerner, J. S., Li, Y., & Weber, E. U. (in press). The financial cost of sadness. Psychological Science.

  • Mann, T., & Ward, A. (2000). Forbidden fruit: Does thinking about a prohibited food lead to its consumption? International Journal of Eating Disorders, 29, 319-327.

  • Morales, A. C, & Fitzsimons, G. J. (2007). Product contagion: Changing evaluations through physical contact with “disgusting” products. Journal of Marketing Research, 44, 272-283.

  • Morewedge, C. K., Huh, Y. E., & Vosgerau, J. (2010). Thought for food: Imagined consumption reduces actual consumption. Science, 330, 1530-1533.

  • Mukhopadhyay, A., & Johar, G. V. (2009). Indulgence as self-reward for prior shopping restraint: A justification-based mechanism. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 19, 334-345.

  • Nelissen, R. M. A., & Meijers, M. H. C. (2011). Social benefits of luxury brands as costly signals of wealth and status. _Evolution and Human Behavior, 32, _343-355.

  • Nelson, L. D., & Meyvis, T. (2008). Interrupted consumption: Disrupting adaptation to hedonic experiences. Journal of Marketing Research, 45, 654-664.

  • Nelson, L. D., & Meyvis, T., & Galak, J. (2009). Enhancing the television-viewing experience through commercial interruptions. Journal of Consumer Research, 36, 160-172.

  • Rucker, D. D., & Galinsky, A. D. (2008). Desire to Acquire: Powerlessness and Compensatory Consumption. Journal of Consumer Research, 35, 257-267.

  • Rucker, D. D., & Galinsky, A. D. (2009). Conspicuous consumption versus utilitarian ideals: How different levels of power shape consumption. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 549-555.

  • Rucker, D. D., Galinsky, A. D., & Dubois, D. (2012). Power and consumer behavior: How power shapes who and what consumers value. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 22, 352-368.

  • Seip, E. C., Van Dijk, W. W., & Rotteveel, M. (2012). Anger motivaties costly punishment. Manuscript submitted for publication.

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

  • Small, D. A., & Lerner, J. S. (2008). Emotional policy: Personal sadness and anger shape judgments about a welfare case. Political Psychology, 29, 149-168.

  • Song, H., & Schwarz, N. (2008). If it’s hard to read, it’s hard to do: Processing fluency affects effort prediction and motivation. Psychological Science, 19, 986-988.

  • Song, H., & Schwarz, N. (2009). If it’s difficult-to-pronounce, it must be risky: Fluency, familiarity, and risk perception. Psychological Science, 20, 135-138.

  • Tangney, J. P., Stuewig, J., & Mashek, D. J. (2007). Moral emotions and moral behavior, _Annual Review of Psychology, 58, _345-372.

  • Wänke, M., Bohner, G., & Jurkowitsch, A. (1997). There are many reasons to drive a BMW: Does imagined ease of argument generation influence attitudes? Journal of Consumer Research, 24, 70-77.


Course enrolment

Students need to enrol for the course via uSis on the master’s introduction and course enrolment day that takes place at the start of each semester. Please, consult the master’s agenda Psychology.

Contact information

Dr. W. van Dijk
Room 2A-21
Tel: 071 5276844
E-mail: dijkwvan@fsw.leidenuniv.nl