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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 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 Tempted Consumer, and The Cognitive Consumer). 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

Upon completion of the course, students:

  • have 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;

  • have developed further scientific thinking about emotions through reviewing, evaluating, and discussing literature on emotions; and

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


For the timetables of your lectures, work groups and exams, please select your study programme in:
Psychology timetables

Semester 1:
Work groups

Semester 2:
Work groups



Students need to enroll for lectures and work group sessions.
Master’s course registration


Students are not automatically enrolled for an examination. They can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the date. Students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination.
Registering for exams

Mode of instruction

7 seminars of 3 hours (attendance of all seminars is mandatory).

Assessment method

Written assignments (40%), presentations (30%), and final paper (30%).

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has instituted that instructors use a software programme for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. In case of fraud disciplinary actions will be taken. Please see the information concerning fraud.

Reading list

Seminar 1

  • Lerner, J. S., Li, Y., Valdesole, P., & Kassam, K. S. (2015). Emotion and decision making. Annual Review of Psychology, 66, 799–823.

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

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

Seminar 2

  • Rubaltelli, E., & Agnoli, S. (2012). The emotional cost of charitable donations. Cognition & Emotion, 26, 769–785.

  • Dunn, E. W., Aknin, L. B., & Norton, M. I. (2014). Prosocial spending and happiness: Using money to benefit others pays off. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23, 41–47.

  • 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.

  • Newman, G. E., & Cain, D. M. (2014) Tainted Altruism: When doing some good is evaluated as worse than doing no good at all. Psychological Science, 25, 648–655.

Seminar 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.

  • Hendriks, H., Van den Putte, B., & De Bruijn, G.-J. (2013). Changing the conversation: The influence of emotions on conversational valence and alcohol consumption. Prevention Science, 15, 625–633.

  • Mukherjee, A., & Dubé, L. (2012). Mixing emotions: The use of humor in fear advertising. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 11, 147–161.

  • Dunn, L., & Hoegg, J. (2014). The impact of fear on emotional brand attachment. Journal of Consumer Research, 41, 152–168.

Seminar 4

  • Bougie, R., Pieters, R., & Zeelenberg, M. (2003). Angry customers don’t come back, they get back: The experience and behavioural implications of anger and dissatisfaction in services. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 31, 377–393.

  • 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.

  • Kim, J., & Gupta, P. (2012). Emotional expressions in online user reviews: How they influence consumers’ product evaluations. Journal of Business Research, 65, 985–992.

  • McGraw, P. A., Warren, C., & Kan. C. (2015). Humorous complaining. Journal of Consumer Research, 41, 1153–1171.

Seminar 5

  • Hofmann, W, & Van Dillen, L. F. (2012). Desire: The new hot spot in self-control research. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21, 317–322.

  • Hofmann, W., Vohs, K. D., & Baumeister, R. F. (2012). What people desire, feel conflicted about, and try to resists in everyday life. Psychological Science, 23, 582–588.

  • Wilcox, K. Kramer, T., & Sen, S. (2011). Indulgence or self-Control: A dual process model of the effect of incidental pride on indulgent Choice. Journal of Consumer Research, 38, 151–163.

  • Goldsmith, K., Cho, E. K., & Dhar, R. (2012). When guilt begets pleasure: The positive effects of a negative emotion. Journal of Marketing Research, 49, 872–881.

Seminar 6

  • Mani, A., Mullainathan, S., Sharif, E., & Zhao, J. (2013). Poverty impedes cognitive function. Science, 341, 976–980.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Contact information

Prof. dr. Wilco van Dijk