Curations from Our Academic Trustees

Must-Reads from Sharon Shavitt, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Sharon Shavitt is Walter H. Stellner Professor of Marketing and Professor in the Department of Psychology and at the Survey Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois. She teaches undergraduate, M.B.A., and Ph.D. courses in promotions management, survey design for marketing research, and consumer behavior.

Her research focuses primarily on the cross-cultural factors affecting consumer persuasion, attitudinal and value judgments, and survey responding. Sharon is Past-President of the Association for Consumer Research and an associate editor of Journal of Consumer Research and Journal of Consumer Psychology.

“Through social media and other data sources, we extract more information and ideas than ever from our customers,” she said. “As marketers seek to gain more individualized learnings about their current and prospective customers, these readings highlight new insights for market segmentation and for consumer incentives.”

Recommended reading


The Marketplace of Ideology: “Elective Affinities” in Political Psychology and Their Implications for Consumer Behavior by John T. Jost, Journal of Consumer Psychology

“This paper reviews the rapidly accumulating literature on how liberals and conservatives differ in how they make consumer choices. Who is more likely to keep organizational and cleaning supplies around? Who is more likely to buy and boycott brands for political reasons? John Jost, one of our foremost political psychologists, answers these questions and more in a paper that is sweeping in scope and highly readable. Jost reviews what we know about fundamental differences between liberals and conservatives in their personalities, goals, and the ways they think. The paper explains how understanding the distinct psychology of liberals and conservatives can offer segmentation strategies that inform a range of managerial decisions.”


Cultivating Optimism: How to Frame Your Future during a Health Challenge by Donnel A. Briley, Melanie Rudd, and Jennifer Aaker, Journal of Consumer Research 

“What gives rise to a positive outlook when facing a serious health challenge, such as traumatic injury or cancer, and how does this impact consumer choices? Optimism is key to health and recovery, and cultural segmentation offers a path to fostering optimism. This research shows that adopting the mental frame that is typical for one’s cultural background gives rise to optimism about recovery, because it makes it easier to visualize a positive outcome. Past research shows that people from Western cultural backgrounds tend to frame things in terms of agentic steps they might take, whereas people from Eastern cultural backgrounds tend to think in terms of responding to situations. In one study with cancer survivors, European Americans who adopted a mental frame in which they were initiating action (versus responding to situations) were more optimistic about beating their illness and, as a result, expected to have more energy in the future. The opposite pattern held for Asian Americans. The important insight for managers: Many consumer decisions reflect optimism about one’s future abilities. Thus, the authors showed that these patterns extended to intentions to go on more physically demanding vacations, stick to a diet plan, and get vaccinated.”


Social-Recognition versus Financial Incentives? Exploring the Effects of Creativity-Contingent External Rewards on Creative Performance by Ravi Mehta, Darren Dahl, and Rui Zhu, Journal of Consumer Research

“Here’s a question that anyone who uses crowdsourced innovation platforms has faced: How do we incentivize our users to be creative in the ideas they generate? Is money more motivating or are social recognitions and badges better? This research shows that when money is promised, people amp up their creative performance, but the same is not true when social recognition is offered. The core insight is that asking your customers to be original means asking them to transgress, to think outside of the norms that box us in. But social recognition makes you think about norms and pleasing others, and that focus on conformity harms creativity. These findings offer important guidance to managers about how to jump-start truly original ideas in crowdsourcing platforms.”

Related links

Curations from Our Academic Trustees (2017) [Article]



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