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Joshua John Clarkson (Ph.D. in Social Psychology, Ph.D. in Marketing) is a consumer psychologist who specializes in self-control and social influence. He received his B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in General Psychology, both at the University of North Florida, before receiving a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in Marketing from the University of Florida. He has published over thirty peer-reviewed articles, and his most recent book, Mastering Self Control, was released in 2021. Dr. Clarkson is founder of Consumer Insights, LLC and is currently a Full Professor of Marketing at the University of Cincinnati.

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Books

Mastering Self Control

Mastering Self Control (2021)

Grounded in nearly a century of scientific research, Mastering Self Control is an academic ‘how to’ in the mastery of self control. Though most of us have an acute awareness of the goals we want to achieve, we have little insight into how we respond to questions central to successful goal attainment. What is a realistic goal? Can we turn intentions to actions? Why do we need a support system? It is within this context that this volume identifies a series of actionable strategies to push readers to master self-control and consequently optimize goal progress.

‘Professor Clarkson effectively bridges the gap between physiological and evidence-based behavioral solutions. The book gives realistic action items to employ every day for long-term, sustainable change. It is a must-read for anyone looking to truly understand and create the most effective holistic approach for a healthy lifestyle.’
Chris Powell, Host and Trainer of ABC’s ‘Extreme Weight Loss’

‘This is a thoroughly researched and engaging manual to help people reach their most valued goals. Full of both long-established and recently uncovered insights from cognitive science, athletic performance studies, and the treatment of addiction, the book offers a comprehensive guide to developing and maintaining optimal pathways to success.’
– Dr. Daniel C. Molden, Associate Professor of Psychology at Northwestern University


Self-Regulation and Ego Control (2016)
co-edited with Edward Hirt and Lile Jia

Self-Regulation and Ego Control is an edited volume that examines the physiological effects of depletion, the effects of psychological variables in self-control depletion effects, the role of motivational and goal states on self-control depletion effects, and a number of cognitive perspectives on self-control exertion. This insightful book begins with an introduction of self-control theories, ego depletion phenomena, and experimental examples of research in self-control, and concludes by delineating more inclusive and comprehensive models of self-regulation that can account for the full spectrum of findings from current research.

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Research

SORTING BY DATE
25 Sep 2022

Mastering Self-Control

New York: Cambridge University Press.


Clarkson, J.J. (2021)

Mastering Self-Control

Clarkson, J.J. (2021)
About The Publication
Grounded in nearly a century of scientific research, Mastering Self Control is an academic ‘how to’ in the mastery of self control. Though most of us have an acute awareness of the goals we want to achieve, we have little insight into how we respond to questions central to successful goal attainment. What is a realistic goal? Can we turn intentions to actions? Why do we need a support system? It is within this context that this volume identifies a series of actionable strategies to push readers to master self-control and consequently optimize goal progress.
25 Sep 2022

Resisting persuasion by the skin of one’s teeth: The hidden success of resisted persuasive messages

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91, 423-435


Tormala, Z.L., Clarkson, J.J., & Petty, R.E. (2006)

Resisting persuasion by the skin of one’s teeth: The hidden success of resisted persuasive messages

Tormala, Z.L., Clarkson, J.J., & Petty, R.E. (2006)
25 Sep 2022

Political ideology and cultural consumption: The role of cognitive flexibility in shaping liberal and conservative preferences for global-local experiences.

Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, 7(3).


Buechner, B.M., Clarkson, J.J., Otto, A.S., & Ainsworth, G. (forthcoming).

Political ideology and cultural consumption: The role of cognitive flexibility in shaping liberal and conservative preferences for global-local experiences.

Buechner, B.M., Clarkson, J.J., Otto, A.S., & Ainsworth, G. (forthcoming).
About The Publication
Research has long discussed the personal and collective benefits of cultural consumption. Yet not all cultural experiences are the same, as experiences vary in whether they benefit consumers’ understanding of global or local cultures. The present research proposes that consumer preferences for these discrete types of cultural experiences vary by their political ideology. Across four studies, liberals prefer global consumption experiences, whereas conservatives prefer local consumption experiences. Moreover, these preferences are driven by differences in cognitive flexibility and are shown to emerge from different learning styles (breadth or depth). Further, these preferences are independent of openness, cultural identity, and mental construal, and have implications for marketing and public policy decisions. Collectively, these findings detail the role of political ideology and cognitive flexibility in shaping consumer preferences for different types of cultural experiences and thereby offer a nuanced perspective on the impact of liberal and conservative consumers in shaping cultural consumption.
25 Sep 2022

When ab ≠ c – c’: Published errors in the reports of single mediator models

Behavior Research Methods, 45, 595-601


Petrocelli, J.V., Clarkson, J.J., Whitmire, M.B., & Moon, P.E. (2013)

When ab ≠ c – c’: Published errors in the reports of single mediator models

Petrocelli, J.V., Clarkson, J.J., Whitmire, M.B., & Moon, P.E. (2013)
About The Publication
Accurate reports of mediation analyses are critical to the assessment of inferences related to causality, since these inferences are consequential for both the evaluation of previous research (e.g., meta-analyses) and the progression of future research. However, upon reexamination, approximately 15 % of published articles in psychology contain at least one incorrect statistical conclusion (Bakker & Wicherts, Behavior Research Methods, 43, 666–678 2011), disparities that beget the question of inaccuracy in mediation reports. To quantify this question of inaccuracy, articles reporting standard use of single-mediator models in three high-impact journals in personality and social psychology during 2011 were examined. More than 24 % of the 156 models coded failed an equivalence test (i.e., ab 0 c – c′), suggesting that one or more regression coefficients in mediation analyses are frequently misreported. The authors cite common sources of errors, provide recommendations for enhanced accuracy in reports of single-mediator models, and discuss implications for alternative methods.
25 Sep 2022

Revisiting the restorative effects of positive mood: An expectancy-based approach to self-control restoration

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 57, 87-99


Egan, P.M., Clarkson, J.J., & Hirt, E.R. (2015)

Revisiting the restorative effects of positive mood: An expectancy-based approach to self-control restoration

Egan, P.M., Clarkson, J.J., & Hirt, E.R. (2015)
About The Publication
The present research explored the empirical relation between positive mood and self-control restoration. In line with recent work on the perceptual correlates of self-control exertion, we tested whether positive mood’s restorative effects could be partly attributable to expectancies of mental energy change. Results showed that positive mood elicited a general expectancy of mental energy restoration and that negative mood elicited a general expectancy of mental energy depletion. Furthermore, these expectancies were shown to alter perceptual and cognitive state in manners predictive of downstream self-control performance. Together, these results compliment emerging work on the importance of perceptual processes in the modulation of self-control performance, and warrant future work on the role of expectancies and subjective fatigue in self-regulatory pursuits.
25 Sep 2022

The bigger they come, the harder they fall: The paradoxical effect of regulatory depletion on attitude change

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 58, 82-94


Petrocelli, J.V., Williams, S.A., & Clarkson, J.J. (2015)

The bigger they come, the harder they fall: The paradoxical effect of regulatory depletion on attitude change

Petrocelli, J.V., Williams, S.A., & Clarkson, J.J. (2015)
About The Publication
The present research explores a new effect of regulatory resource depletion on persuasion by proposing that the experience of depletion can increase or decrease openness to attitude change by undermining perceived counterargument strength. Ironically, this openness is hypothesized to be strongest for individuals holding attitudes with high (versus low) certainty, as individuals should expect high certainty attitudes to be more resistant—an expectation the experience of depletion is hypothesized to violate. Supporting the hypotheses, three studies demonstrate that individuals expect high certainty attitudes to be stable (Study 1), the experience of resource depletion violates this expectancy and increases the openness to counterattack (Study 2), and this openness is driven by decreased perceptions of counterargument strength (Study 3). By augmenting (attenuating) the effect of argument quality for high (low) certainty attitudes, the experience of depletion on perceived counterargument performance offers insight into novel means by which resource depletion can influence persuasion.
25 Sep 2022

The self-control consequences of political ideology

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112, 8250-8253


Clarkson, J.J., Chambers, J.R., Hirt, E.R., Otto, A.S., Kardes, F.R., & Leone, C. (2015)

The self-control consequences of political ideology

Clarkson, J.J., Chambers, J.R., Hirt, E.R., Otto, A.S., Kardes, F.R., & Leone, C. (2015)
About The Publication
Evidence from three studies reveals a critical difference in self-control as a function of political ideology. Specifically, greater endorsement of political conservatism (versus liberalism) was associated with greater attention regulation and task persistence. Moreover, this relationship is shown to stem from varying beliefs in freewill; specifically, the association between political ideology and selfcontrol is mediated by differences in the extent to which belief in freewill is endorsed, is independent of task performance or motivation, and is reversed when freewill is perceived to impede (rather than enhance) self-control. Collectively, these findings offer insight into the self-control consequences of political ideology by detailing conditions under which conservatives and liberals are better suited to engage in self-control and outlining the role of freewill beliefs in determining these conditions,
25 Sep 2022

When cause-related marketing backfires: Understanding the differential effects of one-for-one promotions for hedonic and utilitarian experiences

Journal of Consumer Psychology, 31(3), 532-550


Dugan, R. G., Clarkson, J.J., & Beck, J. (forthcoming)

When cause-related marketing backfires: Understanding the differential effects of one-for-one promotions for hedonic and utilitarian experiences

Dugan, R. G., Clarkson, J.J., & Beck, J. (forthcoming)
About The Publication

A remarkable cause-marketing (CM) strategy has emerged in the marketplace: businesses promise to donate an identical product for each product sold (i.e., a “one-for-one” promotion). Yet despite prosocial tendencies, consumers hesitate when uncertain about others’ preferences, which poses the question of whether one-for-one promotions are perceived to meet recipients’ preferences. Five experiments (one field experiment and four laboratory experiments) reveal that the efficacy of in-kind, one-for-one promotions varies as a function of product type. Specifically, one-for-one promotions enhance purchase intentions for utilitarian products but undermine purchase intentions for hedonic products. Moreover, this difference is due to certainty regarding recipients’ utilitarian preferences and uncertainty regarding recipients’ hedonic preferences. Importantly, hedonic products’ backfiring effects are attenuated when recipients’ preferences are perceived as homogeneous or the recipient is familiar to the donor. Collectively, these findings emphasize the importance of consumer inferences regarding recipients’ preferences in determining the efficacy of CM promotions that leverage in-kind benefits while elucidating the role of product type in the effectiveness of these promotions.

25 Sep 2022

Working hard to take the easy way out: How the need for cognitive closure shapes strategic effort investment to ease future decision making

Journal of Consumer Psychology


Otto, A.S., Clarkson, J.J., & Martin, N.S. (forthcoming)

Working hard to take the easy way out: How the need for cognitive closure shapes strategic effort investment to ease future decision making

Otto, A.S., Clarkson, J.J., & Martin, N.S. (forthcoming)
About The Publication

Consumers make countless decisions each day that force them to determine the amount of effort they are willing to invest into the decision process. Due to their desire for immediate resolution and propensity to seize upon available options, individuals high in the need for cognitive closure make decisions that are traditionally associated with reduced effort investment. Counter to this traditional perspective, this research demonstrates that those seeking closure strategically invest effort into the decision process, so long as the initial effort investment is expected to simplify similar decisions in the future. Three experiments demonstrate that those motivated by closure put forth greater effort when they expect to repeat the decision (Experiment 1) and in contexts where a justifiable choice option is not readily available (Experiment 2). Furthermore, this effort investment is shown to payoff in terms of streamlining subsequent decision making (Experiment 3). These findings detail the strategic use of effort by those seeking closure to ease future decision making and thus provide a conceptual framework for when and why those seeking closure allocate effort in decision making.

25 Sep 2022

The effect of regulatory depletion on attitude certainty

Journal of Marketing Research, 47, 531-541


Wan, E.W., Rucker, D.D., Tormala, Z.L., & Clarkson, J.J. (2010)

The effect of regulatory depletion on attitude certainty

Wan, E.W., Rucker, D.D., Tormala, Z.L., & Clarkson, J.J. (2010)
About The Publication
This research explores how regulatory depletion affects consumers’ responses to advertising. Initial forays into this area suggest that the depletion of self-regulatory resources is irrelevant when advertisement arguments are strong or consumers are highly motivated to process. In contrast to these conclusions, the authors contend that depletion has important but previously hidden effects in such contexts. That is, although attitudes are equivalent in valence and extremity, consumers are more certain of their attitudes when they form them under conditions of depletion than nondepletion. The authors propose that this effect occurs because feeling depleted induces the perception of having engaged in thorough information processing. As a consequence of greater attitude certainty, depleted consumers’ attitudes exert greater influence on their purchase behavior. Three experiments, using different products and ad exposure times, confirm these hypotheses. Experiment 3 demonstrates the potential to vary consumers’ naive beliefs about the relationship between depletion and thoroughness of processing, and this variation moderates the effect of depletion on attitude certainty. The authors discuss the theoretical contributions and implications for marketing.
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Teaching

Whether an invited talk, a conference presentation, an undergraduate course, or a graduate seminar, the process of discussing, debating, and exploring ideas is enjoyable for me. Indeed, presenting (in any form) involves an interactive audience with the potential to offer real-time feedback. This is a process I find both refreshing and motivating. This is also a process I believe central to effective communication and thus effective teaching.

Current Courses

Consumer Behavior (undergraduate/MS/MBA)

Consumer Behavior is a specialized course in the emotional, mental, and behavioral responses that precede, determine, or follow the purchase, consumption, and disposal of goods and services. The primary objective of this course is to provide a broad understanding of consumer behavior by examining both classic and contemporary perspectives on fundamental issues within consumer behavior (e.g., information processing, decision making, social influence).

Influence Strategies (MS/MBA)

Social influence refers to the attempt of one party to gain compliance from another party. It is a universal feature of human existence and widely practiced by sellers. This course examines principles of social influence and their applications in marketing. Based on noted psychologist Robert B. Cialdini’s book Influence and grounded in classic and contemporary research on persuasion, students will learn the psychological secrets underlying powerful persuasion techniques used by advertisers, sales professionals, direct marketers, politicians, and others.

Sports Marketing (MS/MBA)

This course is a case-based masters course devoted to understanding the venue of Sports Events Marketing from the perspectives of both practitioners and academics. The emphasis is not on learning a multitude of new frameworks but on discussing topical issues in sports marketing. To accomplish the goal, the crux of the course is designed around industry experts, case-discussions, and individual lectures that will discuss the key issues within sports event marking.

Attitudes and Persuasion (PhD)

This course is a doctoral seminar focused on classic and contemporary issues in the domain of attitudes and persuasion. It covers classic topics in this domain, but each case emphasizes new findings, recent directions, and/or current controversies. Doctoral students who take this course will become familiar with research methods and major issues in attitudes research and will have a better understanding of how consumers form, use, change, and maintain their attitudes.

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Consumer Insights

Dr. Clarkson has been sharing his insights on influence tactics and self-control strategies at conferences and corporate events across the globe. To arrange an event, please reach out using the form here.

NOTE: For media/podcast interviews, please use the form below but note MEDIA REQUEST in the subject


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Feel free to get in touch & I’ll get back to you.

NOTE: For media/podcast interviews, please use the form below but note MEDIA REQUEST in the subject

Office

Department of Marketing
Carl H. Lindner College of Business
University of Cincinnati
429 Lindner Hall
2925 Campus Green Drive
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0145

t: 513.556.7105
f: 513.556.0979

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