Joshua John Clarkson (Ph.D. in Social Psychology, Ph.D. in Marketing) is a consumer psychologist who specializes in persuasion, social influence, and self-control.

Mastering Self Control

His new book, Mastering Self-Control, is available this Spring.
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.



Joshua John Clarkson

Joshua John Clarkson (Ph.D. in Social Psychology, Ph.D. in Marketing) is a consumer psychologist who specializes in persuasion, social influence, and self-control.

His research has been featured in media outlets from business magazines and news articles to pop-psychology books and edited academic volumes, and his findings have been published in various journals, including the Journal of Consumer Psychology, the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Marketing Research, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the Journal of Experimental Social PsychologyPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Josh is currently a Full Professor of Marketing at the University of Cincinnati.



At a broad level, my research focuses on the social and meta- cognitive processes underlying human behavior. The various streams emanating from these interests offer specific contributions to several areas fundamental to the study of consumer psychology. Within this niche, I value an interdisciplinary perspective to research that both develops our collective conceptual knowledge base and generates translational implications.


  • Attitude structure and strength
  • Persuasion and resistance to change
  • Self-control/Willpower
  • Expertise
  • Judgment/Decision Making


19 Feb 2021

When cause-related marketing backfires

Journal of Consumer Psychology

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

When cause-related marketing backfires

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

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

Keywords Cause-marketing; Charitable giving; Hedonic; Persuasion; Utilitarian
12 Apr 2021

Working hard to take the easy way out…

Journal of Consumer Psychology

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

Working hard to take the easy way out…

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

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

Keywords Decision making; Effort; Information processing; Need for closure


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

Consumer Behavior is a specialized undergraduate 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).

Marketing Management

Marketing Management: The undergraduate seminar in Marketing Management serves as a capstone course to those students majoring in marketing. By examining real-world marketing problems, this course seeks to develop those skills required for success as a marketing manager. Specifically, the main objectives for the course are to: (i) develop conceptual and analytical marketing skills, (ii) improve the identification and analysis or marketing problems, and (iii) refine decision making and communication skills as a marketing manager.

Sports Marketing

Sports Marketing: This course is a case-based MBA 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

Attitudes and Persuasion: 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.sports event marking.


Consumer Insights

Joshua John Clarkson has been speaking at colleges and companies across the United States about persuasion, social influence, and self-control. Reach out to learn more about his speaking engagements and schedule yours today!



Joshua John Clarkson’s new book Mastering Self-Control, is available this Spring.



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


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