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.



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.



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 (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.


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



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

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