Prof Bob Fennis

Professor in Marketing
School of Marketing and International Business

Research interests

Consumer psychology, persuasion, unconscious influence, consumer self-regulation, nudging and heuristics, consumer health and well-being, food-related decision making.


I was trained as a communication scientist at Radboud University, and a social psychologist at Utrecht University. I completed graduate training as an experimental consumer psychologist at Utrecht University where my focus was on advertising effects and consumer behavior.

After a short excursion to the field as a consultant for the Dutch Ministry of Public Works, Traffic and Water management and a consulting firm (Boer & Croon Corporate Communication), I returned to academia to work as an assistant/ associate professor at the Free University of Amsterdam, The University of Twente and Utrecht University. Since June 2010 I work as a full professor in Consumer Behavior at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Since June 2018 I also hold a (part-time) position as professor of Marketing at VUW’s School of Marketing and International Business.

Research projects

My main research interest is what you could label "Hidden Persuasion" and focuses on how subtle (and not so subtle) marketing cues influence consumers in their emotions, thoughts and behavior, frequently without them being aware of this influence. For that research, I connect with work on the psychology of persuasion and social influence, and the role of consumer self-regulation in these processes (please see my research page for an overview of published work in these areas).

Currently, his research focuses on when and how:

  • consumer self control (or its opposite, indulgence) can help or hurt healthy consumption
  • consumers become susceptible or resistant to subtle marketing cues in the shopping environment
  • consumers move from "saying no" (to products, brands, ad appeals, influence attempts etc.) to "saying yes" (or the reverse)

Selected publications (journal articles)

Shuval, K., Fennis, B.M., Qing, L., Grinstein, A., Morren, M & Drope, J. (in press). Health & wealth: Is weight loss success related to monetary savings in U.S. adults of low-income? Findings from a national study. BMC Public Health

Albalooshi, S., Moeini Jazani, M., Fennis, B. M., & Warlop, L. (In press). Reinstating the Resourceful Self: When and How Self-Affirmations Improve Executive Performance of the Powerless. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

de Vries, E., & Fennis, B. M. (In press). Go local or go global: How local brands promote buying impulsivity. International Marketing Review.

Giacomantonio, M., Jordan, J., & Fennis, B. M. (In press). Intense self-regulatory effort increases need for conservation and reduces attractiveness of energy-requiring rewards. Social Psychology.

Cheung, T. T. L., Gillebaart, M., Kroese, F. M., Marchiori, D., Fennis, B. M., & de Ridder, D. T. D. (2019). Cueing healthier alternatives for take-away: a field experiment on the effects of (disclosing) three nudges on food choices. BMC Public Health, 19(1), [974].

van Rompay, T. J. L., & Fennis, B. M. (2019). Full-bodied taste: On the embodied origins of product perception and sensory evaluation. In C. Velasco, & C. Spence (Eds.), Multisensory Packaging (pp. 163-190). New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Barauskaite, D., Gineikiene, J., Auruskeviciene, V., Fennis, B.M., Yamaguchi, M., & Kondo, N. (in press). Eating healthy to impress: how conspicuous consumption, perceived self-control motivation, and descriptive normative influence determine functional food choices. Appetite.

De Vries, E., Fennis, B.M., Bijmolt, T., ter Horst, G., & Marsman, J.B. (2018)*. Friends with benefits: Behavioral and fMRI Studies on the effect of friendship reminders on self-control for compulsive and non-compulsive buyers. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 35, 336-358.

Cheung, T., F. Kroeze, B.M. Fennis, B.M., and D.T.D. de Ridder (2017). The Hunger Games: Using hunger to promote healthy choices in self-control conflicts. Appetite, 116, 401-209.

Janssen, L., & Fennis, B.M. (2017). Mindless resistance to persuasion: Low self-control fosters the use of resistance-promoting heuristics. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 16, 536-549.

Fennis, B.M. and J. Wiebenga (2017)*. Me, myself, and Ikea: qualifying generic self-referencing effects in brand judgment. Journal of Business Research, 72, 69-79

Hagger, M. S., Chatzisarantis, N. L. D., Alberts, H., Anggono, C. O., Batailler, C., Birt, A., … , Fennis, B.M.,…Zwienenberg, M. (2016). A multi-lab pre-registered replication of the ego depletion effect. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11 (4), 546-573.

Salmon, S.J., Adriaanse, M.A., De Vet, E., Fennis, B.M., & De Ridder, D.T.D (2016). Depletion sensitivity predicts unhealthy snack purchases. Appetite, 96, 25-31.

Cheung, T., Kroese, F., Fennis, B.M., & de Ridder, D.T.D. (2015). Put a limit on it: The protective effects of scarcity heuristics when self-control is low. Health Psychology Open 2 (2), 2 (2), 2055102915615046.

Fennis, B.M., Andreassen, T.W., & Lervik-Olsen, L. (2015). Behavioral disinhibition can foster intentions to healthy lifestyle change by overcoming commitment to past behavior. PLoS ONE, 10 (11), e0142489. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0142489.

Fennis, B.M.., & Wiebenga, J. (2015). Disordered environments prompt mere goal pursuit. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 43, 226-237.

Salmon, S.J., Adriaanse, M.A., De Vet, E., Fennis, B.M., & De Ridder, D.T.D., & Veltkamp, M. (2015). Social proof in the supermarket: Promoting healthy choices under low self-control conditions. Food Quality and Preference, 45, 113-120.

Verhoeven, A.A.C., Adriaanse, M.A., de Vet, E., Fennis, B.M., & de Ridder, D.T.D. (2014). It's my party and I eat if I want to: Reasons for unhealthy snacking. Appetite, 84, 20-27.

Verhoeven, A.A.C., Adriaanse, M.A., de Vet, E., Fennis, B.M., & de Ridder, D.T.D. (2014). Identifying the ‘if’ for ‘if-then’ plans: Combining implementation intentions with cue-monitoring targeting unhealthy snacking behaviour. Psychology & Health, 29 (12), 1476-1492.

Giacomantonio, M., Jordan, J., Fennis, B.M., & Panno, A (2014). When motivational consequences of ego depletion collide: Conservation dominates over reward-seeking. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 55, 217-220.

Pfeiffer, B., Deval, H., Kardes, F., Hirt, E., Karpen, S., & Fennis, B.M. (2014). No product is perfect: The positive influence of acknowledging the negative. Thinking and Reasoning, 20 (4), 500-512.

Salmon, S.J., Adriaanse, M.A., De Vet, E., Fennis, B.M., & De Ridder, D.T.D. (2014). When the going gets tough, Who keeps going? Depletion sensitivity moderates the ego-depletion effect. Frontiers in Psychology, 5 (647), 1-8.

Acar-Burkay, S., Fennis, B.M., & Warlop, L. (2014)*. Trusting others: The polarization effects of Need for Closure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 107 (4), 719-735.

Fransen, M. & Fennis, B.M. (2014). Comparing the impact of explicit and implicit resistance strategies on message persuasiveness. Journal of Communication, 64, 915-934.

Fennis, B.M. & Stroebe, W. (2014). Softening the blow: Company self-disclosure of negative information lessens damaging effects on consumer judgment and decision making. Journal of Business Ethics, 120, 109-120.

Wiebenga, J., & Fennis, B.M. (2014)*. The road traveled, the road ahead, or simply on the road? When progress framing affects motivation in goal pursuit. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 24 (1), 49-62.

Salmon, S., Fennis, B.M., De Ridder, D.T.D., Adriaanse, M.A., & De Vet, E. (2014). Health on impulse: When low self-control promotes healthy food choices. Health Psychology, 33 (2), 103-109.

Verhoeven, A.A.C., Adriaanse, M., de Ridder, D.T.D., de Vet, E., & Fennis, B.M. (2013). Less is more: The effect of multiple implementation intentions targeting unhealthy snacking habits. European Journal of Social Psychology, 43 (5), 344-354.

Fennis, B.M., & Aarts, H. (2012). Revisiting the agentic shift: Weakening personal control increases susceptibility to social influence. European Journal of Social Psychology.42, 824 831.

Fennis, B.M., Das, E.H.H.J., & Fransen, M.L. (2012). Print advertising: Vivid content. Journal of Business Research 65, 861-864.

Fennis, B.M. (2011). Can’t get over me: Ego-depletion attenuates prosocial effects of perspective taking. European Journal of Social Psychology, 41, 580-585.

Beune, K., Giebels, E., Adair, W.L., Fennis, B.M., & Oudenhoven-van der Zee, K.I. (2011). Strategic sequences of police interviews and the importance of order and cultural fit. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 38, 934-954.

Fennis, B.M. & Stel, M. (2011). The pantomime of persuasion: Fit between nonverbal communication and influence strategies. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 806-810.

Fennis, B.M., Adriaanse, M.A., Stroebe, W., & Pol, B. (2011)*. Bridging the intention-behavior gap: Inducing implementation intentions through persuasive appeals. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 21, 302-311.

Fransen, M.L., Fennis, B.M., Pruyn, A., & Vohs, K.D. (2011). When fit fosters favoring: The role of private self-focus. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47 (1), 202-207.

Fransen, M.L., Smeesters, D., & Fennis, B.M. (2011). The role of social presence in mortality salience effects. Journal of Business Research, 64, 29-33.

Janssen, L., Fennis, B.M., & Pruyn, A. (2010). Forewarned is forearmed: Conserving self-control strength to resist social influence. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 911-921.

Fennis, B.M., & Janssen, L. (2010). Mindlessness revisited: Sequential request techniques foster compliance by draining self-control resources. Current Psychology, 29 (3), 235-246.

Fransen, M.L., Fennis, B.M., & Pruyn, A. (2010). Matching communication modalities: The effects of modality congruence and processing style on brand evaluation and brand choice. Communication Research, 37 (4), 576-598.

Van Hoof, J.J., De Jong, M.D.T., Fennis, B.M., & Van Gosselt, J. (2009). “There is alcohol in my soap” Effects of alcohol use in a popular television series. Health Education Research, 24 (3), 421-429.

Fennis, B.M., Janssen, L., & Vohs, K.D. (2009)*. Acts of benevolence: A limited-resource account of compliance with charitable requests. Journal of Consumer Research, 35, 906-924.

Fennis, B.M., Janssen, L., & Vohs, K.D. (2009). Impaired self-control can promote prosocial and health-fostering behavior. Psychology & Health, 24 (Suppl. 1), 25.

Das, E., & Fennis, B.M. (2008). In the mood to face the facts: When a positive mood promotes systematic processing of self-threatening information. Motivation and Emotion, 32, 221-230.

Fennis, B.M. (2008). Branded into submission: Brand attributes and hierarchisation behavior in same-sex and mixed-sex dyads. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 38 (8), 1993-2009.

Fransen, M., Fennis, B.M., & Pruyn, A. (2008). Rest in peace? The influence of brand-induced mortality salience on consumer behaviour. Journal of Business Research, 61 (10), 1053-1061.

Janssen, L., Fennis, B.M., Pruyn, A., & Vohs, K. (2008). The path of least resistance: Regulatory resource depletion and the effectiveness of social influence techniques. Journal of Business

Van Noort, G., Kerkhof, P., & Fennis, B.M. (2008)*. The persuasiveness of online safety cues: The impact of prevention focus compatibility of web content on consumers’ risk perceptions, attitudes and intentions. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 22 (4), 58-72.

Van Noort, G., Kerkhof, P., & Fennis, B.M. (2007). Online versus conventional shopping: Consumers' risk perception and regulatory focus. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 10 (5), 731-733.

Fennis, B.M. & Pruyn, A. Th. H. (2007)* . You are what you wear: The impact of brand personality on consumer impression formation. Journal of Business Research, 60 (6), 634-639. Rated #79 in ScienceDirect Top 100 downloaded articles by Netherlands-based authors in Social and Life Sciences.

Fransen, M., Fennis, B.M., & Pruyn, A.Th.H. (2007). “Be all you can be”: The influence of advertising slogans on regulatory focus and consumer spending behaviour. Advances in Consumer Research, 34, 206-207.

Kardes, F.R., Fennis, B.M., Hirt, E.R., Tormala, Z.L., & Bullington, B. (2007)*. The moderating role of the need for cognitive closure in the effectiveness of the disrupt-then-reframe influence technique. Journal of Consumer Research, 34, 377-385.

Fennis, B.M., Das, E.H.H.J., & Pruyn, A.Th.H. (2006). Interpersonal communication and compliance: The disrupt-then-reframe technique in dyadic influence settings. Communication Research, 33, 136-151.

Fennis, B.M., Pruyn, A.Th.H., & Maasland, M. (2005). Revisiting the Malleable Self:
Brand Effects on Consumer Self-Perceptions of Personality Traits. Advances in Consumer Research, 32, 371-377.

Fennis, B.M., Das, E.H.H.J., & Pruyn, A.Th.H. (2004)*. “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with nonsense”: Extending the impact of the Disrupt-Then-Reframe Technique of social influence. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 14(3), 280-290.

Das, E.H.H.J., & Fennis, B.M. (2004). Risicocommunicatie en rookgedrag: Een experimentele variatie op de waarschuwingen op sigarettenverpakkingen. Tijdschrift voor Communicatiewetenschap, 32 (4), 378-388.

Fennis, B.M. (2003). Advertising, consumer behavior and health: Exploring possibilities for health promotion. International Journal of Medical Marketing, 3(4), 316-326.

Fennis, B.M., & Bakker, A.B. (2001). Stay tuned: We will be back right after these messages: Need to evaluate moderates the transfer of irritation in advertising. Journal of Advertising, 30 (3), 16-25.

Bakker, A.B., & Fennis, B.M. (1997). Irritante reclame kan de effectiviteit van een volgende reclamespot ondermijnen. Tijdschrift voor Communicatiewetenschap, 25 (1), 17-32.