Stephen Spiller

Associate Professor of Marketing and Behavioral Decision Making
“We’re always aiming to better understand how consumers see the world.”
Gold Hall, B-416
Areas of Expertise:
  • Behavioral Decision Theory
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Consumer Financial Decision Making
  • Intertemporal Choice
  • Planning
  • Psychology of Money




Stephen Spiller’s research focuses on the psychological processes governing how consumers plan, allocate and represent their time and money. He is particularly interested in two areas: how consumers think about and make decisions about their money; and how consumers think about products as a matter of quality or taste.

“I try to integrate what we know about consumer psychology with traditional economic models to push the boundaries of each,” he says. His research approach entails diagnosing marketing problems by thinking through how consumers make decisions to understand better how potential solutions will apply to particular situations.

He serves on the editorial review board for the Journal of Consumer Research and has led data analysis workshops for professional organizations such as the Society of Consumer Psychology and the Association for Consumer Research.

Spiller earned his Ph.D. at Duke University, where he taught undergraduates in the Markets and Management Studies program. His dissertation examined the effects of perceived resource constraints and memory accessibility on the degree to which consumers consider their opportunity costs. In ongoing research, Spiller examines how consumers assess the value of money, the psychological antecedents of financial fragility, and the effects of consumer beliefs about quality and taste. At UCLA Anderson, he teaches the Consumer Behavior course in the MBA, FEMBA and Ph.D. programs.

As a result of his time in the Mid-Atlantic, Spiller is a fan of ACC basketball, North Carolina barbeque (only as a consumer, not as a producer) and bluegrass music festivals.



Ph.D. Business Administration, 2011, Duke University

B.A. Economics and Psychology, with highest distinction, 2006, University of Virginia



Spiller, Stephen A., Nicholas Reinholtz, and Sam J. Maglio (accepted manuscript). "Judgments Based on Stocks and Flows: Different Presentations of the Same Data Can Lead to Opposing Inferences,Management Science.

Spiller, Stephen A. and Lena Belogolova (in press). “On Consumer Beliefs about Quality and Taste,Journal of Consumer Research.

Simon, Dan, and Stephen A. Spiller (in press). “The Elasticity of Preferences,Psychological Science.

Carlin, Bruce, Li Jiang, and Stephen A. Spiller (in press). “Millennial-Style Learning: Search Intensity, Decision-Making, and Information-Sharing,Management Science.

Greenberg, Adam Eric and Stephen A. Spiller (2016). “Opportunity Cost Neglect Attenuates the Effect of Choices on Preferences,Psychological Science, 27 (1), 103-113.

McClelland, Gary H., John G. Lynch, Jr., Julie R. Irwin, Stephen A. Spiller, and Gavan J. Fitzsimons (2015). “Median Splits, Type II Errors, and False Positive Consumer Psychology: Don’t Fight the Power,Journal of Consumer Psychology, 25 (4), 679-689.

Spiller, Stephen A., Gavan J. Fitzsimons, John G. Lynch, Jr., and Gary H. McClelland (2013). “Spotlights, Floodlights, and the Magic Number Zero: Simple Effects Tests in Moderated Regression,Journal of Marketing Research, 50 (2), 277-88.

Dalton, Amy N. and Stephen A. Spiller (2012), “Too Much of a Good Thing: The Benefits of Implementation Intentions Depend on the Number of Goals,Journal of Consumer Research, 39 (3), 600-14.

Mick, David G., Stephen A. Spiller, and Anthony J. Baglioni (2012), “A Systematic Self-Observation Study of Consumers’ Conceptions of Practical Wisdom in Everyday Purchase Events,Journal of Business Research, 65 (7), 1051-59.

Spiller, Stephen A. (2011), “Opportunity Cost Consideration,Journal of Consumer Research, 38 (4), 595-610. Lead article.

Lynch, John G., Jr., Richard G. Netemeyer, Stephen A. Spiller, and Alessandra Zammit (2010), “A Generalizable Scale of Propensity to Plan: The Long and the Short of Planning for Time and for Money,Journal of Consumer Research, 37 (1), 108-28.


Working Papers

A Theory of Slack: Perceived Resource Supply and Demand in Intertemporal Choice. With John Lynch and Gal Zauberman.

How Does the Perceived Value of a Medium of Exchange Depend on Its Set of Possible Uses?. With Dan Ariely.