Tyler Stillman

Professor of Marketing / Director of Entrepreneurship


Specializing in judgment and decision making, social psychology, buyer behavior, and entrepreneurship



Dr. Tyler Stillman is an assistant professor of management and marketing at Southern Utah University and directs the Entrepreneurship Center. He teaches courses on judgement and decision making, managing organizations, leadership and buyer behavior.

Through his time as a student and educator, Dr. Stillman has conducted several research projects which have been cited over 3,000 times in total, according to Google Scholar. He has been featured in articles by Allure Magazine and The New York Times. Dr. Stillman has published over 35 academic research articles in various journals and publications across the country.

Dr. Stillman earned his bachelor degree in psychology from the University of Utah. At Florida State University he earned his master’s and doctorate in social psychology.


3 min

Why American Consumers Can't Resist Black Friday Deals

The most anticipated shopping day of the year is this Friday and buyers across the United States will brave the early morning lines to get those hard-to-resist deals, ushering in the holiday season. Considered the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, Black Friday has become the busiest shopping day of the year in the U.S. in recent years.Dr. Tyler Stillman, associate professor of management and marketing at Southern Utah University, studies consumer behavior—the psychology behind buying and selling—and shares the top three reasons why, as hard as we try, we just can’t pass up the allure of Black Friday deals.The first is scarcity. Consumers respond to scarcity because they view it as being worth more. “Retailers have long understood that scarcity works, exploiting the fact buyers have a built-in desire to buy hard-to-come-by products like ‘limited editions’ or ‘available for a limited time’ deals. The reason Black Friday is so effective is, in part, because it’s one day of deep discounts, which instantly makes it a scarce resource."The second reason is culture. According to Dr. Stillman, people are deeply and thoroughly cultural beings, meaning everything we do is somehow related to who we are as a society. “Black Friday has become a major American cultural event, pulling in those who might not otherwise be interested in shopping, just for the sake of it being part of the current American trend. Think about the Super Bowl. It is a huge cultural event that attracts people who don’t even like football. Black Friday is the same.” Dr. Stillman explains that the third reason is superiority. Consumers love to get the best deal.“The old understanding of self-esteem was simply knowing that people want to feel good about themselves. And that’s true as far as it goes but in this age, it doesn’t go far enough; we don’t just want to feel good about ourselves, we want to feel superior to other people. The satisfaction we get from finding a big deal has more to do with feeling superior than it does with self-esteem. It feels good to find an amazing deal on a TV, but it feels even greater to snag a better deal than someone else.”Meanwhile, many retailers have decided to close their doors on Thanksgiving Day or ditch the Black Friday concept altogether, most notably REI with its “Opt Outside” campaign, a social campaign encouraging people to forget the shopping and explore the outdoors. “By understanding that people want to feel good about themselves and better than other people, then the Opt Outside campaign makes sense. It’s another way people can feel superior. It’s good to be outside, but it’s even better to be outside and look down on people who are shopping on Black Friday. It sounds cynical, but I think there’s truth to it.”Dr. Stillman has been featured in articles by Allure Magazine and The New York Times and has published over 35 academic research articles in various journals and publications across the country. He is familiar with the media and available for an interview. Simply visit his profile.

Tyler Stillman


Industry Expertise

Market Research

Areas of Expertise

Decision and Risk Analysis
Psychological Consequences of Social Exclusion
Gender Differences in Consumer Behaviors
Behavioral Psychology
Buyer Behaviour
Social Psychology
Judgement and Decision Making
Management Psychology
Perceived Meaning of Life
Free and Unfree Actions


University of Utah



Florida State University


Social Psychology

Florida State University


Social Psychology


Board of Trustees Award of Excellence


Influencer Award

2017, 2018, & 2019

Distinguished Educator

Southern Utah University, 2015-2016

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Media Appearances

Universities in Southern Utah Develop Varied and Focused Entrepreneurship Programs

KSL  online


Southern Utah University’s Larry H. and Gail Miller Entrepreneurship Program offers a variety of academic and nonacademic programs to promote student businesspeople and startups. According to Tyler Stillman, the program’s director, they follow three guiding principles to achieve this goal: educate, experience and elevate.

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Attractive Outlooks

Allure  online


A woman's attitude about her life influences how attractive she seems, according to research headed by Tyler Stillman, a psychologist at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah. He and his colleagues surveyed men and women about their sense of meaning in life, videotaped pairs of them, and showed brief footage to a group of judges. The stronger the participants' clear purpose in life (whatever that meant to each of them), the more likable they were considered to be. This held true regardless of their scores in measures of self-esteem, happiness, openness, or spirituality. Everybody wanted to get to know the most good-looking people, but "for participants who were of average or below average attractiveness, having a strong sense of meaning made them significantly more appealing," the researchers report.

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Do You Have Free Will? Yes, It’s the Only Choice

The New York Times  online


“Doubting one’s free will may undermine the sense of self as agent,” Dr. Vohs and Dr. Schooler concluded. “Or, perhaps, denying free will simply provides the ultimate excuse to behave as one likes.” That could include goofing off on the job, according to another study done by Dr. Vohs along with a team of psychologists led by Tyler F. Stillman of Southern Utah University. They went to a day-labor employment agency armed with questionnaires for a sample of workers to fill out confidentially.

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A field investigation of flight anxiety: Evidence of gender differences in consumer behaviors among Las Vegas passengers

Journal of Airline and Airport Management

This study examines gender differences in consumer behaviors among the flying public inside Las Vegas McCarran International Airport in a field experiment theoretically grounded in Terror Management Theory. Findings and Originality/Value: Because airports are replete with reminders of human mortality, it is not a surprise that death awareness and flight anxiety may be closely related. The flying public that is anxious to fly presents an interesting public relations situation for airports. Therefore, this study examines how anxious the Las Vegas public is through a case study of one local international airport. Results show that flight anxiety does provoke the same kind of existential defenses that traditional death awareness does. This study also suggests that men and women do not react to flight anxiety in a uniform way, they are different in their reactions in seeking to gamble, eating unhealthy food, and an increased desire for electronic entertainment.

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No match for money: Even in intimate relationships and collectivistic cultures, reminders of money weaken sociomoral responses

Self and Identity

The present research tested two competing hypotheses: (1) as money cues activate an exchange orientation to social relations, money cues harm prosocial responses in communal and collectivistic settings; (2) as money can be used to help close others, money cues increase helping in communal or collectivistic settings. In a culture, characterized by strong helping norms, money cues reduced the quality of help given (Experiment 1), and lowered perceived moral obligation to help (Experiment 2). In communal relationships, money reminders decreased willingness to help romantic partners (Experiment 3). This effect was attenuated among people high on communal strength, although money cues made them upset with help requests (Experiment 4). Thus, the harmful effects of money on prosocial responses appear robust.

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The making of might-have-beens: effects of free will belief on counterfactual thinking

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

Counterfactual thoughts are based on the assumption that one situation could result in multiple possible outcomes. This assumption underlies most theories of free will and contradicts deterministic views that there is only one possible outcome of any situation. Three studies tested the hypothesis that stronger belief in free will would lead to more counterfactual thinking.

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BA 6100 Advanced Issues in Business

This course will be taught as a formal class once per year. It may also be taken any time under a directed readings approach on issues important to the individual graduate student. Approval of the mentoring faculty must be obtained prior to registration for the directed readings approach.

MGMT 6100 Managing Organizations and People

This course synthesizes material covered in the Social Sciences with basic business principles in an effort to understand why individuals think and behave as they do in a corporate setting. It analyzes individual and group variables, which inhibit or facilitate effective attainment of organizational goals. The roles of values and ethics are considered. Topics include motivation, leadership, conflict, decision-making, the changing business environment, group dynamics, organizational structure, and current issues in management.

MKTG 3010 Marketing Principles

An analysis of problems and concepts concerned with the distribution of goods from producer to consumer. The course includes survey of marketing research, product planning, pricing, channels of distribution and promotion.

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