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Kelly Haws - Vanderbilt University. Nashville, TN, US

Kelly Haws

Anne Marie and Thomas B. Walker, Jr. Professor of Marketing | Vanderbilt University


Expert in food consumption choices, dieting, financial decision making, and self-control in consumption.







Why consumers like a Ask an Expert: How can you make better food decisions during the holidays?



A prolific researcher with a focus on consumer behavior, Kelly Haws' work on food decision-making has garnered significant attention from marketers and consumers alike.

Haws was named a Young Scholar by the Marketing Science Institute (MSI) in 2009, and in 2013, she was awarded the Early Career Award by the Association of Consumer Research. In 2018, she was recognized as an MSI Scholar. She was previously a Vanderbilt Chancellor’s Faculty Fellow, and now holds the Anne Marie and Thomas B. Walker, Jr. Chair.

Haws is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Marketing and the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science and an editorial review board member for the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of Retailing, the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, Marketing Letters, and the Journal of Business Research. She is the co-chair of the Society of Consumer Psychology 2019 conference.

Haws' work has appeared in numerous publications, including the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Marketing Research, the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of Consumer Psychology, the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, Management Science, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Appetite, the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, and others.

Haws teaches Consumer Analysis at the graduate level and Principles of Marketing at the undergraduate level.

Areas of Expertise (4)


Food Decision Making

Financial Decision Making


Accomplishments (4)

Marketing Science Institute Scholar (professional)

Marketing Science Institute Scholar

Outstanding Area Editor Award (professional)

Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 2018

Best Individual Paper, Society for Consumer Psychology (professional)


Early Career Award Recipient (professional)

Association of Consumer Research

Education (3)

University of South Carolina: Ph.D.

Mississippi State University: M.B.A.

Mississippi State University: B.B.A.

Selected Media Appearances (10)

Mom Dragged for Trying To Enforce 'Clear Your Plate' Rule on Friend's Kid

Newsweek  online


Kelly Haws, one of the co-authors of the study who is a marketing professor at Tennessee's Vanderbilt University, explained: "Many of us were raised with this 'clean your plate' mentality, stemming from a desire to ensure one is not being wasteful or their children are eating well; however, this can also lead to overconsumption."

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The annual rite of pumpkin spice: Have we hit 'peak' pumpkin? Apparently not

USA Today  online


Some of these new products may test consumers' love of pumpkin spice. "If pumpkin spice is taken too far, it is unlikely to be a success," said Kelly Haws, professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University. "After all, to stick around, a significant number of consumers have to not only try but also repurchase the product."

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Why the Pumpkin Spice Latte will never die

Fast Company  online


Kelly Haws, a Vanderbilt marketing professor who specializes in consumers’ food decision-making, says there’s also a nostalgia factor at play. “The flavor brings back positive memories for people around family, the holidays, and the fall,” says Haws. “It’s also typically coupled with something sweet and fattening, and we have an innate need and desire for sugar and fat, and many of these pumpkin spice products have a lot of both.” (A 16-ounce Starbucks PSL has 390 calories and 14 grams of fat.) Haws echoes the comedian Raft: “It also just feels like something fun and happy to think about when the news is full of not very pleasant things.”

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4 shopping mistakes to avoid this Amazon Prime Day

CNBC  online


“Scarcity is one of the most persuasive techniques that marketers use,” Kelly Haws, consumer psychology expert and Vanderbilt University marketing professor previously told CNBC Make It.

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Crumpled clothes and bare shelves: As retailers like Walmart, Macy’s woo customers back, some have to clean up shop

CNBC  online


Kelly Haws, a consumer psychologist and professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University, said store presentation will shape whether consumers feel eager or anxious to shop. She said cleanliness is most important for many consumers because of the global health crisis.

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How Ugg is making a major comeback 20 years after its heyday

Today  online


"Times of uncertainty often drive us toward products that provide comfort and even nostalgia. Although the Ugg brand has worked hard to extend its product lines and refresh its brand, ultimately, the brand is associated with warmth, comfort and durability," said Kelly Haws, a professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University. "Add to the turbulence, uncertainty, casualwear of the home office of 2020 and the changing seasons, and you have a recipe custom made for increased demand for Uggs."

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How to balance eating to live and living to eat | Opinion

Tennessean  online


Few of us have escaped the stress and anxiety of our lives being disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic. And for many of us, that has led to a reckoning with food. We might seize this moment in time by consoling ourselves with food or instead take the opportunity to develop new, healthier habits.

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7 common shopping mistakes to avoid on Amazon Prime Day

CNBC  online


According to consumer psychology expert Kelly Haws, like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the idea with Prime Day is that Amazon “tries to throw a lot at a consumer to get them excited about this very limited time opportunity,” the Vanderbilt University marketing professor says.

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Constant dieters might be choosing the wrong way to lose weight

The Conversation  online


Dieters looking for a healthier substitute of their favorite high-fat food – such as a bag of potato chips – typically have two choices in the grocery aisle: a smaller package of the exact same food or a larger portion of a “light” version. In a series of studies, we put this choice to consumers and found that people who frequently try to cut back on their eating or are essentially always on a diet – known as “restrained eaters” – prefer the larger portion size of the light version, even though both contained the exact same number of calories. Participants who indicated that they rarely dieted tended to pick the smaller size with the full flavor.

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‘I’ll have what she’s having’ – how and why we copy the choices of others

The Conversation  online


Imagine you’re dining out at a casual restaurant with some friends. After looking over the menu, you decide to order the steak. But then, after a dinner companion orders a salad for their main course, you declare: “I’ll have the salad too.” This kind of situation – making choices that you probably otherwise wouldn’t make were you alone – probably happens more often than you think in a wide variety of settings, from eating out to shopping and even donating to charity. And it’s not just a matter of you suddenly realizing the salad sounds more appetizing.

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Research Grants (1)

Research Grant

Center for Consumers, Markets and Politics, Ministry of Agriculture and Consumer Protection $13,500

Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, with Sven Feurer

Selected Articles (5)

Healthy Through Presence or Absence, Nature or Science?: A Framework for Understanding Front-of-Package Food Claims

Journal of Public Policy & Marketing

Quentin André, Pierre Chandon, Kelly Haws

2019 Food products claim to be healthy in many ways, but prior research has investigated these claims at either the macro level (using broad descriptions such as “healthy” or “tasty”) or the micro level (using single claims such as “low fat”). The authors use a meso-level framework to examine whether these claims invoke natural or scientific arguments and whether they communicate about positive attributes present in the food or negative attributes absent from the food.

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Justifying by “healthifying”: When expected satisfaction from consumption closure increases the desire to eat more and biases health perceptions of unhealthy leftovers


Veronika Ilyuk, Lauren Block, Kelly L Haws

2019 Given ongoing concerns about worldwide obesity, a rapidly growing body of research has sought to identify factors that drive consumption of energy-dense foods and snacks with little nutritional value. The present research contributes to this literature by exploring the role of consumption closure—a state characterized by perceiving a given eating occasion as finished or complete—on people's desire to eat more.

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That’s Not So Bad, I’ll Eat More! Backfire Effects of Calories-per-Serving Information on Snack Consumption

Journal of Marketing

Andrea Heintz Tangari, My Bui, Kelly L Haws, Peggy J Liu

2019 This research investigates how provision of calories-per-serving information on serving size labels affects snack consumption quantity. Drawing from expectancy-disconfirmation theory, this research shows that providing calories-per-serving information can ironically create a consumption backfire effect (consumers eat more when presented with calories-per-serving information) for snacks perceived as unhealthy but not for snacks perceived as healthy.

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Confession and self-control: A prelude to repentance or relapse?

Journal of personality and social psychology

Michael L Lowe, Kelly L Haws

2018 Confessions are commonplace. Even when embarrassing or otherwise damaging, we seem intrinsically motivated to open up to others and confess mistakes we have made. Although there may be many reasons one might choose to disclose one’s “sins,” very little is known about what confession actually does, particularly concerning its effect on future behavior.

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Parenting motivation and consumer decision-making

Journal of Consumer Research

Yexin Jessica Li, Kelly L Haws, Vladas Griskevicius

2018 Parenting has been a central activity throughout human history, yet little research has examined the parental care motivation system on preferences and decision-making. Because successful parenting involves caring for both a child’s immediate and long-term needs, we consider whether parenting motivation leads people to focus more on the present or on the future.

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