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Kelly Herd, Ph.D. - University of Connecticut. Storrs, CT, US

Kelly Herd, Ph.D.

Associate Professor | University of Connecticut


Professor Herd focuses on creativity and product design as they relate to social cognition, identity, and emotions


Marketing professor Kelly Herd’s research focuses primarily on creativity and product design as they relate to a variety of topics including social cognition, identity, and emotions. She is particularly interested in what motivates consumers to engage in aesthetic product design and how companies can better enable individuals to develop unique and effective solutions to fulfill their own needs and wants (e.g., customization) as well as those of the marketplace (e.g., crowdsourcing). Dr. Herd’s has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing, and Journal of Consumer Psychology. In 2010, she won both the Marketing Science Institute’s Alden G. Clayton Dissertation Proposal Award and the Society for Marketing Advances’ “Best Retail Proposal” Dissertation Award.

Dr. Herd holds a Ph.D. in Marketing from the University of Colorado and a B.S. in Business Administration from Washington and Lee University. Prior to completing her Ph.D., she specialized in public relations and consumer research, developing marketing campaigns for clients including Toshiba, Disney, NBC, and Pepsi.

Areas of Expertise (6)


Product Design

Social Cognition

Consumer Behavior



Education (2)

University of Colorado: Ph.D.

Washington and Lee University: B.S.







Kelly B. Herd - Marketing Department Research


Media Appearances (5)

The 30-second trick that can make anyone more creative

Fast Company  online

“A lot of people are told to be very objective. ‘You’re a professional. Think about this in an objective way. Don’t get caught up in emotions,'” says Kelly Herd, marketing professor at the University of Connecticut. “But what we find is that [the empathetic] process actually leads to more creativity.”

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Amazon Wants To Change How You Buy Condoms, And Other 'Embarrassing' Items

Forbes  print

“Embarrassment has received sparse attention in consumer psychology literatures,” according to the study, “Wetting the Bed at Twenty-One: Embarrassment as a Private Emotion,” co-authored by Kelly Herd, assistant professor of marketing .

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Why even online shopping can get embarrassing

Futurity  online

The authors demonstrate that embarrassment is an emotion, which can also be experienced without the presence of others, and by self-judgment. Such private embarrassment can occur, for instance, when one wets the bed as an adult or overeats in the privacy of one’s own kitchen.

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People experience embarrassment buying personal products online

Phys.org  online

Private embarrassment depends more heavily on the buyer's purpose—self-concept was affected more when the purchase was for impotence than for performance.

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The hard way: Our odd desire to do it ourselves

New Scientist  online

Kelly Herd identifies a factor: a customised product takes on elements of the customer’s identity, reflecting them back to themselves. This, she thinks, could help explain the huge discrepancy between how people who have designed and customised an object rate them, and how other people rate them. “People create pretty objectively unattractive stuff but they love it,” she says.

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Articles (7)

Crowdfunding a Project? Why Casting a Wider Net Helps

American Marketing Association

Kelly Herd, Girish Mallapragada, and Vishal Narayan


Crowdfunding offers an alternative for creators looking to raise funds for their ideas. Creators list their ideas on online crowdfunding platforms by describing their idea, setting a monetary goal for fundraising, and requesting backers to support their idea. When backers find ideas to their liking on the platform, they support them by committing funds and, in so doing, grow the community as they form co-backing relationships with other backers. Such co-backing relationships are referred to as affiliations. However, affiliations might have unexpected consequences to the success of ideas. In a new study in the Journal of Marketing, we study how affiliations among backers affect the success of crowdfunded ideas.

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Look at Me! Or Don’t…: How Mere Social Presence Impacts Innovation Adoption

Journal of the Association for Consumer Research

Xu, Lidan, Ravi Mehta, and Kelly B. Herd

2019 While the adoption of innovative products offers an opportunity for consumers to stand out and signal their uniqueness, such adoption also may also be associated with social risk. The current research highlights how the mere presence of others can make these related and often conflicting factors salient and in turn impact consumers’ willingness to fund or buy innovative products.

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Head vs. Heart: The Effect of Objective versus Feelings-Based Mental Imagery on New Product Creativity

Journal of Consumer Research

Herd, Kelly B. and Ravi Mehta

2018 Imagination visual mental imagery, a mental simulation process that involves imagining an end user interacting with an end product, has been proposed as an efficient strategy to incorporate end-user experiences during new product ideation. Consumer research finds that this strategy enhances overall product usefulness, but does not resolve whether and how this process may impact outcome originality.

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A Review of Consumer Embarrassment as a Public and Private Emotion

Journal of Consumer Psychology

Krishna, Aradhna, Kelly B. Herd, and Nilufer Z. Aydınoğlu

2018 Whether the result of mispronouncing a fancy brand name, miscalculating a tip, purchasing a sensitive product, or stumbling into a product display, embarrassment is an important part of the consumer landscape. Embarrassment has traditionally been considered a social emotion, one that can only be experienced in public.

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Wetting the bed at twenty-one: Embarrassment as a private emotion

Journal of Consumer Psychology

Aradhna Krishna, Kelly B Herd, Nilüfer Z Aydınoğlu

2015 Embarrassment has been defined as a social emotion that occurs due to the violation of a social norm in public, which is appraised by others (what we call “public embarrassment”). We propose that embarrassment can also be felt when one violates a social norm in private, or when one appraises oneself and violates one’s self-concept (“private embarrassment”). We develop a typology of embarrassment with two underlying dimensions – social context (transgression in-public or in-private) and mechanism (appraisal by others or by the self)...

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It's the Thought (and the Effort) That Counts: How Customizing for Others Differs from Customizing for Oneself

Journal of Marketing

C Page Moreau, Leff Bonney, Kelly B Herd

2011 While interest in customization is growing among consumers and academics, researchers have focused on consumers designing products for themselves. Many customization firms, however, are successfully positioning themselves as key sources for unique gifts. In this research, the authors examine whether factors under the firm's control (i.e., the level of design support provided and the presence of a strong brand) are differentially effective when consumers design products for themselves or as gifts for others...

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To Each His Own? How Comparisons with Others Influence Consumers’ Evaluations of Their Self-Designed Products

Journal of Consumer Research

Kelly Herd, Page Moreau

2009 The vast majority of consumer behavior research has examined how consumers respond to products that are offered on a “take it or leave it” basis by the manufacturer. Self-design changes the rules substantially, allowing consumers to have much more control over the product’s characteristics. This research examines the factors influencing consumers’ evaluations of self-designed products...

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