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Tyler Stillman - Southern Utah University. Cedar City, UT, US

Tyler Stillman

Professor of Marketing / Director of Entrepreneurship | Southern Utah University


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.







Dr. Tyler Stillman loading image loading image loading image Director of Entrepreneurship and Professor of Marketing loading image



Industry Expertise (3)



Market Research

Areas of Expertise (11)

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

Education (3)

University of Utah: B.S., Psychology

Florida State University: M.S., Social Psychology

Florida State University: Ph.D., Social Psychology

Accomplishments (4)

Board of Trustees Award of Excellence


Influencer Award

2017, 2018, & 2019

Distinguished Educator

Southern Utah University, 2015-2016

Outstanding Paper Mountain Plains Journal of Business and Economics


Media Appearances (4)

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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What’s So Funny? Well, Maybe Nothing

The New York Times  online


“Laughter seems to be an automatic response to your situation rather than a conscious strategy,” says Tyler F. Stillman, who did the experiments along with Roy Baumeister and Nathan DeWall. “When I tell the muffin joke to my undergraduate classes, they laugh out loud.”

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Articles (17)

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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VITA experiential, service-learning, learned competencies, and changed mindsets

Journal of College Teaching & Learning

The authors describe how Southern Utah University has integrated the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program as an experiential service-learning activity for over a decade and a half. First, we describe the value of experiential service-learning. Second, we detail the program, its oversight, its student volunteers, and its purposes. Third, we provide a quantitative assessment of professional competencies based on a sample of 29 recent VITA student volunteers.

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To belong is to matter: Sense of belonging enhances meaning in life

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

In four methodologically diverse studies (N= 644), we found correlational (Study 1), longitudinal (Study 2), and experimental (Studies 3 and 4) evidence that a sense of belonging predicts how meaningful life is perceived to be. In Study 1 (n= 126), we found a strong positive correlation between sense of belonging and meaningfulness. In Study 2 (n= 248), we found that initial levels of sense of belonging predicted perceived meaningfulness of life, obtained 3 weeks later.

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Virtually justifiable homicide: The effects of prosocial contexts on the link between violent video games, aggression, and prosocial and hostile cognition

Aggressive Behavior

Previous work has shown that playing violent video games can stimulate aggression toward others. The current research has identified a potential exception. Participants who played a violent game in which the violence had an explicitly prosocial motive (ie, protecting a friend and furthering his nonviolent goals) were found to show lower short-term aggression (Study 1) and show higher levels of prosocial cognition (Study 2) than individuals who played a violent game in which the violence was motivated by more ...

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Gratitude and depressive symptoms: The role of positive reframing and positive emotion

Cognition & emotion

Eight studies (N= 2,973) tested the theory that gratitude is related to fewer depressive symptoms through positive reframing and positive emotion. Study 1 found a direct path between gratitude and depressive symptoms. Studies 2–5 demonstrated that positive reframing mediated the relationship between gratitude and depressive symptoms. Studies 6–7 showed that positive emotion mediated the relationship between gratitude and depressive symptoms. Study 8 found that positive reframing and positive emotion simultaneously ...

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A love that doesn't last: Pornography consumption and weakened commitment to one's romantic partner

Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

We examined whether the consumption of pornography affects romantic relationships, with the expectation that higher levels of pornography consumption would correspond to weakened commitment in young adult romantic relationships. Study 1 (n= 367) found that higher pornography consumption was related to lower commitment, and Study 2 (n= 34) replicated this finding using observational data. Study 3 (n= 20) participants were randomly assigned to either refrain from viewing pornography or to a self-control task.

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The material and immaterial in conflict: Spirituality reduces conspicuous consumption

Journal of Economic Psychology

Many spiritual leaders have argued that materialistic pursuits are incompatible with following a spiritual life. Consistent with this view, we found that higher levels of spirituality correspond to a decreased desire to consume material goods in a conspicuous manner. Study 1 was correlational, and found that people who reported having spiritual experiences reported a decreased desire to spend lavishly for visible consumer goods, such as a cell phone. Study 2 was experimental, and found that participants assigned to recall a spiritual event also ...

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Free will in everyday life: Autobiographical accounts of free and unfree actions

Philosophical Psychology

What does free will mean to laypersons? The present investigation sought to address this question by identifying how laypersons distinguish between free and unfree actions. We elicited autobiographical narratives in which participants described either free or unfree actions, and the narratives were subsequently subjected to impartial analysis. Results indicate that free actions were associated with reaching goals, high levels of conscious thought and deliberation, positive outcomes, and moral behavior (among other things).

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Social exclusion causes people to spend and consume strategically in the service of affiliation

Journal of Consumer Research

When people's deeply ingrained need for social connection is thwarted by social exclusion, profound psychological consequences ensue. Despite the fact that social connections and consumption are central facets of daily life, little empirical attention has been devoted to understanding how belongingness threats affect consumer behavior. In four experiments, we tested the hypothesis that social exclusion causes people to spend and consume strategically in the service of affiliation.

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Family as a salient source of meaning in young adulthood

The Journal of Positive Psychology

Five studies demonstrated the role of family relationships as an important source of perceived meaning in life. In Study 1 (n= 50), 68% participants reported that their families were the single most significant contributor to personal meaning. Study 2 (n= 231) participants ranked family above 12 likely sources of meaning. Studies 3 (n= 87) and 4 (n= 130) demonstrated that participants' reports of their closeness to family (Study 3) and support from family (Study 4) predicted perceived meaning in life, even when controlling ...

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Acetaminophen reduces social pain: Behavioral and neural evidence

Psychological science

Pain, whether caused by physical injury or social rejection, is an inevitable part of life. These two types of pain—physical and social—may rely on some of the same behavioral and neural mechanisms that register pain-related affect. To the extent that these pain processes overlap, acetaminophen, a physical pain suppressant that acts through central (rather than peripheral) neural mechanisms, may also reduce behavioral and neural responses to social rejection. In two experiments, participants took acetaminophen or placebo daily for 3 ...

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Personal philosophy and personnel achievement: Belief in free will predicts better job performance

Social Psychological and Personality Science

Do philosophic views affect job performance? The authors found that possessing a belief in free will predicted better career attitudes and actual job performance. The effect of free will beliefs on job performance indicators were over and above well-established predictors such as conscientiousness, locus of control, and Protestant work ethic. In Study 1, stronger belief in free will corresponded to more positive attitudes about expected career success. In Study 2, job performance was evaluated objectively and independently by a supervisor.

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Alone and without purpose: Life loses meaning following social exclusion

Journal of experimental social psychology

Four studies (N= 643) supported the hypothesis that social exclusion would reduce the global perception of life as meaningful. Social exclusion was manipulated experimentally by having a confederate refuse to meet participants after seeing their videotaped introduction (Study 1) and by ostracizing participants in a computerized ball-tossing game (Study 2). Compared to control condition and acceptance conditions, social exclusion led to perceiving life as less meaningful.

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Free will in consumer behavior: Self-control, ego depletion, and choice

Journal of Consumer Psychology

Consumer behavior offers a useful window on human nature, through which many distinctively human patterns of cognition and behavior can be observed. Consumer behavior should therefore be of central interest to a broad range of psychologists. These patterns include much of what is commonly understood as free will. Our approach to understanding free will sidesteps metaphysical and theological debates. Belief in free will is pervasive in human social life and contributes to its benefits.

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Violence restrained: Effects of self-regulation and its depletion on aggression

Journal of Experimental social psychology

Aggressive impulses arise from many factors, but they are usually held in check by social norms for self-control. Thus, the proximal cause of aggression is often failure of self-restraint. In five studies, depleted capacity for self-regulation (caused by prior, even irrelevant acts of self-regulation) increased aggressive responding, especially after an insulting provocation. When participants were insulted and their self-regulatory strength was depleted (ie, after completing previous tasks that required self-regulation), participants were more likely to ...

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Courses (4)

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.

MKTG 3030/PSY 4500 Buyer Behavior

An examination of influences on consumer and organization buying behavior and the implications for marketing. Utilizes concepts from various relevant disciplines.