Thinking Unconsciously


Thinking Unconsciously and Consumer Brand Beliefs, Attitude, Preferences, and Behavior , Special issue of Journal of Brand Management, Edited by S. Adam Brasel and Arch G. Woodside; Deadline 15 Mar 2010

 ARC: Connections: ELMAR: Posting

areas: cb: call

Related ARContent: Journal of Brand Mangement 

Thinking Unconsciously and Consumer Brand Beliefs, Attitude, Preferences, and Behavior

Call for Papers (Deadline: 15 March 2010)
Special Issue of the Journal of Brand Management

Theory and empirical reports in consumer research support and extend Reber’s (1993) "implicit stance”— unconscious processes are axiomatic: we cannot get along cognitively without them, and we cannot understand cognition without them. The study of cognition outside phenomenal awareness is now a growth industry in psychology, cognitive science, and consumer research (cf. Bargh, 1994; Dijksterhuis and van Olden 2006; Fitzsimons and Shiv 2001; Dijksterhuis and Nordgren 2006; Kihlstrom 1994; Strick, Dijksterhuis, Bos, Sjoerdma, van Baaren, and Nordgren, undated; Walvis, 2008). All human thinking and actions includes a mix of conscious and unconscious thinking (cf. Fitzsimons, Hutchinson, and Williams, 2002; Wilson, 2002; Zaltman, 2003). Consequently, the analogy of one hand clapping has some relevancy to the use of self-report methods alone in consumer research.

Especially as branding has moved from a cognition-centric worldview to a more holistic approach that involves cognition, affect, aesthetics, and nonconscious process, the Journal of Brand Management is pleased to announce a special issue organized around the concept of nonconscious processing within the consumer branding sphere. Topic coverage will include some of the following themes—additional themes are invited for journal consideration:

  • Unconscious attention and perceptual processes affecting brand awareness / preference
  • Latency theory and measurement relating to brand evaluations and choice
  • Non-conscious learning of brand knowledge
  • Theory and research on confirmatory personal introspection involving brand relevancy
  • Neuroscience contributions to consumer research on brand preference and choice
  • Unconscious thinking and normative theories of product and brand choice
  • Automatic retrieval research beyond asking what evokes the brand
  • Environmental effects on unconscious-conscious thought and actions relating to brands
  • Is unconscious thinking goal dependent for brand choice?
  • Contingency theory of introspection reducing versus increasing the quality of preferences and decisions relating to brands
  • Indexing and spreading activation / neural networks involving unconscious thinking about brands
  • Activation and metacognition of mostly inaccessible stored information relating to brands
  • Brands as icons: psychoanalysis, archetypal theory, metaphors, and unconscious thinking and actions relating to brands (Holt, 2004; Woodside, Sood, & Miller 2008; Zaltman and Zaltman, 2009).

In July 7-9, 2010, the Department of Marketing, Carroll School of Management, Boston College, will host a two-day symposium on current research on consumer unconscious thinking and actions relating to brands. Some of the papers selected for the special issue of the Journal of Brand Management have the opportunity to present at this symposium.

Please submit an extensive (four-page) abstract or complete paper by the deadline to both symposium organizers and guest editors of the JBM special issue: S. Adam Brasel ( and Arch G. Woodside ( Please prepare your submission in WORD using APA style.


Bargh, J. A. (1994). The four horsemen of automaticity: Awareness, intention, efficiency, and control in social cognition. In R. S. Wyer, Jr. & T. K. Srull (Eds.), The handbook of social cognition: Vol. 2. Basic processes (pp. 1-40). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum

Dijsterhuis, A., & Nordgren, L. F. (2006). A theory of unconscious thought. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 1, 95-109.

Dijsterhuis, A., & van Olden, Z. (2006). On the benefits of thinking unconsciously: Unconscious thought can increase post-choice satisfaction. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 627-631.

Holt, D. B. (2004). How brands become icons. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Press.

Fitzsimons, G. J., Hutchinson, J. W., & Williams, P. (2002). Non-conscious influences on consumer choice. Marketing Letters, 13, 269-279.

Fitzsimons, G. J., & Shiv, B. (2001). Nonconscious and contaminative effects of hypothetical questions on decision making. Journal of Consumer Research, 28, 224-238.

Kihlstrom, J. F. (1994). Implicit learning and tacit knowledge: An essay on the cognitive unconscious. Science, 264 (May 13, 1994), 1013-1014.

Reber, A. S. (1993). An essay on the cognitive unconscious. New York: Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford Psychology Series, 19.

Strick, M., Dijksterhuis, A., Bos, M. W., Sjoerdma, A., van Baaren, R. B., & Nordgren, L. F. (undated). A meta-analysis of unconscious thought effects. (Available at

Walvus, T. H. (2008). Three laws of branding: Neuroscientific foundations of effective brand building. Journal of Brand Management, 16, 176-194.

Wilson, T. D. (2002). Strangers to ourselves: Discovering the adaptive unconscious. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Woodside, A. G., Sood, S., & Miller, K. E. (2008). When consumers and brands talk: Storytelling theory and research in psychology and marketing, Psychology & Marketing, 25, 97-145.

Zaltman, G (2003). How customers think. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Press.

Zaltman, G., & Zaltman, L. H. (2008). Marketing metaphoria: What deep metaphors reveal about the minds of consumers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Press.