Track 1.6: The Risk and the Promise of Human Curiosity for Consumer Well-Being: Developing the Research Agenda to Protect and Empower Consumers


The concept of curiosity has been discussed and debated in the psychology literature even before the seminal article by George Lowenstein published in 1994. He defined curiosity as “a form of cognitively induced deprivation that arises from the perception of a gap in knowledge or understanding.” Bringing this discussion into the realm of consumer behavior and well-being, we see curiosity driving a wide variety of products and health and well-being decisions. For example, in a recent Journal of Marketing article on customer journeys, Siebert et. al. (2020) identify a spark of curiosity as a source of motivation for consumers to enter what the authors term “sticky customer journeys” - those typically associated with recreational services and products. However, insights into the various types of curiosity and the role(s) curiosity may play in consumption are rather limited (Hsee and Ruan 2020). For instance, on the bright side, “curiosity gap” has the potential to become a powerful motivational force, nudging consumers to make smarter and healthier lifestyle choices (Polman, Ruttan, and Peck 2016). At the same time, curiosity may also lead consumers down the wrong paths, such as responding to “clickbait” titles, making decisions that may result in painful and unpleasant outcomes, or engaging in risky behavior (e.g., Hsee and Ruan 2016). Thus, curiosity can be both a blessing and a curse to consumer well-being. As piquing one’s curiosity is becoming progressively easier, enabled by technology, it is both timely and urgent that we develop a conceptual framework to help researchers better understand the many roles curiosity can play in consumption and in particular, delineate a research agenda for future empirical work to help protect and enhance consumer well-being.


This track aims to assemble academics and practitioners interested in exploring the risk and the promise of human curiosity for consumer well-being from various theoretical, policy, and industry perspectives. We plan to pursue two key objectives: (1) Develop a framework for understanding the role(s) human curiosity plays in consumption behaviors, including the relevant psychological mechanisms (internal to consumer) and marketing tactics (external to consumer) that have the potential to support and/or have a detrimental short- and long-term impact on consumer well-being and (2) Begin devising empirical studies to shed light on the research questions stemming from (1) that hold the most potential for informing marketers, public policymakers, and educating consumers. To that end, we hope that beyond the conceptual paper, the track participants will continue their empirical work in following the proposed agenda.


Conference Track Approach

  • Pre-Conference Activities: Review relevant literature in psychology and marketing, the popular press, and books that shed light on human curiosity. 
  • Conference Activities: Work on developing and fleshing out the framework and the research agenda with the goal of writing up a rigorous conceptual paper targeting JCP or JPPM. 
  • Post-Conference Activities: The group will continue developing the manuscript and consider additional opportunities to extend the proposed research agenda and empirically test some of its propositions.


Given the multifaceted nature of human curiosity and the diversity of perspectives on its role(s) in human experience, this track seeks to attract academics and practitioners with a variety of backgrounds to allow for a more holistic integrative approach to understanding the impact of human curiosity on consumer well-being in the marketplace. Relatedly, we encourage applications from individuals at all stages of their career, including PhD students, with a kin interest in exploring human curiosity within and beyond the boundaries of their own discipline.

For queries related to this track please email: Yuliya Komarova (
To apply to this track, please email a Research Vision to Yuliya Komarova (


Hsee, Christopher K. and Bowen Ruan (2016), “The Pandora Effect: The Power and Peril of Curiosity,” Psychological Science, 27(5), 659-66.
Hsee, Christopher K. and Bowen Ruan (2020), “Curiosity and Its Implications for Consumer Behavior,” in Continuing to Broaden the Marketing Concept, Review of Marketing Research, 17, 223-239.
Loewenstein, George (1994), “The Psychology of Curiosity: A Review and Reinterpretation,” Psychological Bulletin, 116 (1), 75-98.
Polman, Evan, Rachel L. Ruttan, and Joann Peck (2016), “Using Curiosity to Increase the Choice of “Should” Options,” Working Paper.
Siebert, Anton, Ahir Gopaldas, Andrew Lindridge and Claudia Simões (2020), “Customer Experience Journeys: Loyalty Loops versus Involvement Spirals,” Journal of Marketing, 84 (4), 45-66.

Track Chair Bios


Yuliya Komarova (Loureiro) is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the Gabelli School of Business, Fordham University. Her research interests lie primarily in the realms of moral judgment and regulation, particularly as they pertain to consumer well-being. Specifically, she has focused on better understanding moral judgment in the consumption context and the underpinnings of wise consumption, which has most recently led her to examine when and how human curiosity can support and harm consumer well-being. Yuliya’s research has been published in the Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, International Journal of Research in Marketing, among others. 

Courtney Droms Hatch is the Associate Dean of Faculty and an Associate Professor of Marketing at Butler University. Her research interests include examining the intersections of marketing and public policy, including topics such as the effect of health information on food choices, examining health care decisions in international markets, and consumer choices of functional food products. Her research has been published in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, Journal of Consumer Policy, Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Journal of Food Products Marketing, and Health Marketing Quarterly. 

My (Myla) Bui is a Professor of Marketing in the Department of Marketing & Business Law at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Her research interests include food and health consumption decision making, consumer well-being, digital health, and emerging technology.
She has professional experience in promotional marketing through and business development/market research through Intralox LLC, USA, among a range of business consulting experience. Myla has published research at the premier journals in the field of marketing and business, namely the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, European Journal of Marketing, and Psychology & Marketing, among others. 


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