Barbara Kahn

Patty and Jay H. Baker Professor at The Wharton School


The Wharton School

Barbara E. Kahn returned to The Wharton School in January 2011 to serve as the Patty and Jay H. Baker Professor of Marketing and the Director of the Jay H. Baker Retailing Center. Prior to rejoining Wharton, Barbara served for three and a half years as the Dean and Schein Family Chair Professor of Marketing at the School of Business Administration, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida. While Dean at the University of Miami, she launched new global initiatives and academic programs, attracted top faculty from some of the world’s leading business schools to enhance the caliber of the school’s research and teaching, and established new partnerships with the business community. All of these initiatives helped the School rise significantly in the ratings. She also established the Global Business Forum at the University of Miami which brought over 1000 leading business executives and professionals to the campus.

Before becoming Dean at University of Miami, Barbara spent 17 years at The Wharton School as the Dorothy Silberberg Professor of Marketing. She was also Vice Dean and Director of the Wharton Undergraduate program. She was a Senior Fellow of the Leonard Davis Institute and a faculty member of the Graduate Group in the Psychology Department. Before joining the Wharton faculty in 1990, Barbara served on the faculty at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA. She was the Hakuhodo Advertising Agency Visiting Scholar at University of Tokyo in 1993 and a Visiting Academic at the University of Sydney, Australia, in 1996.

Barbara is an internationally recognized scholar on variety seeking, brand loyalty, retail assortment issues and patient decisionmaking whose research provides marketing managers with a better understanding of the consumer choice process. She has published more than 60 articles in leading academic journals. Between 1982 and 2006, she was the world’s seventh most published author of articles in the most prestigious marketing journals. She coauthored Grocery Revolution: The New Focus on the Consumer, a book that chronicled the dramatically changing supermarket industry and outlined how consumers make choices within the supermarket. In 2013, she published Global Brand Power: Leveraging Branding for LongTerm Growth. 

Barbara has been elected president of the Association of Consumer Research, elected president of the Journal of Consumer Research Policy Board and selected as a Marketing Science Institute Trustee. She has been or is area editor at Marketing Science, and associate editor both at the Journal of Consumer Research and Journal of Marketing. She is or has been on the editorial boards of the Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science, the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making and Marketing Letters.

She received her PhD, MBA and MPhil degrees from Columbia University, and a BA in English Literature from the University of Rochester.

Barbara E. Kahn (2016), Using Visual Design to Improve Customer Perceptions of Online Assortments, Journal of Retailing.

Abstract: In the future, we expect to see more shopping online or on smart phones. This suggests that understanding how visual design decisions can influence consumers' reactions to online assortments is important. New advances in neuromarketing techniques, such as sophisticated eye tracking methodology, can help understand exactly what drives consumers' attention and processing efficiency. Visual stimuli on small screens is frequently processed very quickly leading to perceptions that form automatically often without cognitive intervention. Thus, savvy retailers should strategically use design elements of the assortments and of packaging to direct attention and increase the ease of processing. Assortments that are easier to process are liked more and are judged to have more perceived variety. Complexity must be minimized so that assortments can be parsed immediately. Categorization, organizational structure, filtering and other design elements can also help with choice overload. Keywords: online retailing, perceived variety, product assortment, perceptual fluency, attention, graphic design, visual complexity, choice overload  

Julio Sevilla and Barbara E. Kahn (2016), The Effect of Product Shape Completeness on Size Perceptions, Preference and Consumption , Journal of Marketing Research, LI, pp. 5768.

Julio Sevilla, Joao Zhang, Barbara E. Kahn (2016), Anticipation of Future Variety Reduces Satiation from Current Experiences, Journal of Marketing Research.

Abstract: Satiation frequently occurs from repeated consumption of the same items over time. However, results from five experiments show that when people anticipate consuming something different in the future, they satiate at a slower rate in the present. The authors find the effect in both food and nonfood consumption settings using different approaches to measure satiation. This effect is cognitive; specifically, anticipating variety in future consumption generates positive thoughts about that future experience. The authors find two boundary conditions: the future consumption outcome must be (1) in a related product category and (2) at least as attractive as the present consumption outcome. The authors rule out potential alternative explanations such as mere exposure to variety, the possibility that the future experience is more attractive (rather than just different) than the current one, and perceptions of scarcity associated with the item consumed in the present. Keywords: satiation, variety seeking, consumption

Lorena Martin, J. F. Signorile, Barbara E. Kahn, A. W Perkins, S. Ahn, A. C. Perry (2016), Improving Exercise Adherence and Physical Measures in EnglishSpeaking Latina Women , Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.

Xiaoyan Deng, Barbara E. Kahn, H. Rao Unnava, Hyojin Lee (2016), A “Wide” Variety: The Effects of Horizontal vs. Vertical Product Display , Journal of Marketing Research.

Barbara E. Kahn, Alexander Chernev, Ulf Bockenholt, Kate Bundorf, Michaela Draganska, Ryan Hamilton, Robert J. Meyer, Klaus Wertenbroch (2014), Consumer and Managerial Goals in Assortment Choice , Marketing Letters, 25, pp. 293303.

Claudia Townsend and Barbara E. Kahn (2014), The “Visual Preference Heuristic:” The Influence of Visual versus Verbal Depiction on Assortment Processing, Perceived Variety, and Choice Overload , Journal of Consumer Research.

R Khushababa, Chelsea Wise, Jordan J. Louviere, S Kodagoda, Barbara E. Kahn, Claudia Townsend (2013), Consumer Neuroscience: Assessing the Brain Response to Marketing Stimuli Using Electroencephalogram (EEG) and Eye Tracking, Expert Systems with Applications.

X. Deng, Barbara E. Kahn, Rao Unnava, H Lee (Under Review), “Wide” Variety: The Effects of Horizontal vs. Vertical Product Display.

Lorena Martin, Andrew W. Perkins, Barbara E. Kahn (Work In Progress), Selfidentity, selfesteem, and body attitude in thin and overweight Hispanic females.

Past Courses


The objective of this course is to introduce students to the concepts, analyses, and activities that comprise marketing management, and to provide practice in assessing and solving marketing problems. The course is also a foundation for advanced electives in Marketing as well as other business/social disciplines. Topics include marketing strategy, customer behavior, segmentation, market research, product management, pricing, promotion, sales force management and competitive analysis.


This course is concerned with how and why people behave as consumers. Its goals are to: (1) provide conceptual understanding of consumer behavior, (2) provide experience in the application of buyer behavior concepts to marketing management decisions and social policy decisionmaking; and (3) to develop analytical capability in using behavioral research.


Which brands make you happy? Apple? Amazon? Starbucks? Everlane? Soulcycle? Sweetgreen? What draws you into these brands? How do companies create compelling brand experiences? How could you cultivate a wellloved brand? This course explores such questions with the goal of identifying the ingredients for building an inspired brand. The course is created for students interested in building a brand and/or immersing themselves in the enhancement of an existing brand, and it is comprised of lectures, cases, guest speakers, discussions, in and out of class exercises, and a final project. Broadly, the course will be divided into four parts: 1) Understanding Brand, 2) Crafting Brand, 3) Measuring Brand, and 4) Managing Brand. The course will provide students with an appreciation of the role of branding and (taking a consumercentric approach) will augment students' ability to think creatively and critically about the strategies and tactics involved in building, leveraging, defending, and sustaining inspired brands.



This course addresses how to design and implement the best combination of marketing efforts to carry out a firm's strategy in its target markets. Specifically, this course seeks to develop the student's (1) understanding of how the firm can benefit by creating and delivering value to its customers, and stakeholders, and (2) skills in applying the analytical concepts and tools of marketing to such decisions as segmentation and targeting, branding, pricing, distribution, and promotion. The course uses lectures and case discussions, case writeups, student presentations, and a comprehensive final examination to achieve these objectives.


Marketing begins and ends with the customer, from determining customers' needs and wants to providing customer satisfaction and maintaining customer relationships. This course examines the basic concepts and principles in customer behavior with the goal of understanding how these ideas can be used in marketing decision making. The class will consist of a mix of lectures, discussions, cases, assignments, project work and exams. Topics covered include customer psychological processes (e.g., motivation, perception, attitudes, decisionmaking) and their impact on marketing (e.g., segmentation, branding, and customer satisfaction). The goal is to provide you with a set of approaches and concepts to consider when faced with a decision involving understanding customer responses to marketing actions.


This course views marketing as both a general management responsibility and an orientation of an organization that helps one to create, capture and sustain customer value. The focus is on the business unit and its network of channels, customer relationships, and alliances. Specifically, the course attempts to help develop knowledge and skills in the application of advanced marketing frameworks, concepts, and methods for making strategic choices at the business level.


A student contemplating an independent study project must first find a faculty member who agrees to supervise and approve the student's written proposal as an independent study (MKTG 899). If a student wishes the proposed work to be used to meet the ASP requirement, he/she should then submit the approved proposal to the MBA adviser who will determine if it is an appropriate substitute. Such substitutions will only be approved prior to the beginning of the semester.


The purpose of this course is to build off MKTG950, "Judgment and Decision Making Perspectives on Consumer Behavior Part A" with a more specialized focus that will vary from year to year. This course is intended for those interested in deepening their study of Judgment and Decision Making beyond the basics.


Taught collectively by the faculty members from the Marketing Department, this course investigates advanced topics in marketing. It is organized in a way that allows students to 1) gain depth in important areas of research identified by faculty; 2) gain exposure to various faculty in marketing and their research values and styles; and 3) develop and advance their own research interests.


This course is taught collectively by the faculty members from the Marketing Department. It is designed to expose Doctoral students to the cuttingedge research in marketing models in order to help them to define and advance their research interests. This course will offer: indepth discussions on some important topics in marketing by experts in respective areas; tools, and methodologies required for conducting research in those areas; broad exposure to our faculty members and their proven research styles.



Requires written permission of instructor and the department graduate adviser.

Fellow, Association for Consumer Research, 2016, 2016 Fellow, Society of Consumer Psychology 2016, 2016 Davidson Award for the Best article in Journal of Retailing 2005, 2007 Finalist for Best Article, JCR, 2007 Elected President of Association of Consumer Research, 2006 Center of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research (CECCR), 2005 Description

Annenberg School, University of Pennsylvania, $15,000.

WhartonSMU Research Center Grant, 2005 Description

With S. Varghese and M. Lee, “Retrospective Preference for Variety: An Ease of Retrieval Perspective,” $38,422.22

WhartonSMU Research Center Grant, 2004 Description

With M. F. Luce and S.Ramaswami, “Retail Assortment Variety Issues: Conflict Resolution in Store versus Brand Choice,” $66,000

WhartonSMU Research Center Grant, 2003 Description

With S. RAmaswami, “Retail and Internet Assortment Variety Issues,” $33,500

Consortium Faculty, AMA Consortium, 2003 Description

1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2003

SCPSHETH Dissertation Proposal Competition winner, 2002 Description

Advisors: Barbara Kahn and Mary Frances Luce, Candidate: Elizabeth Miller

Marketing Science Institute Grant, 2001 Description

With K. Grashoff and M.F. Luce, $3200

Wharton School Grant, 2000 Description

Summer salary support, 19902000

Nestles’ Lecturer, Lund Institute of Economics, 1999 David W. Hauck Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Undergraduate Division, 1999 2000 William R. Davidson Award, 1998 Description

For article in the Journal of Retailing, Best Contribution to Theory and Practice in Retail Marketing, third prize, Huffman and Kahn, “Variety for Sale: Mass Customization or Mass Confusion?”

Earl Dyess Lecturer, Texas Christian University, 1998 National Science Foundation Grant, 1998 Description

Proposal No. #SBR9730182,”The Subjective Value of Information in HighStakes Domains: An Analysis of Patient Decisions to Obtain Diagnostic Testing,” (with M.F. Luce), 1998. Renewed, 19992001 (Total Amount Funded: $315,000)

John A. Howard Doctoral Dissertation Award, 1996 Description

Advisor: Barbara Kahn, Candidate: Satya Menon

Marketing Science Institute Grant, 1995 Description

With C. Huffman, $5000.

First RunnerUp for Best Article Award, 1991 Description

Journal of Retailing: Kahn and Lehmann, “Modeling Choice among Assortments”

Finalist for the O’Dell Award, 1991 Description

Kahn, Kalwani, and Morrison, Journal of Marketing Research (paper 1986)

Marketing Science Institute Grant, 1990 Description

With B. Harlam and L. Lodish, $5000

Chancellor’s Faculty Career Development Award, UCLA, 1988 UCLA summer research support, 1984 Description


Beta Gama Sigma, 1984 Description

1982 MBA; 1984 Ph.D., Columbia University

  • AMA Doctoral Consortium Fellow, 1983
  • New York Chapter TIMS, “Management Science Student of the Year”, 1982
  • Doctoral fellowship in Marketing, Columbia University, 1982 Description


Nicholas and Suzanne Bachner Samstag Fellowship, Columbia University, 1982 Description

MBA program, 198082

  • Bring on Armani, Prada, and Other Highend Brands: Japanese Consumers Still Demand Quality, Knowledge@Wharton 03/01/2006
  • A Million Little Embellishments: Truth and Trust in Advertising and Publishing, Knowledge@Wharton 02/22/2006
  • Tastes Great, Less Filling, and Perfect with Cheese’: Beer Tries to Brew up a New Image, Knowledge@Wharton 01/25/2006
  • EBay Calling Skype: Is It a Good Connection?, Knowledge@Wharton 11/21/2005
  • Spreading Yourself Too Thin: The Atkins Diet and Other Fads, Knowledge@Wharton 10/19/2005
  • The Upgraded Digital Divide: Are We Developing New Technologies Faster than Consumers Can Use Them?, Knowledge@Wharton 10/05/2005
  • Brand Rehab: How Companies Can Restore a Tarnished Image, Knowledge@Wharton 09/21/2005
  • The Hype over Skype: Can It Go the Distance?, Knowledge@Wharton 09/07/2005
  • Florida Red or Moody Blue: Study Looks at Appeal of Offbeat Product Names, Knowledge@Wharton 06/29/2005
  • Tune in Tomorrow for the Digital Living Room?, Knowledge@Wharton 06/15/2005
  • Food Fight: Obesity Raises Difficult Marketing Questions, Knowledge@Wharton 03/09/2005
  • SearsKmart Merger: Is It a Tough Sell?, Knowledge@Wharton 01/14/2005
  • What’s the Buzz About Buzz Marketing?, Knowledge@Wharton 01/12/2005
  • Lowcarb, Highcarb: What’s a Baker/Pasta Maker to Do?, Knowledge@Wharton 06/16/2004
  • When the CEO is the Brand, But Falls from Grace, What’s Next?, Knowledge@Wharton 04/07/2004
  • Six Kinds of Jelly Beans: How the Perception of Variety Influences Consumption, Knowledge@Wharton 07/30/2003
  • The Mammogram Experiment: How Emotions Can Affect HighStakes DecisionMaking, Knowledge@Wharton 02/26/2003
  • Can Holiday Shoppers Save the Economy?, Knowledge@Wharton 12/03/2002
  • What’s In a Name? Not Much Without a Branding Strategy, Knowledge@Wharton 07/17/2002
  • Corporate Sponsorships of Stadiums and Other Institutions Don’t Always Pay Off, Knowledge@Wharton 05/09/2001
  • That Elusive Customer Loyalty: How to Build It, Learn From It and Profit From It, Knowledge@Wharton 11/22/2000
  • Christmas Etailers: Will It Be HoHo or SoSo?, Knowledge@Wharton 12/10/1999
  • New Strategies for Success, Knowledge@Wharton 09/17/1999
  • Surviving the ETrading Explosion, Knowledge@Wharton 06/08/1999

Knowledge @ Wharton

  • Can Instore ‘Experiences’ Save Retail?, Knowledge @ Wharton 07/07/2017
  • Amazon vs. Walmart: Which One Will Prevail?, Knowledge @ Wharton 06/27/2017
  • How Anticipating Future Variety Curbs Consumer Boredom, Knowledge @ Wharton 06/27/2017
  • Amazon’s Big Buy: What Whole Foods Brings to the Table, Knowledge @ Wharton 06/20/2017
  • Can Retailers Escape the Scourge of Free Shipping?, Knowledge @ Wharton 06/06/2017
  • Why Amazon Is Leaving Legacy Retailers in the Dust, Knowledge @ Wharton 05/15/2017
  • Omnichannel 2.0: Delivering a Tailored Experience to Customers, Knowledge @ Wharton 12/14/2016
  • When Customers Browse Store Shelves, Perception Is Reality, Knowledge @ Wharton 12/07/2016
  • Can Fuel WalMart’s Online Growth?, Knowledge @ Wharton 08/12/2016
  • How (Not) to Name a Company in the Digital Era, Knowledge @ Wharton 07/13/2016
  • Selling Luxury: How Highend Brands Are Embracing the Internet, Knowledge @ Wharton 06/15/2016
  • How Can Barnes & Noble Avoid Borders’ Fate?, Knowledge @ Wharton 12/18/2015
  • Beyond the Red Cup: How Holiday Consumers Are Changing, Knowledge @ Wharton 11/24/2015
  • ‘Millennials on Steroids’: Is Your Brand Ready for Generation Z?, Knowledge @ Wharton 09/28/2015
  • Who Will Survive the Great Mall Shakeout?, Knowledge @ Wharton 03/31/2015
  • When Does the ‘Human Touch’ Matter in Retail?, Knowledge @ Wharton 03/04/2015
  • Shhh! Marketing Embarrassing Products in the Age of Social Media, Knowledge @ Wharton 08/12/2014
  • Will Consumers Be Sold on an eBaySotheby’s Collaboration?, Knowledge @ Wharton 07/23/2014
  • Why ‘Incomplete’ Products Increase Consumption, Knowledge @ Wharton 03/20/2014
  • Finding a Place for Market Research in a Big Data, Techenabled World, Knowledge @ Wharton 01/29/2014
  • Online Shopping Choices: Less Is Sometimes Better Than More, Knowledge @ Wharton 12/17/2013
  • Thanksgiving Shopping: Can It Turn Retail Revenues from Bleak to Black?, Knowledge @ Wharton 11/26/2013
  • Nike FuelBand: Did the Brand Score a Goal?, Knowledge @ Wharton 11/25/2013
  • In Amazon and Walmart’s Battle for Dominance, Who Loses Out?, Knowledge @ Wharton 11/13/2013
  • ‘Small Box’ Retail: Passing Fad or ‘Eureka Moment’ for eCommerce?, Knowledge @ Wharton 10/10/2013


Courses Taught

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