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Biography

Stanford Graduate School of Business
Professor of Marketing

Research Statement

Professor Tormala is a social and consumer psychologist who works in the areas of attitudes, persuasion, and social influence. At a general level, his research on these topics seeks to shed light on the factors that open and close attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to change.

Research Interests

  • Attitudes
  • Persuasion
  • Social influence
  • Psychological certainty

Teaching Statement

Professor Tormala teaches courses in the areas of attitudes, persuasion, and consumer behavior.

Bio

Professor Tormala received a B.A. in psychology from Arizona State University in the fall of 1996 and went on to earn his Ph.D. in social psychology from Ohio State University in 2003. From 2003-2007, Professor Tormala served as an assistant professor of social psychology at Indiana University. In 2007 he joined the marketing faculty at Stanford, where he teaches courses on attitudes, persuasion, and consumer behavior.

Professor Tormala has published numerous articles in leading psychology and marketing journals, including Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and Journal of Consumer Psychology, among others. For his contribution to scholarly research in consumer behavior, he received the Society for Consumer Psychology’s Early Career Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution in 2008 and was named to the Marketing Science Institute’s list of Young Scholars in 2009.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Psychology, The Ohio State University, 2003
  • MA in Psychology, The Ohio State University, 1999
  • BA in Psychology, Arizona State University, 1996

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Marketing, Stanford GSB, 2015
  • Associate Professor with tenure, Stanford GSB, 2011
  • Associate Professor, Stanford GSB, 2007
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, 2003

Awards and Honors

  • Elected Fellow, Society for Personality and Social Psychology
  • Elected Fellow, Society of Experimental Social Psychology
  • Early Career Award, Society for Consumer Psychology
  • Marketing Science Institute Young Scholar
  • Society for Experimental Social Psychology Dissertation Award Finalist

Teaching

Degree Courses

2017-18

MKTG 532: Persuasion

The aim of this course is to provide insight into the psychology of persuasion. We will explore research and theory in this domain and discuss potentially powerful techniques for changing people''s attitudes and behaviors. We will apply our...

MKTG 661: Attitudes and Persuasion

The goal of this course — geared toward graduate students in marketing, psychology, and related disciplines — is to explore some of the issues and controversies that currently engage researchers in the domain of attitudes and persuasion. We...

2016-17

MKTG 532: Persuasion

The aim of this course is to provide insight into the psychology of persuasion. We will explore research and theory in this domain and discuss potentially powerful techniques for changing people''s attitudes and behaviors. We will apply our...

MKTG 661: Attitudes and Persuasion

The goal of this course — geared toward graduate students in marketing, psychology, and related disciplines — is to explore some of the issues and controversies that currently engage researchers in the domain of attitudes and persuasion. We...

Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

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Insights by Stanford Business

writtenWant to Feel More at Peace About a Decision? Stop Dwelling on the Negatives

August 29, 2017

You may think you’re weighing the pros and cons equally, but you’re probably not.

writtenWhere Do Advocates Come From?

January 9, 2017

A strong sense of conviction can both encourage and discourage people from speaking out.

writtenThe Recommended List by Stanford GSB Professors

April 30, 2015

Those in the know share where to go to learn more about reward and related topics.

writtenWhat Does Reward Mean to You?

April 30, 2015

Five Stanford scholars share their insights on the topic of reward.

writtenZakary Tormala: Why Certainty Matters in Business

January 14, 2015

A psychologist explores what makes our attitudes change over time.

writtenCan Overthinking Reduce a Leader’s Influence?

August 20, 2014

Stanford GSB researchers find that sometimes it is better not to sweat the small stuff.

writtenZakary Tormala: Mere Potential Can Be More Important Than Achievement

March 31, 2014

It's not always what you’ve done that matters, but what you just might do.

writtenZakary Tormala: The Power of Potential

June 21, 2012

A series of studies shows that mere promise impresses more than actual achievement.

writtenThe Positive Effect of Negative Information

June 1, 2011

Researchers say news about a company or product blemish may actually strengthen consumers’ positive impressions.

writtenBelieve Me, I Have No Idea What I'm Talking About

April 1, 2010

Experts can be more persuasive by expressing uncertainty, argues Stanford Graduate School of Business marketing professor Zakary Tormala.

writtenZakary Tormala: Is "Thinking" or "Feeling" More Persuasive?

April 1, 2010

Research shows that identical messages can have different impacts depending on whether they are couched as "I think" or "I feel."

writtenWant Your Product to Look Good? Follow Something Bad

June 1, 2008

Persuasion research shows that context can matter as much as content.

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