Photo of Cindy Chan

Cindy Chan

Doctoral Candidate

Research Interests: social connection, social influence, emotion, gift giving

Links: CV

Cindy researches consumer relationships, examining the social influences on and social consequences of consumer behavior. Consumer behavior is often influenced by others; for example, a consumer might buy a trendy jacket to fit in with a fashionable social circle or read online reviews prior to trying a restaurant or purchasing a new television. Consumer behavior also affects relationships with others; for example, gift giving can strengthen connections between people. She studies these different facets of social relationships and consumer behavior using a combination of field and laboratory experiments.

Across her research, she also investigates the central role of emotion in consumer relationships. Emotion is the glue that bonds consumer relationships—and sometimes the wedge that breaks them. For example, emotions such as gratitude and guilt can serve as motivational forces to maintain or dissolve social relations. Emotions evoked during consumption can also influence relationships between consumers. Her research thus provides new insights into the social and emotional lives of consumers.

Cindy's research is published in the Journal of Consumer Research and the Journal of Consumer Psychology, and has been featured in popular press outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, and Scientific American

Cindy graduated with distinction from the University of Western Ontario (Canada) with a BA in Honors Business Administration and a BA in Psychology. Prior to beginning her graduate studies, Cindy worked with JWT, developing advertising campaigns for global clients including Johnson & Johnson, Reckitt Benckiser, and Nestle.  She will join the University of Toronto as an Assistant Professor of Marketing in July 2014.