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I am an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University Bloomington. Prior to Indiana University, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Vanderbilt University. I have a PhD in Marketing from the University of North Texas, an MBA from Barry University, and a BS in Marketing from the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez.

My research uses consumer psychology to draw strategic consumer insights centered around the influence of social hierarchies, including social class, political ideology, and emotional intelligence on marketplace behaviors. Before academia, I had a career in advertising and digital marketing.


Home: Publications


Mas, Erick M., Kelly L. Haws, and Kelly Goldsmith (2022) “Bringing Our Values to the Table: Political Ideology, Food Waste, and Overconsumption,Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, 7(3), 350-359.


Dickson, Peter, Erick M. Mas, Michelle Van Solt, Tessa Garcia-Collart, and Jaclyn Tanenbaum (2022), “The Influence of Senior Management and Sales Managers on Salesperson Customer Orientation and Hard Selling Orientation," Marketing Letters, 33, 381–397.

*Kidwell, Blair, Virginie Lopez Kidwell, Christopher Blocker, and Erick M. Mas (2020), “Birds of a Feather Feel Together: Emotional Ability Similarity in Consumer Interactions,” Journal of Consumer Research, 47(2), 215-236. (*All authors contributed equally to this paper).

Media coverage: Vanderbilt News, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Rixom, Jessica M., Erick M. Mas, Brett A. Rixom (2020), "Presentation Matters: The Effect of Wrapping Neatness on Gift Attitudes," Journal of Consumer Psychology, 30(2), 329-338.

Media coverage: Wall Street JournalYahoo!, AOL, Psych Central, Business Insider, Vanderbilt News, The Conversation


Mas, Erick M., Blair Kidwell, and Aparna A. Labroo “Cultural Capital and Consumer Choice,” invited for resubmission at Journal of Marketing Research.

Bae, Su Yun, Blair Kidwell, and Erick M. Mas “The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence: How Differences in Empathy Underlie Selling (vs. Customer) Orientation,” invited for resubmission at Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.


Mas, Erick M., Angela Y. Lee, and Jiaqian (Jane) Wang “Political Identity and Green Behavior: When Conservatives Pay Heed to Advice from the Fake News,” preparing manuscript for submission to Nature


Mas, Erick M., and Blair Kidwell “In Search of Status: The Influence of Socioeconomic Status and Political Ideology on Product Acquisition Choices,” preparing manuscript for submission to the Journal of Consumer Research.

Aguirre-Rodriguez, Alexandra, Jessica Rixom, Adriana M. Bóveda-Lambie, and Erick M. Mas “Consumer Response to Foreign Brand’s Culturally Adapted Products: An Intercultural Accommodation Approach,” preparing manuscript for submission to Journal of International Marketing.


Finding the right emotional “match” makes for better business relationships

Finding the right emotional “match” makes for better business relationships

When it comes to creating successful business interactions, exchanges between buyers and sellers with similar emotional abilities may lead to more lucrative outcomes than an animated or ambitious employee alone. Erick Mas, a postdoctoral fellow at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University, and his research partners studied how differing levels of deep-level interpersonal similarity using emotional skills—such as expressive speech, eye contact, touch and other expressions in communication—impact business relationships and consumption decisions. With regard to establishing successful long-lasting relationships, “We found that two people with low emotional ability interacting with each other are equally as successful as two people with high emotional ability,” said Mas.“Disparate levels of emotional ability can lead a client to feel uncomfortable with what he or she considers too much or too little use of emotion in communication.” The research, “Birds of a Feather Feel Together: Emotional Ability Similarity inConsumer Interactions” is found in the Journal of Consumer Research. Mas’ coauthors are Blair Kidwell and Virginie Lopez-Kidwell from University of North Texas and Christopher from Colorado State University. The prevailing understanding of the use of emotional intelligence in interactions (i.e., emotional ability) from past research is that a person with high emotional ability should be able to fine tune their emotional expression to match the other’s preference. This allows the person with high emotional ability to carry the interaction with their counterpart, to make sure it’s a positive experience for everyone. But this new research shows that is not the case. MIXED SIGNALS The researchers found that a mismatch in emotional ability actually has a detrimental effect on interactions. “The problem is that for somebody who is lower in emotional ability interacting with somebody who's higher in emotional ability, they both end up feeling invalidated because their communication needs are not matching up.” said Mas. This “emotional ability similarity” phenomenon impacts all levels of interactions, from frontline sales and service employees with consumers (e.g., real estate agents and homebuyers), as well as the personal relationships among people who live, purchase and consume together (e.g., romantic partners, families, friends and roommates.) FACE-TO-FACE INTERACTION A critical secondary finding is the importance of face-to-face interactions for the emotional ability similarity to have a positive effect on the relationship. The recommendation that one could glean from the research is that it’s better to interact with people in person, and face-to-face. The COVID pandemic and social distancing has made this more difficult, but it is important to go back to personal interactions, once safe. “When you can’t see someone, such as when talking on the phone or emailing, you can't read a person’s emotions [very well]. So, the gains received from having emotional chemistry or being a match in terms of emotional ability are diminished,” said Mas. EXPERIMENTS The researchers conducted multiple unique studies to examine the effects of emotional ability similarity on consumer relationships and marketing exchange outcomes. A longitudinal field study with salespeople from a top real estate firm and their customers, demonstrated how emotional ability similarity influences consumers’ perceptions of customer–salesperson interactions in real-world interpersonal relationships. In a lab experiment, the researchers paired subjects who were similar and dissimilar in their level of emotional ability. In other experiments, they disrupted participants’ ability to exchange non-verbal communication with their partner by having them sit facing away from each other or speaking via Zoom conferencing software with the video component disabled. The experiments ended with similar results: When both parties could exchange non-verbal communication with their partner, people with matching emotional ability levels had better interactions than those with conflicting emotional abilities. The study titled, “Birds of a Feather Feel Together: Emotional Ability Similarity in Consumer Interactions” can be found here. Read more research from Vanderbilt and the Owen Graduate School of Management here. Follow Vanderbilt on Twitter: Instagram: Facebook: LinkedIn: Subscribe to our YouTube channel: See all Vanderbilt social media at

SCP 2023 Annual Conference Webinars - Puerto Rico 


Home: Courses


During my professional career in digital advertising, I also worked as an Adjunct Instructor teaching a variety of undergraduate marketing courses (e.g., Principles, Advertising, Sales, Global Marketing, etc.). As a PhD student, I taught Consumer Behavior and Digital and B&M Retailing in face-to-face, online, and hybrid formats. I also guest lectured for Marketing Research as a graduate student. At Vanderbilt, I have guest lectured for courses in Experimental Economics and Consumer Behavior at a graduate level. Click here for more.


This course is designed to introduce students to the role of marketing research in business decision-making. Students will learn skills for conducting marketing research projects, from identifying research questions, data collection and analysis, to drawing conclusions and making strategic recommendations based on data.

Course Syllabus (Spring 2023)

(MKTG 4600 - ONLINE)

This fully online course is designed to teach students to apply findings from the fields of strategic marketing and consumer psychology to a digital retail environment. In this course, students work in an entrepreneurial capacity. A major component of the course is the development of a business plan for a fully online or mobile retailing business.

Course Syllabus (Summer 2019)

(MKTG 4120 - HYBRID)

This course is designed to teach students to apply findings from the field of consumer research to develop effective strategic marketing plans. The core goal is to provide students with a foundation for understanding, predicting, and influencing consumer behavior. Material covered will focus on practical strategic implications for marketers, with selected applications in market segmentation, marketing communications, and marketing management. Topics will include consumer and organizational behavior models and decision processes; internal influencing forces of motivation, perception, learning, personality, lifestyle, and attitudes; external influencing forces of culture, subculture, demographic, social class, reference groups, and household.

Course Syllabus (Spring 2019)

(MKTG 4600)

This course is designed to teach students to apply findings from the fields of strategic marketing and consumer psychology to a digital and brick & mortar retail environment. Students will learn to think critically and develop decision making skills related to retailing management. Topics will include types of retailers, multi-channel retailing, product assortment, retail location strategy, store layout & design, pricing, promotional strategies, customer service, and consumer buying behavior.

Course Syllabus (Fall 2018)


  • Advertising

  • Global Marketing

  • Principles of Marketing

  • Sales Strategy

  • Business Principles

  • Principles of Management

  • Professional Strategies


Erick M. Mas

Kelley School of Business
Indiana University Bloomington
1275 E 10th St
Bloomington, IN 47405

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