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Adam Alter

Adam Alter

Joined Stern 2009

Leonard N. Stern School of Business
Tisch Hall
40 West Fourth Street, 811
New York, NY 10012

E-mail aalter@stern.nyu.edu
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Adam Alter is an Associate Professor of Marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business, with an affiliated appointment in the New York University Psychology Department.

Professor Alter's research focuses on judgment and decision-making and social psychology, with a particular interest in the sometimes surprising effects of subtle cues in the environment on human cognition and behavior. His research has been published in, among other journals, Psychological Science, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.Professor Alter's studies have been featured on CNBC, PBS and BBC Radio, and in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Economist and Newsweek.

Professor Alter is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave, which examines how features of the world shape our thoughts and feelings beyond our control. He has also written for the New York Times, New Yorker, Atlantic, WIRED, Slate, Huffington Post, and Popular Science, among other publications.

Professor Alter received his B.Sc. (Honors Class 1, University Medal) in Psychology from the University of New South Wales and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology from Princeton University, where he held the Charlotte Elizabeth Procter Honorific Dissertation Fellowship and a Fellowship in the Woodrow Wilson Society of Scholars.

Research Interests

  • Judgment and decision-making
  • Social psychology
  • Consumer behavior
  • Cultural psychology
  • Fluency and metacognition

Courses Taught

  • Behavioral Applications in Marketing (Ph.D. Seminar)

Academic Background

Ph.D., Psychology, 2009
Princeton University

M.A., Psychology, 2006
Princeton University

B.S., Psychology, 2004
University of New South Wales

Awards & Appointments

Society of Judgment and Decision Making Runner Up, Hillel Einhorn Young Investigator Award 2010

Selected Publications

Alter, A. L., & Balcetis, E. (2010)
Fondness makes the distance grow shorter: Desired location seem closer because they are more vivid.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

Alter, A. L., Aronson, J., Darley, J. M., Rodriguez, C., & Ruble, D. N. (2010)
Rising to the threat: Reducing stereotype threat by reframing the threat as a challenge.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

Alter, A. L., Oppenheimer, D. M., & Zemla, J. C. (2010)
Missing the trees for the forest: A construal level theory account of the Illusion of Explanatory Depth.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Alter, A. L., & Darley, J. M. (2009)
When the association between appearance and outcome contaminates social judgment: A bidirectional model linking group homogeneity and collective treatment.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Alter, A. L., & Oppenheimer, D. M. (2009)
Uniting the tribes of fluency to form a metacognitive nation.
Personality and Social Psychology Review.

Alter, A. L., & Oppenheimer, D. M. (2009)
Suppressing secrecy through metacognitive ease: Cognitive fluency encourages self-disclosure.
Psychological Science.

Laham, S., Alter, A. L., & Goodwin, G. P. (2009)
Easy on the mind, easy on the wrongdoer: Unexpectedly fluent violations are deemed less morally wrong.

Alter, A. L., & Kwan, V. S. Y. (2009)
Cultural sharing in a global village: Extracultural cognition in European Americans.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 742-760.

Alter, A. L., & Oppenheimer, D. M. (2008)
Easy on the mind, easy on the wallet: Effects of fluency on valuation judgments.
Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 15, 985-990.

Darley, J. M. & Alter, A. L.
Behavioral issues of punishment and deterrence.
In E. Shafir (Ed.), Behavioral foundations of policy.

Areas of Expertise


  • Advertising
  • Consulting


  • Advertising/Marketing/PR Strategies
  • Consumer Psychology/Behavior
  • Digital Marketing/Advertising
  • Market Research
  • New Product Development
  • Pricing
  • Promotions