Cait Lamberton

  • Ben L. Fryrear Chair of Marketing
  • Associate Professor of Marketing


Professor Lamberton's research focuses on consumer behavior, from both an individual and socially-embedded perspective. Beginning with her dissertation work, Cait and her coauthors have researched the ways in which consumers respond to varying assortment sizes and organizations. She has also conducted research on consumers' own categorization tendencies, studying the ways in which they may be motivated to categorize items differently in the interest of their own restriction or indulgence goals. New research explores consumer behavior at an interpersonal and societal level. This work includes consideration of consumers' responses to online and offline social presence, decision-making in dyads, willingness to share products, the consequences of cooperation or competition, and satisfaction with contribution to the support of public goods.

Her work has appeared in the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Current Opinion in Psychology, Journal of Retailing, and Journal of Public Policy and Marketing. Cait is an Associate Editor at the Journal of Consumer Research and Journal of Consumer Psychology and a Senior Editor at the International Journal of Research in Marketing. She was selected as a Young Scholar by the Marketing Science Institute, received the Association for Consumer’s Research’s Early Career Award for distinguished scholarly contributions, and received the American Marketing Association’s Erin Anderson Award, which recognizes an outstanding female researcher and mentor.

Cait teaches consumer behavior and leads project courses at the undergraduate, MBA, Ph.D and executive education levels. She has been awarded the prize for the best teaching in the Marketing major in multiple academic years and has been named Teacher of the Year for the business school. Cait was also named as one of Poets & Quants’ “Top 40 Business School Professors under 40” in their annual global rankings.

Cait was an affiliated researcher in the inaugural year of the US White House’s Social and Behavioral Sciences Team, and has been retained as a consultant by the US Department of Education and US Department of Labor. She writes regularly for the Huffington Post and was also co-editor of the Cambridge Handbook of Consumer Psychology. Prior to joining academia, Cait worked in marketing research and analytics in the commercial vehicle OEM, transportation consulting, and fragrance industries.

Research Interests

  • Assortment size and structure
  • Self-regulation
  • Sharing behaviors
  • Envy

Awards and Honors

  • Affiliated Researcher, Nudge4Solutions Lab, University of Virginia
  • AMA-Sheth Doctoral Consortium Faculty Fellow, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • Erin Anderson Award, given to the American Marketing Association’s Top Emerging Female Scholar and Mentor, 2016
  • Poets & Quants “Top 40 Business School Professors under 40”, 2015; Fortune’s “Top 10,” 2015 Association for Consumer Research’s Transformative Consumer Research Grant for Emerging
  • Women in Marketing Conference, 2014 and 2015 (with June Cotte and Joan Ball)
  • Best Reviewer Award, Journal of Consumer Research, 2014
  • Honorable Mention, Robert Ferber Award (Award for best dissertation-based paper appearing in the< Journal of Consumer Research) 2014
  • Early Career Contribution Award, Association for Consumer Research, 2013
  • Affiliated Researcher, White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team, Sept 2013-May 2014 Marketing Science Institute Young Scholar, 2013
  • Ben L. Fryrear Faculty Fellow, University of Pittsburgh, 2010-2016
  • Katz Excellence in Research Award, 2009-2010, 2012-2013, 2014-2015
  • Teacher of the Year, Katz Graduate School of Business/CBA, 2009-2010
  • Dean’s Teaching Award, University of Pittsburgh, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2012-2013, 2014-2015
  • Top Undergraduate Teacher in the Marketing Major, University of Pittsburgh, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2012-2013
  • W. Pierce Liles Outstanding Doctoral Student Award, University of South Carolina, 2008 UMI Outstanding Dissertation Award, University of South Carolina, 2008
  • MSI Alden G. Clayton Dissertation Proposal Competition, Honorable Mention, 2007 George M. Reeves Memorial Fellow, University of South Carolina, 2007
  • Centennial Fellow Finalist, University of South Carolina, 2007
  • Marketing Science Institute Research Grant #4-1342 (2005), Primary Investigator, “The Psychology of Category Design: How Product Groupings Influence Consumer Decision- Making, Price Sensitivity, and Brand Strength.” (with Kristin Diehl). AMA-Sheth Doctoral Consortium Fellow, 2005
  • MSI - JCP Research Competition on "Product Assortment and Variety-Seeking in Consumer Choice," Honorable Mention (with Kristin Diehl), 2004 Moore School Fellow, University of South Carolina, 2003-2008


  • PhD in Business Administration, Marketing, University of South Carolina, 2008
  • MBA, University of South Carolina, 2006
  • BA, English Literature, Wheaton College, 1999

Recent Publications

Haws, Kelly and Cait Poynor (2008)*, “Seize the Day! Encouraging Indulgence for the Hyperopic Consumer,” Journal of Consumer Research, December, 680-691.

Poynor, Cait and Kelly Haws (2009)*, “Lines in the Sand: Implementation Intentions, Categorization, and Choice in Pursuit of Self-Control Goals,” Journal of Consumer Research, February, 772-787.

Diehl, Kristin and Cait Poynor (2010)*, “Great Expectations?! Assortment Size, Expectations and Satisfaction,” Journal of Marketing Research, April.

Poynor, Cait and Stacy L. Wood (2010), “Smart Subcategories: How Assortment Formats Influence Consumer Learning and Satisfaction,” Journal of Consumer Research, June, 159-175.

Naylor, Rebecca Walker, Cait Poynor Lamberton and David Norton* (2011), “Seeing Ourselves in Others: Reviewer Ambiguity, Egocentric Anchoring, and Persuasion,” Journal of Marketing Research, August, 617-631.

Lamberton, Cait Poynor and Randy Rose (2012), “Yours, Mine and Ours: An Investigation of Consumers’ Propensity to Participate in Commercial Sharing Systems,” Journal of Marketing, July, 109-125.

Naylor, Rebecca, Cait Poynor Lamberton and Patricia West* (2012), “Beyond the ‘Like Button’ – The Effect of Resolving Ambiguity in Social Media,” Journal of Marketing, November, 105-120.

Lamberton, Cait Poynor, Rebecca Naylor and Kelly Haws (2013), “My Reasons are Not Your Reasons: The Influence of Divergent Reasoning on the Persuasive Effects of Others,” Journal of Consumer Psychology, January, 74-89.

Norton, David A., Cait Lamberton and Rebecca Naylor (2013)*, “The Devil you (Don’t) Know: The Effects of Interpersonal Ambiguity in Competitive Contexts,” Journal of Consumer Research, August.

Lamberton, Cait (2013), “A Spoonful of Choice: How Allocation can Increase Satisfaction with Tax Payments,” Journal of Public Policy and Marketing.

Lamberton, Cait and Kristin Diehl (2013) “Retail Choice Architecture: The Effect of Benefit and Attribute-Based Assortment Organization on Similarity Perceptions and Strength of Preference,” Journal of Consumer Research, 40 (3), 393-411. (Lead article)

Lamberton, Cait, Carrie Leana and John Williams (2014), “Measuring Empathetic Care: Development and Validation of a Self-Report Scale,” The Journal of Applied Gerontology.

Dzoghleva, Hristina and Cait Lamberton (2014), “Should Birds of a Feather Flock Together? Understanding Self-Control Decisions in Dyads,” November, Journal of Consumer Research.

Diehl, Kristin, Erica van Herpen and Cait Lamberton* (2015), “Organizing Products with Complements versus Substitutes: Effects on Store Preferences as a Function of Effort and Assortment Perceptions,” Journal of Retailing, 91, (1), 1-18. (Lead article)

Liu, Peggy, Kelly L. Haws, Cait Lamberton, Troy Campbell and Gavan Fitzimons (2015), “Virtue-Vice Bundles,” Management Science, 61 (1), 204-228.

Liu, Peggy, Cait Lamberton and Kelly L. Haws (2015), “Trivializing Compensation and Muddy Linings: When Firm Expenditures to Acknowledge Backfire,” forthcoming at the Journal of Marketing.

Dzoghleva, Hristina, Cait Lamberton and Kelly L. Haws, “Helps or Haunts from the Past? The Effect of Recalled Success and Failure on Present Self-Regulation,” forthcoming at the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

Lamberton, Cait (2016), “Collaborative Consumption,” Current Opinion in Psychology (forthcoming.)

Lamberton, Cait, Paula Fitzgerald and Mike Walsh*, “Perceived Negative Externalities and Consumer Responses to Pigovian Taxes,” forthcoming at the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research.

Nikolova, Hristina and Cait Lamberton (2016), “Men and the Middle: Male Decision- Makers and the Compromise Effect,” Journal of Consumer Research, October.

Lamberton, Cait and Andrew Stephen (2016)*, “Taking Stock of the Digital Revolution: A Critical Analysis and Agenda for Digital, Social Media and Mobile Marketing Research,” October, Journal of Marketing.

Sciandra, Michael, Cait Lamberton and Rebecca Reczek (2017), “The Wisdom of Some: Do we always need consensus to shape consumer behavior?” forthcoming, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing.

Grant, Donnelly, Cait Lamberton, Rebecca Reczek and Michael Norton, “Social Recycling Reduces Waste and Increases Happiness,” (2017), January, Journal of the Association for Consumer Research.

Block, Lauren, Mira Birau, Amir Grinstein, Kelly Haws, Punam Keller, Monica LaBarge, Cait Lamberton, Ellen Moore, Ellen Moscato, Rebecca Reczek, Andrea Tangari and Beth Vallen*, “The Squander Sequence: Understanding Food Waste at Each Stage of the Consumer Decision Making Process,” forthcoming, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing.

Leana, Carrie, Cait Lamberton and Jirs Meuris, “More than a Feeling: Safety-Related Consequences of Empathetic Care in Healthcare Settings,” forthcoming, Industrial and Labor Relations Review. 

CV File

Academic Area

Marketing and Business Economics