Jennifer Aaker

Academic Area: 

Research Interests

  • Time, Money and Happiness
  • The Power of Story
  • Global Brand Building
  • Emotions, Goals and Health
  • The Psychology of Giving


Dr. Jennifer Aaker is a behavioral psychologist, author, and the General Atlantic Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Her research focuses on the psychology of time, money and happiness — specifically how people choose to spend their time and money and how those choices drive lasting happiness. She is the recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award from the Society for Consumer Psychology and the Stanford Distinguished Teaching Award. Noted for her early work on the dimensions of brand personality, Dr. Aaker’s current research focuses on the differences between happiness and meaning, the power of story in decision making, and how to build global brands across cultures. At Stanford, she teaches The Innovation PlaybookPower of StoryDesigning for VR/AR: Scaling Empathy in an Immersive World, and Rethinking Purpose. More recently, she has begun to teach Humor: Serious Business. Unanimously voted the least funny person in her family, she is definitely not teaching this class out of spite.

Dr. Aaker is widely published in the leading scholarly journals in psychology and marketing and her work has been featured in a variety of media including The Economist, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Forbes, NPR and Science. She has also served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research and Journal of Consumer Psychology. She is the recipient of the two JCR Best Paper awards, Citibank Best Teacher Award, George Robbins Best Teacher Award, Robert K. Jaedicke Silver Apple Award, and has taught at UC Berkeley, UCLA and Columbia.

Aaker co-authored the award-winning book “The Dragonfly Effect” and serves as an advisor to early stage startups, family foundations, and companies from ADAY and Accompany to X. More personally, she also has a passion to make a dent in cancer. Toward that goal, she has been able to put the Dragonfly model when working with an group of Stanford students, with the goal to get over 100,000 people into the bone marrow registry. They surpassed that goal in one’s years time. She also enlists her kids as warriors in the battle to do social good, but is unclear how well that has gone. Nonetheless, she persists.

In terms of personal accomplishments, she counts winning a dance-off in the early 1980s among her most impressive feats, and cooks very poorly. Also, her persistence.


Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Marketing, PhD Minor in Psychology, Stanford Graduate School of Business, 1995
  • BA in Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, 1989

Academic Appointments

  • The General Atlantic Professor, Stanford GSB, 2005-present
  • Full Professor, Stanford GSB, 2004-2005
  • Associate Professor, Stanford GSB, 2001-2004
  • Assistant Professor, Stanford GSB, 1999-2001
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Columbia Graduate School of Business, Fall 1998
  • Assistant Professor, Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA, 1995-1999

Awards and Honors

  • Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award, Society for Consumer Psychology, 2014
  • The Nautilus Literary Award, The Dragonfly Effect, 2011
  • A. Michael Spence Faculty Scholar, Stanford University, GSB, 2006
  • Early Career Award for Outstanding Research, Society of Consumer Psychology, 2003
  • Distinguished Teaching Award, MBA, Stanford University, GSB, 2000


Journal Articles

Kathleen D. Vohs, Jennifer Aaker, Rhia Catapano. Current Opinion in Psychology. April 2019, Vol. 26, Pages 11-14.
Cassie Mogilner, Hal E. Hershfield, Jennifer Aaker. Consumer Psychology Review. January 2018, Vol. 1, Issue 1, Pages 41-53.
Donnel A. Briley, Melanie Rudd, Jennifer Aaker. Journal of Consumer Research. December 1, 2017, Vol. 44, Issue 4, Pages 895-915.
David Aaker, Jennifer Aaker. California Management Review. May 4, 2016, Vol. 58, Issue 3, Pages 49-65.
Jennifer Aaker, Jordan Etkin, Ioannis Evangelidis. Journal of Marketing Research. June 2015, Vol. 52, Issue 3, Pages 394-406.
Emily N. Garbinsky, Anne-Kathryn Klesse, Jennifer Aaker. Journal of Consumer Research. October 1, 2014, Vol. 41, Issue 3, Pages 610-623.
Melanie Rudd, Jennifer Aaker, Michael I. Norton. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. September 2014, Vol. 54, Pages 11-24.
Jennifer Aaker. Journal Consumer Research. 2014.
Roy F. Baumeister, Kathleen D. Vohs, Jennifer Aaker, Emily N. Garbinsky. Journal of Positive Psychology. 2013, Vol. 8, Issue 6, Pages 505-516.
Melanie Rudd, Kathleen D. Vohs, Jennifer Aaker. Psychological Science. 2012, Vol. 23, Issue 10, Pages 1130-1136.
Jennifer Aaker, Emily N. Garbinsky, Kathleen D. Vohs. Journal of Consumer Psychology. 2012, Vol. 22, Issue 2, Pages 191–194.
Cassie Mogilner, Jennifer Aaker, Sepandar D. Kamvar. Journal of Consumer Research. 2012, Vol. 39, Issue 2, Pages 429-443.
Jennifer Aaker, Melanie Rudd, Cassie Mogilner. Journal of Consumer Psychology. 2011, Vol. 21, Issue 2, Pages 126–130.
Cassie Mogilner, Sepandar D. Kamvar, Jennifer Aaker. Social Psychological and Personality Science. 2011, Vol. 2, Issue 4, Pages 395–402.
Jennifer Aaker, Kathleen D. Vohs, Cassie Mogilner. Journal of Consumer Research. 2010, Vol. 37, Issue 2, Pages 224-237.
Cassie Mogilner, Jennifer Aaker. Journal of Consumer Research. 2009, Vol. 36, Issue 2, Pages 277-291.
Jennifer Aaker, Satoshi Akutsu. Journal of Consumer Psychology. 2009, Vol. 19, Issue 3, Pages 267–270.
Jennifer Aaker, Aimee Drolet, Dale Griffin. Journal of Consumer Research. 2008, Vol. 35, Issue 2, Pages 268-278.
Wendy Liu, Jennifer Aaker. Journal of Consumer Research. 2008, Vol. 35, Issue 3, Pages 543-557.
Cassie Mogilner, Jennifer Aaker, Ginger L. Pennington. Journal of Consumer Research. 2008, Vol. 34, Issue 5, Pages 670-681.
Wendy Liu, Jennifer Aaker. Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes. 2007, Vol. 102, Issue 2, Pages 212-225.
Nidhi Agrawal, Geeta Menon, Jennifer Aaker. Journal of Marketing Research. 2007, Vol. 44, Pages 100-113.
Donnel A. Briley, Jennifer Aaker. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. 2006, Vol. 25, Issue 1, Pages 53-66.
Jennifer Aaker. Journal of Consumer Psychology. 2006, Vol. 16, Issue 4, Pages 343–347.
Jennifer Aaker, Angela Y. Lee. Journal of Marketing Research. 2006, Vol. 43, Issue 1, Pages 15-19.
Donnel A. Briley, Jennifer Aaker. Journal of Marketing Research. 2006, Vol. 43, Issue 3, Pages 395-408.
Gita Venkataramani Johar, Jaideep Sengupta, Jennifer Aaker. Journal of Marketing Research. 2005, Vol. 42, Issue 4, Pages 458-469.
Angela Y Lee, Jennifer Aaker. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 2004, Vol. 86, Issue 2, Pages 205-218.
Jennifer Aaker, Susan Fournier, S. Adam Brasel. Journal of Consumer Research. 2004, Vol. 31, Issue 1, Pages 1-16.
Patty Williams, Jennifer Aaker. Journal of Consumer Research. March 2002, Vol. 28.
Aimee Drolet, Jennifer Aaker. Journal of Consumer Psychology. 2002, Vol. 12, Issue 1, Pages 59-68.
Jennifer Aaker, Angela Y. Lee. Journal of Consumer Research. June 2001, Vol. 28.
Jennifer Aaker, Veronica Benet-Martinez, Jordi Garolera. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology. 2001, Vol. 81, Issue 3, Pages 492-508.
Jennifer Aaker, Bernd Schmitt. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. 2001, Vol. 32, Issue 5, Pages 561-576.
Angela Lee, Jennifer Aaker, Wendi Gardner. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology. June 2000, Vol. 78, Pages 1-13.
Jennifer Aaker. Journal of Consumer Research. March 2000, Vol. 26, Issue 4, Pages 340-357.
Jennifer Aaker, Jaideep Sengupta. Journal of Consumer Psychology. 2000, Vol. 9, Issue 2, Pages 67-82.
Jennifer Aaker, Anne M. Brumbaugh, Sonya A. Grier. Journal of Conmsumer Psychology. 2000, Vol. 9, Issue 3, Pages 127-140.
Jennifer Aaker. Journal of Marketing Research. February 1999, Vol. 36, Pages 45-57.
Jennifer Aaker, Patti Williams. Journal of Consumer Research. December 1998, Vol. 25, Issue 3, Pages 241-261.
Jennifer Aaker, Duraiaraj Maheswaran. Journal of Consumer Research. December 1997, Vol. 24, Issue 3, Pages 315-328.
Jennifer Aaker. Journal of Marketing Research. August 1997, Vol. 34, Pages 347-356.


Degree Courses


YOU, oh fearless leader of the future (and maybe present). Are very important. You will make critical and far-reaching economic, political, and social decisions in your quest beyond Stanford to change lives, change organizations, and change the...

We assume happiness is stable, an endpoint to achieve our goal to chase. It's not. Recent behavioral research suggests that the meaning of happiness changes every 5-10 years, raising the question: how might we build organizations and lives that...


As children, we all possessed an innate understanding of the power of laughter, and most believed ourselves to be not just skilled in the craft of comedy, but uproariously funny. As we grew up, however, and particularly as we entered the world of...

Put on a headset or glasses, and you will be transported to an entirely different world. You could be moving through a business room in China, following a girl through a Syrian refugee camp, or saving the world as a superhero. As a medium,...

We assume happiness is stable, an endpoint to achieve our goal to chase. It's not. Recent behavioral research suggests that the meaning of happiness changes every 5-10 years, raising the question: how might we build organizations and lives that...

Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

Stanford Case Studies

Humor: Serious Business - Caselet Studies – Dick Costolo: The Power of Humor in Leadership | M371-3
Jennifer Aaker, Naomi Bagdonas, Peter Seibert, Sophia Pink2018
Humor: Serious Business – Caselet Studies - Sara Blakely: Using Humor to Launch a Company | M370A
Jennifer Aaker, Naomi Bagdonas, Peter Seibert, Sara Blakely2018
Humor: Serious Business – Caselet Studies - Brian Fugere: Bigger Than Bullsh*t | M370B
Jennifer Aaker, Naomi Bagdonas, Peter Seibert2018
Humor: Serious Business – Caselet Studies - Eric Gurian: Humor Ignites Positive Action in Dark Times | M370C
Jennifer Aaker, Naomi Bagdonas, Peter Seibert, Eric Gurian2018
Leading with Humor | M367
Debra Schifrin, Jennifer Aaker, Noami Bagdonas, Leslie Blodgett, David Hornik, Kelly Leonard, Anne Libera2018
On Humor and Honey Badgers | M373
Jennifer Aaker, Naomi Bagdonas, Steve Reardon2018
Bare Escentuals: Designing Story in a Digital World - The Innovation Playbook | M350
Jennifer Aaker, Stephany Yong, Jessica Dodson2016
eBay: Designing Culture Change - The Innovation Playbook | M364
Jennifer Aaker, Stephany Yong, Jessica Dodson, Tina Sharkey, Dane Howard2016
The Innovation Playbook: Land's End: Envisioning the Non-Obvious | M365
Jennifer Aaker, Debra Schifrin2016
How Stories Drive Growth: Brit + Co. | M348C
Jennifer Aaker, Debra Schifrin2014
How Stories Drive Growth: HSN | M348B
Jennifer Aaker, Debra Schifrin2014
How Stories Drive Growth: Skype | M348A
Jennifer Aaker, Debra Schifrin2014
How to Cultivate Happiness in Companies Five Caselets | M346
Jennifer Aaker, Jake Poses, Debra Schifrin2013
BabyCenter Creating a Social Brand | M341
Jennifer Aaker, Debra Schifrin2012
How to Harness Stories in Business | M354
Jennifer Aaker, Maile Lesica, Barbara McCarthy, Tina Sharkey, Tamsin Smith2012
JetBlue Creating a Social Brand | M343
Jennifer L Aaker, Debra Schifrin2012
The Business Case for Happiness | M345
Jennifer Aaker, Sara Gaviser Leslie, Debra Schifrin2012
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation: Eradicating Cancer, One Cup at a Time | M331
Jennifer Aaker, Heidy Kwan, Sara Leslie2010
Amplifying Perceptions How JetBlue Uses Twitter to Drive Engagement and Satisfaction | M336
Jennifer Aaker, David Hoyt, Sara Leslie, David Rogier2010
Bonobos: Customer Intimacy Through Community Development | M337
Jennifer Aaker, Sara Leslie2010
Deals @Delloutlet: How Dell Clears Inventory Through Twitter | M334
Jennifer Aaker, Ravdeep Chawla, Sara Leslie2010
Dispensing Happiness: How Coke Harnesses Video to Spread Happiness | M335
Jennifer Aaker, Sara Leslie, David Rogier2010 and the Power of a Story | M325
Jennifer Aaker, Victoria Chang2010
NIKE WE: Design Meets Social Good | M328
Jennifer Aaker, Ravdeep Chawla, Sara Leslie2010
NIKE WE: Design Meets Social Good | M328B
Jennifer Aaker, Sara Leslie2010
The Psychology of Happiness | M330
Jennifer Aaker, Sara Leslie, Carole Robin2010
Zappos: Happiness in a Box | M333
Jennifer Aaker, Sara Leslie2010
How To Tell A Story (A) | M323A
Jennifer Aaker, Victoria Chang2009
How To Tell A Story (B) | M323B
Jennifer Aaker, Victoria Chang2009
Obama and the Power of Social Media and Technology | M321
Jennifer Aaker, Victoria Chang2009
Using Social Media to Save Lives: | M319
Jennifer Aaker, Victoria Chang, Robert Chatwani2009

In the Media

Gentry Magazine, September 2017
NewCo Shift, March 16, 2017
New York Magazine, December 30, 2016
Brand Quarterly, May 2016
The New York Times, March 6, 2015
Science of Us, February 25, 2015
ORSM Discovery, February 6, 2015
New research by Ioannis Evangelidis of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and co-authors Jordan Etkin (Duke University) and Jennifer Aaker (Stanford University), shows interfering goals make customers feel time-constraint.
The Atlantic, November 2, 2014
Why, throughout human history, have people been so drawn to fiction?
Scientific American, October 28, 2014
ScienceDaily, April 15, 2014
The Times of India, March 27, 2014
Scientific American, February 18, 2014
Integral Options Cafe, November 21, 2013
The Atlantic, December 18, 2013
The York Times, November 30, 2013
Huffington Post, October 29, 2013
Re-evaluating how you spend time could make you happier
Chicago Tribune, September 2013
The New York Times, August 8, 2013
Fast Company, January 10, 2013
The Atlantic, January 9, 2013
Yahoo! Finance, November 18, 2012
The Dragonfly Effect
Stanford Business Magazine, November 2012
Social Media New Technology
Stanford Business Insider, October 2012
Business Wire, July 18, 2012
Forbes India, July 28, 2011
Forbes, February 8, 2010
Financial Times, February 5, 2010
Scientific American, January 26, 2010
Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2009

Insights by Stanford Business

December 5, 2017
15 Stanford business professors recommend books for those long winter nights.
December 4, 2017
Readers keyed into humor’s workplace value, the secret to improving communication skills, and advice from Sheryl Sandberg and Marc Andreessen.
October 20, 2017
Stanford GSB faculty and industry leaders help young executives of search fund companies navigate their new roles.
August 31, 2017
Using the right language during crises improves patients’ chances of recovery.
August 21, 2017
Stanford GSB professors suggest a reading list of articles and books related to the concept.
July 11, 2017
You are not as funny as you should be, and your company is suffering because of it.
December 15, 2016
Faculty and guest speakers on topics ranging from storytelling to simplicity.
December 12, 2016
Long commute? Spend the time listening to these 10 Stanford Business stories.
May 16, 2016
Businesses can touch customers and clarify corporate values by creating a powerful narrative.
January 6, 2016
People work harder if they feel that what they are doing has meaning.
December 16, 2015
Humor can get you through long lines at Disneyland and a bad day at work.
December 10, 2015
Why product designers should put themselves in the shoes of their consumers.
December 17, 2014
Feeling torn between conflicting goals makes people less inclined to fulfill either one.
December 11, 2014
Explore 10 Stanford Business stories from 2014, including pieces on happiness and networking.
October 27, 2014
As people grow older, their definition of happiness tends to shift from excitement to contentment.
July 11, 2014
New research shows one big reason to be nice to others.
May 29, 2014
A new study shows that people who feel powerful save more money.
February 27, 2014
Dale Miller brings the expertise and experience of Stanford GSB faculty and alumni to consider the question, “Is nonprofit passé or overlooked?”
February 27, 2014
Professor Frank Flynn looks at the difference between “happiness” and “meaning” in life –– and how these two concepts relate to being prosocial.
July 3, 2013
A Stanford GSB professor of marketing explains why engaging your audience is key to success.
July 13, 2012
New research shows that experiencing moments of awe can change perceptions of our most valued commodity.
July 9, 2012
Research shows that the little word 'we' can make a big difference in attitudes toward brands.
November 15, 2011
Research shows that “attitudes toward happiness are highly malleable, and, in fact, easily influenced.”
April 1, 2011
Forget Suze Orman. Time, not money, is your most precious resource. Spend it wisely.
October 1, 2010
The Zappos CEO says that doing whatever it takes to keep his employees, customers, and vendors happy has led to profits in the end.
March 6, 2010
The Center for Social Innovation conference showcased how to use gentle nudges, subtle tweaks, and quiet prompts to summon better behavior.
February 1, 2010
How small acts can create big change.
February 1, 2010
How we perceive for-profit and not-for-profit organizations can affect how both groups do business.
August 1, 2009
A study looks at the relationship between self-image and charitable giving.
March 1, 2009
Why many effective consumer marketing campaigns focus on experiencing, rather than possessing, a product.
September 1, 2008
A new study shows that asking potential donors to make an emotional connection first can ultimately lead to greater financial giving.
September 1, 2007
A strong brand personality can help nonprofits attract more support for their mission.
June 1, 2007
Research examines how feelings of time change your perceptions.
November 1, 2005
Research explores the circumstances under which culture influences consumer-purchasing decisions.
March 1, 2003
Brand personality has a significant impact on customer relationships, and the ability of a brand to recover from errors.

School News

April 20, 2018
He transformed his resourcefulness as a squadron commander into business savvy.
September 28, 2017
Gentry Magazine learns how Stanford Professor Jennifer Aaker and Lecturer Naomi Bagdonas, MBA ’15 are bringing humor to the classroom and business world.