Szu-chi Huang is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University. She received her PhD in Marketing and a Master’s degree in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin. She also holds two Bachelor’s degrees from the National Taiwan University in Business Administration and in Business/Financial Law. Prior to her academic career, Professor Huang worked at JWT Advertising Agency as an Account Manager. While at JWT, she managed global brands such as Unilever and Estee Lauder.

Professor Huang’s main research interest is consumer motivation. Her research has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Marketing Research, the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Her findings were featured in the popular press, including Harvard Business Review, Inc., Men’s Health, Inside Marketing, Chief Executive, Quartz, and The Huffington Post. She has been awarded prestigious fellowships and awards, including the American Marketing Association (AMA) Consumer Behavior Special Interest Group’s Rising Star Award (2013), AMA-Sheth Distinguished Faculty Fellow (2017), and Marketing Science Institute (MSI)’s Young Scholar (2017). Professor Huang was named one of Poets & Quants’ Best 40 Under 40 Professors in 2017.

Academic Appointments

  • Associate Professor, Marketing

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Board member, Stanford Faculty Club (2015 - Present)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Consumer Motivation and Self-Regulation
Social Dynamics in Goal Pursuit
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Social Impact
Field Experimentation

2023-24 Courses

Stanford Advisees

  • Doctoral Dissertation Reader (AC)
    Mohamed Hussein
  • Doctoral Dissertation Advisor (AC)
    Samina Lutfeali
  • Doctoral (Program)
    Abigail Bergman, Samuel Pertl

All Publications

  • Purchase Justifiability Drives Payment Choice: Consumers Pay with Card to Remember and Cash to Forget JOURNAL OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR CONSUMER RESEARCH Bechler, C. J., Huang, S., Morris, J. I. 2023

    View details for DOI 10.1086/726429

    View details for Web of Science ID 001061809500001

  • Working hard for money decreases risk tolerance JOURNAL OF CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY Bechler, C. J., Lutfeali, S., Huang, S., Morris, J. I. 2023

    View details for DOI 10.1002/jcpy.1365

    View details for Web of Science ID 001000962600001

  • Robots or humans for disaster response? Impact on consumer prosociality and possible explanations JOURNAL OF CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY Chen, F., Huang, S. 2023

    View details for DOI 10.1002/jcpy.1338

    View details for Web of Science ID 000914259800001

  • The 5S's of Consumer Health: A Framework and Curation of JCR Articles on Health and Medical Decision-Making JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH Huang, S., Lee, L. 2022
  • Portraying Humans as Machines to Promote Health: Unintended Risks, Mechanisms, and Solutions JOURNAL OF MARKETING Weihrauch, A., Huang, S. 2021; 85 (3): 184-203
  • Subjective Age and the Greater Good JOURNAL OF CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY Park, J. H., Huang, S., Rozenkrants, B., Kupor, D. 2020

    View details for DOI 10.1002/jcpy.1177

    View details for Web of Science ID 000566004000001

  • Having less, giving more? Two preregistered replications of the relationship between social class and prosocial behavior JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN PERSONALITY Stamos, A., Lange, F., Huang, S., Dewitte, S. 2020; 84
  • It's the Journey, Not the Destination: How Metaphor Drives Growth After Goal Attainment JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Huang, S., Aaker, J. 2019; 117 (4): 697–720


    People pursue goals throughout their lives, and many of these attempts end happily-a goal is achieved. However, what facilitates the continuation of behaviors that are aligned with the completed goal, such as continuing to monitor food intake after completing a diet program? The results of 6 studies involving over 1,600 people across cultures and samples (executives in Africa, dieters in a 7-day food diary program, exercisers in a 14-day walking program, and college students) demonstrated that construing an achieved goal as a journey one has completed (compared with an alternative metaphor of having reached a destination, or a no-metaphor control) led to a greater likelihood of people continuing behaviors aligned with this attained goal. These findings demonstrated how shifting people's focus of a metaphor (i.e., focusing on the journey vs. the destination part of a completed path) can lead to consequentially different perceptions and behaviors. We isolated a mechanism for why people would continue goal-aligned behaviors after attaining their specific goals-enhanced perceptions of personal growth. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

    View details for DOI 10.1037/pspa0000164

    View details for Web of Science ID 000486659800003

    View details for PubMedID 31233318

  • When Individual Goal Pursuit Turns Competitive: How We Sabotage and Coast JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Huang, S., Lin, S. C., Zhang, Y. 2019; 117 (3): 605–20
  • Planning for Multiple Shopping Goals in the Marketplace JOURNAL OF CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY Suher, J., Huang, S., Lee, L. 2019

    View details for DOI 10.1002/jcpy.1130

    View details for Web of Science ID 000484314900001

  • And the winner is . . . ? Forecasting the outcome of others' competitive efforts. Journal of personality and social psychology Kupor, D., Brucks, M. S., Huang, S. 2019


    People frequently forecast the outcomes of competitive events. Some forecasts are about oneself (e.g., forecasting how one will perform in an athletic competition, school or job application, or professional contest), while many other forecasts are about others (e.g., predicting the outcome of another individual's athletic competition, school or job application, or professional contest). In this research, we examine people's forecasts about others' competitive outcomes, illuminate a systematic bias in these forecasts, and document the source of this bias as well as its downstream consequences. Eight experiments with a total of 3,219 participants in a variety of competitive contexts demonstrate that when observers forecast the outcome that another individual will experience, observers systematically overestimate the probability that this individual will win. This misprediction stems from a previously undocumented lay belief-the belief that other people generally achieve their intentions-that skews observers' hypothesis testing. We find that this lay belief biases observers' forecasts even in contexts in which the other person's intent is unlikely to generate the person's intended outcome, and even when observers are directly incentivized to formulate an accurate forecast. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

    View details for DOI 10.1037/pspa0000165

    View details for PubMedID 31120289

  • When individual goal pursuit turns competitive: How we sabotage and coast. Journal of personality and social psychology Huang, S., Lin, S. C., Zhang, Y. 2019


    People working toward individual goals often find themselves surrounded by others who are pursuing similar goals, such as at school, in fitness classes, and through goal-oriented network devices like Fitbit. This research explores when these individual goal pursuits can turn into competitions, why it happens, and the downstream consequences of this pseudocompetition on goal pursuers. We found that people were more likely to treat their goal pursuit as a competition when they were near the end (vs. at the beginning) of their individual goal and, thus, prioritized relative positional gain (i.e., performing better than others sharing similar pursuits) over making objective progress on their own goal, sabotaging others when they had the opportunity to do so (Studies 1-3B). Further, we provided evidence that certainty of goal attainment at a high (vs. low) level of progress drove this shift in focus, leading to such sabotage behaviors (Studies 3A and 3B). Ironically, success in gaining an upper hand against others in these pseudocompetitions led individuals to subsequently reduce their effort in their own pursuits (Studies 1-5). Six experiments captured a variety of competitive behaviors across different goal domains (e.g., selecting games that diminished others' prospects, selecting difficult questions for fellow students). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

    View details for PubMedID 30667256

  • Social Information Avoidance: When, Why, and How It Is Costly in Goal Pursuit JOURNAL OF MARKETING RESEARCH Huang, S. 2018; 55 (3): 382–95
  • How Winning Changes Motivation in Multiphase Competitions JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Huang, S., Etkin, J., Jin, L. 2017; 112 (6): 813-837


    What drives motivation in multiphase competitions? Adopting a dynamic approach, this research examines how temporary standing-being ahead of (vs. behind) one's opponent-in a multiphase competition shapes subsequent motivation. Six competitions conducted in the lab and in the field demonstrate that the impact of being ahead on contestants' motivation depends on when (i.e., in which phase of the competition) contestants learn they are in the lead. In the early phase, contestants are concerned about whether they can win; being ahead increases motivation by making winning seem more attainable. In the later phase, however, contestants are instead driven by how much additional effort they believe they need to invest; being ahead decreases motivation by reducing contestants' estimate of the remaining effort needed to win. Temporary standing thus has divergent effects on motivation in multiphase competitions, driven by a shift in contestants' main concern from the early to the later phase and thus the meaning they derive from being ahead of their opponent. By leveraging insights gained from approaching individuals' self-regulation as a dynamic process, this research advances understanding of how motivation evolves in a unique interdependent self-regulatory context. (PsycINFO Database Record

    View details for DOI 10.1037/pspa0000082

    View details for Web of Science ID 000401329800002

    View details for PubMedID 28437126

  • From Close to Distant: The Dynamics of Interpersonal Relationships in Shared Goal Pursuit JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH Huang, S., Broniarczyk, S. M., Zhang, Y., Beruchashvili, M. 2015; 41 (5): 1252-1266

    View details for DOI 10.1086/678958

    View details for Web of Science ID 000348356100006

  • The Unexpected Positive Impact of Fixed Structures on Goal Completion JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH Jin, L., Huang, S., Zhang, Y. 2013; 40 (4): 711-725

    View details for DOI 10.1086/671762

    View details for Web of Science ID 000331704400008