Luca Cian

Luca Cian

Assistant Professor of Business Administration


FOB 283

Academic Area

Areas of Expertise

Consumer Behavior, Consumer Psychology, Sensory Marketing, Social Cognition, Eye-Tracking, Aesthetics

Education: M.S., University of Trieste (Italy); Ph.D., University of Verona (Italy); Visiting Ph.D., University of Michigan; Postdoc, University of Michigan

Assistant Professor Luca Cian teaches the First Year "Marketing" core course and the Second Year "Consumer Behavior" elective course in the MBA program at the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia. His research area is consumer behavior, with a focus on sensory marketing and social cognition. He is also specialized in biofeedback research, mostly using eye-tracking technology. He has published in the top marketing academic journals, including Journal of Marketing ResearchJournal of Consumer Psychology and Journal of Consumer Research. Popular accounts of his work have appeared on NPR and in the Huffington Post, New York MagazineFast CompanyUSA Today, VOX, The AtlanticThe Washington Post and others.

In 2007, Cian earned his M.S., summa cum laude with highest distinction, at the University of Trieste, with a perfect GPA score. There, he was named best faculty graduate. In 2011, Cian received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Verona. The Italian Association of Psychology awarded his doctoral dissertation "Best Dissertation" in his division. The same year, the Council of Italian University Rectors, the Italian National Research Council and the Italian Minister of Youth recognized him as one of the best young researchers in Italy. He spent the last two years of his doctorate as a visiting Ph.D. student at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, working with Professor Richard Bagozzi. After receiving his doctorate, Luca spent another three years at the Ross School of Business as a postdoctoral fellow, working with Professor Aradhna Krishna. During that time, he joined Professor Aradhna Krishna's Sensory Marketing Lab and Professor Norbert Schwarz's Social Cognition Lab.

Prior to teaching at Darden, Cian taught undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Trieste and the University of Michigan. He also worked as a marketing consultant.

Cian's teaching honors at Darden include: Voted faculty marshal by the Darden Class of 2017 and Top 10 percent of teaching evaluations of the School (2016).

His most recent research honors include: Top 10 percent of authors on SSRN (by all-time downloads); Top 11 Most Impactful Articles in the leading marketing journals, selected by the Marketing Science Institute (November 2015); and Top 10 most downloaded articles of Journal of Consumer Psychology (September-December 2014). 


Selected Journal Publications

Cian, Luca, "Verticality and Conceptual Metaphors: A Systematic Review," Journal of the Association of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Krishna, Aradhna, Cian,Luca, and Aydinoglu, Nilufer Z (2017), "Sensory Aspects of Packaging Design," Journal of Retailing, March (1), 43-54.

SSRN's Top Ten most downloaded papers in 8 different categories Krishna, Aradhna, Luca Cian, and Tatiana Sokolova (2016), "The Power of Sensory Marketing in Advertising," Current Opinion in Psychology, 10 (August): 142-147.

  • SSRN's Top Ten downloaded papers in 11 different categories

Cian, Luca, Aradhna Krishna, and Norbert Schwarz (2015), "Positioning Rationality and Emotion: Rationality Is Up and Emotion Is Down," Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 42, pp. 632-651.

  • SSRN's Top Ten downloaded papers in 12 different categories
  • 1000+ reads on ResearchGate

Cian, Luca, Aradhna Krishna, and Ryan Elder (2015), "A Sign of Things to Come: Increasing Desired Behavior through Dynamic Iconography," Journal of Consumer Research,  Vol. 41, No. 6, pp. 1426-1446.

  • Top 11 of Most Impactful Articles, Marketing Science Institute(November 2015)
  • SSRN's Top Ten downloaded papers in 4 different categories

Aydinoglu, Nilufer Z., and Luca Cian (2014), "Show Me the Product, Show Me the Model: Effect of Picture Type on Attitudes toward the Ad," Journal of Consumer Psychology

  • Top 10 of Most Downloaded Articles of Journal of Consumer Psychology(September-December 2014)
  • SSRN's Top Ten downloaded papers in 5 different categories
  • 4000+ views on ScienceDirect

Cian, Luca, Aradhna Krishna, and Ryan Elder (2014), "This Logo Moves Me: Dynamic Imagery from Static Images," Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 51, No. 2, pp. 184-197.

  • SSRN's Top Ten downloaded papers in 2 different categories

Cian, Luca (2012), "A Comparative Analysis of Print Advertising Applying the Two Main Plastic Semiotics Schools: Barthes' and Greimas'," Semiotica: Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies, No. 190, pp. 57-79.

  • Semiotica is an "A" journal in Semiotics
  • SSRN's Top Ten downloaded papers in 1 category


Book Chapters

Cian, Luca (2016), "Alignment between Identity and Reputation." In The SAGE Encyclopedia of Corporate Reputation, Craig E. Carroll (Ed.), Thousand Oaks (CA): SAGE.

Cian, Luca (2015), "The Conceptual Effects of Verticality in Design." In The Psychology of Design: Creating Consumer Desire, Rajeev Batra, Colleen Seifert, and Diann Brei (Eds.), New York: Routledge, pp. 40-52.