Mary Steffel is an associate professor of marketing and Joseph G. Riesman Research Professor at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business and affiliated faculty at the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. She received a Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Florida, Ph.D. in psychology from Princeton University, and B.A. in psychology from Columbia University.

Mary studies consumer judgment and decision-making. Her research examines when consumers call upon others to help them make decisions, how consumers navigate making decisions for others, and how businesses and governments can support consumers in making better decisions. She has published in leading journals in marketing, management, and psychology, including the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

Mary teaches undergraduate and MBA courses in consumer behavior, marketing management, marketing and society, and business and social impact. She leads the Choice And Thought (CAT) Lab. She received the D’Amore-McKim School of Business Teaching Excellence Award and was named one of Poets and Quants’ top 40 undergraduate professors.

Mary has served on the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team and the Office of Evaluation Sciences at the General Services Administration, where she has worked to bridge the gap between theory and practice and demonstrate how an understanding of consumer insights can be applied to solve society’s most pressing challenges.

Mary has spoken at TEDxNortheasternU and written for media outlets like the Los Angeles Times, Harvard Business Review, Quartz, and The Conversation. Her work has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, NBC News, The Today Show, TIME Magazine, Scientific American, New York Magazine, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Bloomberg View, Fast Company, Psychology Today, and National Public Radio.


  • PhD Marketing, University of Florida
  • PhD Psychology, Princeton University
  • MA Psychology, Princeton University
  • BA Psychology, Columbia University

Selected Publications

  • Eyal, Tal, Mary Steffel, and Nicholas Epley (2018), “Perspective Mistaking: Accurately Understanding the Mind of Another Requires Getting Perspective, Not Taking Perspective,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 114 (4), 547-71.
  • Steffel, Mary, and Elanor F. Williams (2018), “Delegating Decisions: Recruiting Others to Make Difficult Choices,” Journal of Consumer Research, 44 (5), 1015-32.
  • Steffel, Mary, Elanor F. Williams, and Ruth Pogacar (2016), “Ethically Deployed Defaults: Transparency and Consumer Protection through Disclosure and Preference Articulation,” Journal of Marketing Research, 53 (5), 865-80.
  • Steffel, Mary, Elanor F. Williams, and Jaclyn Perrmann-Graham (2016), “Passing the Buck: Delegating Choices to Others to Avoid Responsibility and Blame,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 135, 32-44.
  • Williams, Elanor F., and Mary Steffel (2014), “Legitimate Enablement or Unfair Embellishment?: Double Standards In The Use of Enhancing Products by Self and Others,” Journal of Consumer Research, 41 (2), 506-25.
  • Steffel, Mary, and Robyn LeBoeuf (2014), “Over-Individuation in Gift Giving: Shopping for Multiple Recipients Leads Givers to Choose Unique but Less Preferred Gifts,” Journal of Consumer Research, 40 (6), 1167-80.
  • Pronin, Emily, John J. Fleming, and Mary Steffel (2008), “Value Revelations: Disclosure Is in the Eye of the Beholder,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95 (4), 795-809.

Awards & Recognition

  • Marketing Science Institute Research Grant Winner
  • Transformative Consumer Research Grant Winner
  • D'Amore-McKim School of Business Riesman Research Professorship
  • D'Amore-McKim School of Business Trahan Family Faculty Fellowship
  • D'Amore-McKim School of Business Teaching Excellence Award
  • Poets and Quants Top 50 Undergraduate Professors