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Associate Professor Kirsten Robertson

BA, MSc, PhD (Otago)

kirsten robertson image 2022

Otago Business School 4.29
Tel +64 3 479 8451
Email kirsten.robertson@otago.ac.nz

It’s easier to communicate with people if you know how they think. So a background in social psychology gives Kirsten Robertson an edge when it comes to researching and teaching marketing behaviour.

Seeking to understand consumers has led Kirsten to investigate such diverse phenomena as student drinking and music piracy, with surprising results.

She’s found attitudes that suggest we need to reconsider how we try to curtail binge drinking and illegal music downloads.

Anti-piracy messages push the idea that people shouldn’t steal music from the internet because they wouldn’t steal CDs from a store — but Kirsten has found that many people would also steal from stores if they could be sure of getting away with it.

“Rather than appealing to honesty, it might be more effective to focus the message more on the likelihood of being caught.”

Her research also suggests that we need to look at alternative ways of addressing efforts to reduce excessive drinking and its associated ills.

“There’s not a lot to be gained by suggesting people should limit the number of standard drinks they have when few people can identify a standard drink, and when people tend to underestimate the amount they drink – particularly heavy drinkers.

“Few students take any notice of the standard drink message, and often shun responsible drinkers.

“We need to change people’s attitudes to make responsible drinkers feel more comfortable and under less pressure.”

Some of Kirsten’s other recent investigations include ‘fizzy drink’ consumption as a normal behaviour within the obesogenic environment, the influence of materialism on generosity, how ‘at-risk’ individuals’ respond to direct to consumer advertising of prescription drugs, negative consequences of advertising to children, and violence in interpersonal partner relationships.

“Advanced study of human behaviour, attitudes and perceptions can have a great deal of influence on social marketing campaigns.”

Kirsten is currently a co-investigator on the 45th phase of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development study.

Kirsten has also taught clinical communication skills to health students, and has received three awards in her role as supervisor to postgraduate students.

Kirsten transferred from the Department of Psychology to the Department of Marketing in January 2008. Coming from a social psychology background she has a strong interest in human behaviour, attitudes, and perceptions.

Specifically, her research interests include:

  • Health and wellbeing
  • Influence of materialism and advertising on society
  • Obesogenic environment and consumption
  • How consumerism influences children and parenting practices
  • Attitudes towards binge drinking
  •  Knowledge and use of standard drink labels
  • Direct to consumer advertising of prescription drugs
  • Violence in advertising
  • Advertising to children
  • Illegal downloading / music piracy
  • Real Estate advertising
  • Language and advertising
  • Social marketing (in particular, social norms campaigns)
  • Behaviour, attitudes, and perceptions
  • Conflict in interpersonal relationships

In addition to lecturing, Kirsten has also been involved in teaching clinical communication skills to medical and dental students and has spent five years working as a group facilitator.

Kirsten is also a member of Food Waste Innovation, a University of Otago Research Theme which measures food waste, develops reduction strategies, applies innovative technology, and works to modify producer and consumer behaviour.

Teaching responsibilities

Kirsten’s teaching responsibilities include:

Office Hours

Kirsten’s Office Hours are:

  • Thursday: 1:00pm to 2:00pm

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Publications

Robertson, K. J., Thyne, M., & Matheson, I. (2022). Barriers and facilitators of using dementia community support services provided by an Alzheimers organisation: Perceptions of informal caregivers receiving services. Health & Social Care in the Community. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/hsc.13796

Robertson, K., & Thyne, M. (2021). Legalization of recreational cannabis: Facilitators and barriers to switching from an illegal to a legal source. Preventive Medicine Reports, 24, 101639. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2021.101639

Watkins, L., Aitken, R., Robertson, K., Williams, J., & Thyne, M. (2021). New Zealand consumer lifestyles. Aotearoa New Zealand Journal of Social Issues, 1, 1-17.

Watkins, L., Robertson, K., & Aitken, R. (2021). Preschoolers' request behaviour and family conflict: The role of family communication and advertising mediation styles. Journal of Consumer Behaviour. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/cb.1938

Makhal, A., Robertson, K., Thyne, M., & Mirosa, M. (2021). Normalising the "ugly" to reduce food waste: Exploring the socialisations that form appearance preferences for fresh fruits and vegetables. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 20, 1025-1039. doi: 10.1002/cb.1908

Robertson, K. J., Thyne, M., & Matheson, I. (2022). Barriers and facilitators of using dementia community support services provided by an Alzheimers organisation: Perceptions of informal caregivers receiving services. Health & Social Care in the Community. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/hsc.13796

Journal - Research Article

Makhal, A., Robertson, K., Thyne, M., & Mirosa, M. (2021). Normalising the "ugly" to reduce food waste: Exploring the socialisations that form appearance preferences for fresh fruits and vegetables. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 20, 1025-1039. doi: 10.1002/cb.1908

Journal - Research Article

Robertson, K., & Thyne, M. (2021). Legalization of recreational cannabis: Facilitators and barriers to switching from an illegal to a legal source. Preventive Medicine Reports, 24, 101639. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2021.101639

Journal - Research Article

Tran, K. T., Robertson, K., & Thyne, M. (2021). Facilitators of students' moderate drinking in a wet versus dry drinking culture. Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing, 33(3), 359-384. doi: 10.1080/10495142.2019.1707742

Journal - Research Article

Watkins, L., Aitken, R., Robertson, K., Williams, J., & Thyne, M. (2021). New Zealand consumer lifestyles. Aotearoa New Zealand Journal of Social Issues, 1, 1-17.

Journal - Research Article

Watkins, L., Robertson, K., & Aitken, R. (2021). Preschoolers' request behaviour and family conflict: The role of family communication and advertising mediation styles. Journal of Consumer Behaviour. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/cb.1938

Journal - Research Article

Fielding, D., Knowles, S., & Robertson, K. (2020). Materialists and altruists in a charitable donation experiment. Oxford Economic Papers, 72(1), 216-234. doi: 10.1093/oep/gpz027

Journal - Research Article

Makhal, A., Thyne, M., Robertson, K., & Mirosa, M. (2020). “I don't like wonky carrots": An exploration of children's perceptions of suboptimal fruits and vegetables. Journal of Retailing & Consumer Services, 54, 101945. doi: 10.1016/j.jretconser.2019.101945

Journal - Research Article

Robertson, K. J., & Tustin, K. (2020). Control of recreational cannabis in a New Zealand University sample: Perceptions of informal and formal controls. Substance Abuse: Research & Treatment, 14, 1-12. doi: 10.1177/1178221820953397

Journal - Research Article

Robertson, K., Forbes, S., & Thyne, M. (2020). Perpetration of alcohol-related aggression by male and female college students: An examination of overt and relational aggression. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 35(5-6), 1454-1475. doi: 10.1177/0886260517696872

Journal - Research Article

Tran, K. T., Robertson, K., & Thyne, M. (2020). Students’ perceptions of barriers to moderate drinking: A comparison between a wet and a dry drinking culture. Journal of Social Marketing, 10(1), 105-124. doi: 10.1108/JSOCM-09-2018-0102

Journal - Research Article

Khalil Zadeh, N., Robertson, K., & Green, J. A. (2019). Lifestyle determinants of behavioural outcomes triggered by direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines: A cross-sectional study. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 43(2), 190-196. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12883

Journal - Research Article

Thyne, M., Robertson, K., Watkins, L., & Casey, O. (2019). Retailers targeting children with set collection promotions: The child’s perspective. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 47(6), 643-658. doi: 10.1108/IJRDM-08-2017-0180

Journal - Research Article

Tran, K. T., Robertson, K., & Thyne, M. (2019). Factors associated with intention to moderate drinking among student drinkers. Social Marketing Quarterly, 25(4), 327-346. doi: 10.1177/1524500419883970

Journal - Research Article

Fielding, D., Knowles, S., & Robertson, K. (2018). Alcohol, generosity and empathy. Journal of Behavioral & Experimental Economics, 76, 28-39. doi: 10.1016/j.socec.2018.07.005

Journal - Research Article

Robertson, K., & Tustin, K. (2018). Students who limit their drinking, as recommended by national guidelines, are stigmatized, ostracized, or the subject of peer pressure: Limiting consumption is all but prohibited in a culture of intoxication. Substance Abuse, 12, 1-9. doi: 10.1177/1178221818792414

Journal - Research Article

Robertson, K., Thyne, M., & Green, J. A. (2018). Supporting a sugar tax in New Zealand: Sugar sweetened beverage ('fizzy drink') consumption as a normal behaviour within the obesogenic environment. PeerJ, 6, e5821. doi: 10.7717/peerj.5821

Journal - Research Article

Khalil Zadeh, N., Robertson, K., & Green, J. A. (2017). ‘At-risk’ individuals’ responses to direct to consumer advertising of prescription drugs: A nationally representative crosssectional study. BMJ Open, 7(12), e017865. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017865

Journal - Research Article

Knobloch, U., Robertson, K., & Aitken, R. (2017). Experience, emotion, and eudaimonia: A consideration of tourist experiences and well-being. Journal of Travel Research, 56(5), 651-662. doi: 10.1177/0047287516650937

Journal - Research Article

Robertson, K., Thyne, M., & Hibbert, S. (2017). Drinkers' perceived alcohol-related expectancies: Informing alcohol warning messages. Drugs: Education, Prevention, & Policy, 24(2), 197-205. doi: 10.1080/09687637.2016.1188880

Journal - Research Article

Watkins, L., Aitken, R., Thyne, M., Robertson, K., & Borzekowski, D. (2017). Environmental influences on pre-schooler’s understanding of brand symbolism. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 35(7), 907-922. doi: 10.1108/MIP-11-2016-0211

Journal - Research Article

Lawson, R., Robertson, K., & Wooliscroft, B. (2016). Health, vulnerability, and energy: Assessing energy markets and consumer agency in New Zealand. Energy Research & Social Science, 19, 119-123. doi: 10.1016/j.erss.2016.05.021

Journal - Research Article

Robertson, K. J., Aitken, R., Thyne, M., & Watkins, L. (2016). Correlates of parental mediation of pre-schooler’s advertising exposure. Young Consumers, 17(4), 337-349. doi: 10.1108/YC-04-2016-00597

Journal - Research Article

Thyne, M., Robertson, K., Thomas, T., & Ingram, M. (2016). “It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness”: Expectancies associated with tween makeup ownership. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 40(5), 543-551. doi: 10.1111/ijcs.12299

Journal - Research Article

Watkins, L., Aitken, R., Robertson, K., & Thyne, M. (2016). Public and parental perceptions of and concerns with advertising to preschool children. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 40(5), 592-600. doi: 10.1111/ijcs.12304

Journal - Research Article

Watkins, L., Aitken, R., Robertson, K., Thyne, M., & Williams, J. (2016). Advertising's impact on pre-schoolers' brand knowledge and materialism. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 40(5), 583-591. doi: 10.1111/ijcs.12303

Journal - Research Article

Watkins, L., Aitken, R., Hinder, C., Lawson, R., Mather, D., Paul, A., Robertson, K., & Williams, J. (2015). The New Zealand consumer lifestyle segments. New Zealand Sociology, 30(1), 111-130.

Journal - Research Article

Knobloch, U., Robertson, K., & Aitken, R. (2014). (Mis)understanding the nature of tourist experiences. Tourism Analysis, 19(5), 599-608. doi: 10.3727/108354214X14116690097891

Journal - Research Article

Robertson, K., Aitken, R., & Watkins, L. (2014). Public policy and personal preference: A disconnect between beliefs regarding responsible drinking and the motivation to get drunk. Public Health, 128(11), 1030-1032. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2014.08.006

Journal - Research Article

Robertson, K., & Davidson, J. (2013). Gender-role stereotypes in integrated social marketing communication: Influence on attitudes towards the ad. Australasian Marketing Journal, 21(3), 168-175. doi: 10.1016/j.ausmj.2013.05.001

Journal - Research Article

Chua, A., Robertson, K., Parackal, M., & Deans, K. R. (2012). Conveying trust: Transparency and credibility methods in corporate blogs. New Zealand Journal of Applied Business Research, 10(2), 1-15.

Journal - Research Article

Robertson, K., McNeill, L., Green, J., & Roberts, C. (2012). Illegal downloading, ethical concern, and illegal behavior. Journal of Business Ethics, 108(2), 215-227. doi: 10.1007/s10551-011-1079-3

Journal - Research Article

Robertson, K., & Forbes, S. (2011). Maximum consumption: Heavy quantity drinking amongst university students. Australasian Marketing Journal, 19(3), 196-202. doi: 10.1016/j.ausmj.2011.05.006

Journal - Research Article

Robertson, K., & Murachver, T. (2011). Women and men's use of coercive control in intimate partner violence. Violence & Victims, 26(2), 208-217. doi: 10.1891/0886-6708.26.2.208

Journal - Research Article

Robertson, K., & Doig, A. (2010). An empirical investigation of variations in real-estate marketing language over a market cycle. Housing, Theory & Society, 27(2), 178-189. doi: 10.1080/14036090903159994

Journal - Research Article

Khoo-Lattimore, C., Thyne, M., & Robertson, K. (2009). The ZMET method: Using projective technique to understand consumer home choice. Marketing Review, 9(2), 139-154. doi: 10.1362/146934709x442674

Journal - Research Article

Robertson, K., & Murachver, T. (2009). Attitudes and attributions associated with female and male partner violence. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 39(7), 1481-1512.

Journal - Research Article

Robertson, K., & Murachver, T. (2007). Correlates of partner violence for incarcerated women and men. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22(5), 639-655.

Journal - Research Article

Robertson, K., & Murachver, T. (2007). It takes two to tangle: Gender symmetry in intimate partner violence. Basic & Applied Social Psychology, 29(2), 109-118.

Journal - Research Article

Robertson, K., & Murachver, T. (2006). Intimate partner violence: Linguistic features and accommodation behavior of perpetrators and victims. Journal of Language & Social Psychology, 25(4), 406-422.

Journal - Research Article

Robertson, K., & Murachver, T. S. (2003). Children's speech accomodation to gendered language styles. Journal of Language & Social Psychology, 22(3), 321-333.

Journal - Research Article

Poulton, R., Robertson, K., Boden, J., Horwood, J., Theodore, R., Potiki, T., & Ambler, A. (2020). Patterns of recreational cannabis use in Aotearoa-New Zealand and their consequences: Evidence to inform voters in the 2020 referendum. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 50(2), 348-365. doi: 10.1080/03036758.2020.1750435

Journal - Research Other

Khalil Zadeh, N., Robertson, K., & Green, J. (2017). Advertising of prescription medicines in New Zealand: Consumers' well-being and social consequences. In B. Wooliscroft & A. Ganglmair-Wooliscroft (Eds.), Proceedings of the Macromarketing Conference: Macromarketing Systems' Contributions to Society: Past, Present and Potential. (pp. 96-101). Dunedin, New Zealand: Macromarketing Society and the Marketing Department, University of Otago. [Full Paper]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Robertson, K., Thyne, M., & Watt, K. (2017). Is materialism driving unethical consumer behavior? In B. Wooliscroft & A. Ganglmair-Wooliscroft (Eds.), Proceedings of the Macromarketing Conference: Macromarketing Systems' Contributions to Society: Past, Present and Potential. (pp. 203-209). Dunedin, New Zealand: Macromarketing Society and the Marketing Department, University of Otago. [Full Paper]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Forbes, S., Mather, D., Robertson, K., & Lawson, R. (2015). An examination of daily behaviour using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. In L. O'Malley (Ed.), Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Conference (AM): The Magic in Marketing. Retrieved from http://programme.exordo.com/am2015/

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Khalil Zadeh, N., Robertson, K., & Green, J. (2015). How consumers evaluate online pharmaceutical advertising? Public health and marketing perspectives. In A. Ganglmair-Wooliscroft, J. Williams & B. Wooliscroft (Eds.), Proceedings of the Australian & New Zealand Marketing Academy (ANZMAC) Midyear Doctoral Colloquium. (pp. 24-31). Dunedin, New Zealand: Marketing Department, University of Otago. [Full Paper]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Sen, R. A., Robertson, K., & Watkins, L. (2015). Social norms and alcohol consumption: Communicating an alternative to excessive consumption. In A. Ganglmair-Wooliscroft, J. Williams & B. Wooliscroft (Eds.), Proceedings of the Australian & New Zealand Marketing Academy (ANZMAC) Midyear Doctoral Colloquium. (pp. 32-39). Dunedin, New Zealand: Marketing Department, University of Otago. [Full Paper]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Thyne, M., Robertson, K., Thomas, T., & McDonald, S. (2015). "Mummy, when will I get muscles?": Children's gendered stereotypes around beauty and body image. In L. O'Malley (Ed.), Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Conference (AM): The Magic in Marketing. Retrieved from http://programme.exordo.com/am2015/

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Aitken, R., Robertson, K., Watkins, L., & Thyne, M. (2014). An examination of the factors that influence the choice of mediation strategies for preschool children. Proceedings of the Child and Teen Consumption Conference: Being, Becoming and Belonging. [USB Memory Stick] [Full Paper]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Seyedmehdi, S., Gnoth, J., & Robertson, K. J. (2014). A proposed model for the process of place bonding. In S. Rundle-Thiele, K. Kubacki & D. Arli (Eds.), Proceedings of the Australian & New Zealand Marketing Academy (ANZMAC) Annual Conference: Agents of Change. (pp. 419-425). ANZMAC. [Full Paper]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

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