Welcome to ACR 2019

2019 Conference Co-chairs:
Rajesh Bagchi 
Virginia Tech
Lauren Block
Baruch College
Leonard Lee
National University of Singapore

Conference Submission Website:
Conference Email: 


The United States lowers its voting age to 18. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty goes into effect. Pan Am makes the world’s first jumbo-jet commercial flight. Approximately 120 people attend the first meeting of the Association for Consumer Research (ACR) in Amherst Massachusetts. Association dues are $10; $5 for students. Letters are sent, along with return postage fees, to M. Venkatesan, UMass Amherst, to obtain Xeroxed copies of emergent publications. The year is 1970. 

This conference marks ACR’s Golden Anniversary—fifty years of an interdisciplinary, cross-method, international association of scholars building knowledge on all aspects of consumers’ thoughts, decisions and behaviors. In other words, Becoming Wise. What is wisdom? Yes, it is an acknowledgment of our past: our accumulated base of scientific learning, our pot of generally accepted beliefs, and the written and oral transmissions of our teachers and mentors. But it is more than that. It is our present, our now. It is our ability to discern what is true and right, and to couple that with what is just. To be wise is to make good judgments and to behave with sagacity. To that end, we are always Becoming Wise. 

ACR 2019 is a celebration of 50 years of Becoming Wise. With this Golden Anniversary conference, we honor what is wise in both our accumulated wisdom and our fledgling research. This means that this 2019 Golden Anniversary Conference is perhaps unique from conferences past in that we actively encourage the submission of conceptual review papers and sessions that, in addition to adding novel insights, also highlight the aggregate wisdom in the relevant domain. We believe it is time to take stock of what we know, to organize, synthesize, and re-evaluate. We also actively encourage novel empirical and theoretical papers that embody the spirit of Becoming Wise. To us, this means that researchers do not have to have all the answers or hypothesize a straightforward solution to what is undoubtedly a complex phenomenon. Rather, there is wisdom, and thus truth and justice, in discovering a meaningful, but incomplete piece of a complex problem and acknowledging it as so. There arise truths from studying under-heard segments of the population (e.g., the poor, children, immigrants, migrants) and justice in helping these consumers’ voices to be heard and understood. Thus, in addition to the high quality topic-oriented submissions we have come to expect, we welcome submissions that speak specifically to the art of Becoming Wise. These topics include, but are not limited to:

Understanding Wisdom: What makes theories withstand the test of time?
  • Conceptual papers that review key theoretical developments and propose extensions can help us not only document our collective wisdom, but may also help us understand how to build theories. 
  • Wisdom needs to be transmitted from communicator to listener, or author to reader. Storytelling is one way to accomplish this. We welcome submissions on the use of story, story consumption, and the art of storytelling in consumer research.
  • Wisdom is also transmitted from generation to generation orally. We encourage film submissions that capture the oral history tradition of subcultures and under-represented populations.
Expanding Wisdom: Using well-established theories to solve new problems. We include some examples below: 
  • How does decision-making of under-heard of or under-represented segments vary from the consumer segments that we typically study?
  • How do consumers who have limited resources (e.g., time, money, food) make decisions?
  • How do theories of adoption apply to new technology products?
Creating new wisdom: New theories that are likely to withstand the test of time.
  • How do consumers make decisions in the age of new technology? For example, how do consumers process information generated from AI (artificial intelligence) devices?
  • Consumers now spend inordinate amounts of time on social media. How might this trend influence the sources of information they rely on to make decisions, and more fundamentally, how they think about themselves and the world around them?
  • Consumers are also exposed to 24-hour news cycles. This may make certain identities (e.g., political beliefs) more salient. How do these belief systems affect decision-making? 
  • What are some of the heuristics and biases that consumers use in this age of information overload?
See you on the Flip Side,

Rajesh Bagchi, Lauren Block & Leonard Lee