Tom van Laer

Photo of Tom van Laer

BA, MA Nijmegen; PhD Maastricht
Associate Professor of Narratology

Room 4012
H70 - Abercrombie Building
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

Telephone +61 2 8627 9127
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Tom van Laer is Associate Professor of Narratology at the University of Sydney. The functions, structures, causes and effects of stories are his speciality. His research is published in leading and highly-regarded academic journals, including the Journal of Consumer Research, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Interactive Marketing, Journal of Management Information Systems, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Marketing Management, et cetera. His work has been covered by the ABC, SBS, the Sydney Morning Herald, Newsweek, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, the Independent, Financial Times, and national TV and radio stations in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK, among other news outlets.

Previously, Tom has been Reader of Marketing at Cass Business School, City University of London, UK, a consultant of the European Commission, and a visiting scholar at several Australian Group of Eight universities. He holds a doctorate (PhD) in marketing from Maastricht University, the Netherlands. Though he has won awards for his academic research, teaching, and media exposure, Tom counts winning his high school's story recital competition in 1995 as his most impressive accomplishment.

Research Interests

The intentional placement of educational content in entertainment, the widespread embrace of social media with stories at centre stage, and the rise of hybrid genres, such as interactive television shows and live action role-playing games all indicate that narrative persuasion constitutes a key issue that demands consumer research attention. With these development in mind, Tom has formed and chairs taskforces of academics as part of an integrated, interdisciplinary research program. He leads these teams into developing scores of initiatives for new research on the topic of understanding narrative persuasion. These research initiatives have encouraged hundreds of published research projects from backgrounds as diverse as anthropology, marketing, psychology, communication, consumer, and literary studies.

Selected publications


Journal Articles

Aleti T, Pallant J, Tuan A, and van Laer T (2019) Tweeting with the Stars: Automated Text Analysis of the Effect of Celebrity Social Media Communications on Consumer Word of Mouth Journal of Interactive Marketing, 48, 17-32. [More Information]

Bertele K, Feiereisen S, Storey C, and van Laer T (2019) It's not what you say, it's the way you say it! Effective message styles for promoting innovative new services Journal of Business Research, In Press.

van Laer T, and Izberk-Bilgin E (2019) A discourse analysis of pilgrimage reviews Journal of Marketing Management, 35 (5-6), 586-604. [More Information]

van Laer T, Escalas J, Ludwig S, and van den Hende E (2019) What Happens in Vegas Stays on TripAdvisor? A Theory and Technique to Understand Narrativity in Consumer Reviews Journal of Consumer Research, 46 (2), 267-285. [More Information]

van Laer T, Feiereisen S, and Visconti L (2019) Storytelling in the digital era: A meta-analysis of relevant moderators of the narrative transportation effect Journal of Business Research, 96, 135-146. [More Information]


Journal Articles

Gordon R, Ciorciari J, and van Laer T (2018) Using EEG to examine the role of attention, working memory, emotion, and imagination in narrative transportation European Journal of Marketing, 52 (1/2), 92-117. [More Information]

van Laer T, Visconti L, and Feiereisen S (2018) Need for narrative Journal of Marketing Management, 34 (5-6), 484-496. [More Information]


Journal Article

Farace S, van Laer T, De Ruyter K, and Wetzels M (2017) Assessing the effect of narrative transportation, portrayed action, and photographic style on the likelihood to comment on posted selfies European Journal of Marketing, 51 (11/12), 1961-1979. [More Information]


van Laer T, Ludwig S, and Escalas J (2017) Understanding the Value of Stories in Experiential Reviews: Working Paper.


Journal Articles

Jiang H, and van Laer T (2016) How word of mouth influences the storyteller: Does the effect replicate in China? Advances in Consumer Research, 44, 315-318.

Ludwig S, van Laer T, De Ruyter K, and Friedman M (2016) Untangling a Web of Lies: Exploring Automated Detection of Deception in Computer-Mediated Communication Journal of Management Information Systems, 33 (2), 511-541. [More Information]

Conference Proceedings

Visconti L, and van Laer T (2016) Brand Story-making and Digital Conversations 47th Annual Conference of the Association for Consumer Research (ACR); Association for Consumer Research, USA.

van Laer T, and Escalas J (2016) Narrative Consumption in a Digital World 47th Annual Conference of the Association for Consumer Research (ACR); Association for Consumer Research, USA.


van Laer T, Visconti L, and Feiereisen S (2015) Need for Narrative.


Journal Articles

van Laer T (2014) The Means to Justify the End: Combating Cyber Harassment in Social Media Journal of Business Ethics, 123 (1), 85-98. [More Information]

van Laer T, de Ruyter K, Visconti L, and Wetzels M (2014) The extended transportation-imagery model: A meta-analysis of the antecedents and consequences of consumers' narrative transportation Journal of Consumer Research, 40 (5), 797-817. [More Information]

Book Chapter

de Ruyter K, and van Laer T (2014) It's the social, stupid! Leveraging the 4C markers of social in online service delivery, 413-436. [More Information]


Journal Article

van Laer T, de Ruyter K, and Cox D (2013) A Walk in Customers' Shoes: How Attentional Bias Modification Affects Ownership of Integrity-violating Social Media Posts Journal of Interactive Marketing, 27 (1), 14-27. [More Information]

Conference Proceeding

van Laer T (2013) The Means to Justify the End: How the Way in Which Decisions to Intervene Are Communicated to Users Can Combat Cyber Harassment in Social Media 44th Annual Conference of the Association for Consumer Research (ACR); Association for Consumer Research, USA.


Journal Article

van Laer T, de Ruyter K, and Wetzels M (2012) Effects of narrative transportation on persuasion: A meta-analysis Advances in Consumer Research, 40, 579-581.

Newsroom articles


van Laer, T., Visconti, L.M., & Feiereisen, S. (2018). Need for narrative. Journal of Marketing Management, 34(5-6), 484-496.

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