Ryan Gaffney

Ryan Gaffney

Lab Manager, Insights Lab
Adjunct Professor of Management

Research Interests/Areas of Expertise

Uncertainty, Inference, knowledge, information processing




Before embarking on his journey in academia, Ryan dedicated a significant part of his career to consulting for various non-profits and charitable organizations in the Cincinnati area. His expertise was frequently sought in areas such as market research, consumer insights, and website design and development. In these roles, Ryan applied his extensive knowledge to help these organizations better understand and engage with their target audiences, leading to more effective communication strategies and enhanced online presence. His work in market research involved in-depth analysis of consumer behavior and trends, which enabled these organizations to tailor their services and outreach programs more effectively. In website design and development, Ryan combined his technical skills with a keen understanding of user experience, creating websites that were not only visually appealing but also highly functional and user-friendly. This holistic approach to consulting has had a lasting impact on the organizations he worked with, often resulting in increased public engagement, improved fundraising efforts, and a stronger online footprint. Ryan's commitment to leveraging his skills for social good has been a defining feature of his professional journey, laying a solid foundation for his subsequent academic endeavors.


Despite prevailing research indicating that consumers' perceptions of uncertainty vary widely, there has been a notable gap in studies treating uncertainty as both a dynamic and a dual construct. Ryan's research program addresses this gap by demonstrating that understanding these two distinct variants of uncertainty is crucial in accurately predicting and influencing human behavior. Ryan's research has significant implications for marketers and policymakers. By recognizing and responding to these two types of uncertainty, strategies can be tailored more effectively to address consumer needs and concerns.

Furthermore, Ryan's work extends beyond theoretical contributions; it offers practical tools and frameworks for businesses and organizations to better understand their customers. This has led to more nuanced marketing strategies, improved customer engagement, and ultimately, more effective and consumer-centric business practices. His research not only fills a critical gap in consumer behavior literature but also serves as a guiding light for practical, real-world applications in marketing and consumer relations.


Ryan's research in the areas of uncertainty and inference has been recognized in both Marketing and Psychology fields. He has had the opportunity to present his findings at various respected conferences, including those organized by the Association for Consumer Research (ACR), the American Psychological Society (APS), and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) and has presented his work through a TEDx talk. His work has been published in several academic journals, such as the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (PSPB), Journal of Decision Making (JDM), Journal of Behavioral Decision Making (JBDM), and the Journal of International Consumer Marketing (JICM), among others.

In addition to journal articles, Ryan has authored chapters on Consumer Inference in notable publications like the APA Handbook for Consumer Psychology and the Handbook of Social Psychology and Consumer Behaviour. His aim through this work is to provide valuable perspectives that enrich both academic understanding and practical application in the realm of consumer research.


The journey from marketing theory to its application in the corporate world is often a lengthy one. Marketing scholars dedicate years to developing robust, rigorously tested theories. In this endeavor, we as Owen professors are presented with a unique opportunity to bridge this theory-practice gap. Ryan is deeply committed to this cause, focusing on immersing students in the most current and impactful marketing science. He believes that this immersion not only accelerates the application of theoretical knowledge in real-world settings but also positions students to excel and stand out in their field through the adept application of these theories. Ryan's overarching goal is to cultivate not just skilled marketers but true pioneers in the field of marketing. He strives to equip students with an understanding and practical application of marketing principles, enabling them to navigate and influence the industry.

Ryan teaches MGT 6570: Experiential Learning for the Masters in Marketing Program. Previously, Ryan has taught Consumer Behavior, Market Research and Introduction to Marketing.

On A Personal Note...

Ryan is a thrill-seeker! He enjoys snowboarding, hiking, and skydiving.

Research Interests

Ryan’s expertise lies within uncertainty and consumer inference. His research primarily explores the intricate ways in which attributions of uncertainty affect behavior and consumption patterns, focusing on aspects such as valence and the various forms of uncertainty. Recognizing the scarcity of research in this area, his dissertation and ongoing studies aim to shed light on consumer behavior under various types of uncertainty. His work is anchored in the field of judgment and decision-making and frequently intersects with domains such as artificial intelligence, branding, misinformation, bias, and public policy. Through his research, Ryan seeks to contribute to a deeper understanding of the psychological underpinnings of consumer choices and decision-making.


Ph.D., University of Cincinnati, 2021

M.Sc., University of Cincinnati, 2017

B.B.A., University of Cincinnati, 2016