People at ILR

Vanessa Bohns
people / faculty

Vanessa Bohns

Associate Professor
Department of Organizational Behavior
Organizational Behavior


Professor Bohns received her PhD in Social Psychology from Columbia University and her AB in Psychology from Brown University. Prior to joining Cornell, she taught at the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo in Canada. Her research focuses broadly on social influence and the psychology of compliance and consent. In particular, she examines the extent to which people recognize the influence they have over others in various interpersonal interactions, including when asking for help, suggesting that someone engage in unethical behavior, and making romantic advances. Some of her additional research interests include prosocial behavior, perspective-taking, and self-conscious emotions. Her research has been published in top academic journals in psychology (Psychological Science, Current Directions in Psychological Science), social psychology (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology), management (Organization Science, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes), and law (Yale Law Journal) and has been covered by media outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and NPR. Her popular press and business writing has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The Hill, The Chicago Tribune, Business Insider, Salon, and Harvard Business Review. She is an associate editor at the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, was previously editor of the social influence section of Social and Personality Psychology Compass, and sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Social Cognition. Professor Bohns teaches Introduction to Organizational Behavior (ILROB 1220), Morality at Work (ILROB 4760), and Negotiations (ILROB 5790).


Journal Articles

Book Chapters

  • Vanessa K. Bohns, F.J. Flynn. 2015. Empathy gaps between helpers and help-seekers: Implications for cooperation. in Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Hoboken, New Jersey, United States: Wiley, 2015. Robert A. Scott, Stephen M. Kosslyn.
  • G. Leonardelli, Vanessa K. Bohns, J. Gu. 2015. Security seeking in a regulatory focus whodunit: The case of the relative orientation in behavioral economics. in The Handbook of Personal Security. New York, United States: Taylor & Francis, 2015. P.J. Carroll, R.M. Arkin, A. Wichman.
  • F.J. Flynn, Vanessa K. Bohns. 2012. Underestimating one’s influence in help-seeking. in Six Degrees of Social Influence: Science, application, and the psychology of Robert Cialdini. New York, New York, United States: Oxford University Press, 2012. D.T. Kenrick, N. Goldstein, S.L. Braver. (14-26)

Professional Activities

  • Don’t press send: Senders underestimate receivers’ felt compliance to respond to non-urgent off-hours work emails. Presented to Academy of Management. Vancouver, BC. 2020.
  • Underestimating the positive impact of our compliments on others. Presented to Academy of Management. Vancouver, BC. 2020.
  • Underestimating the value of face-to-face influence. Presented to Association for Psychological Science. Chicago, IL. 2020.
  • Acquiescing to romantic advances at work : It’s harder to say “no” than suitors realize. Presented to Academy of Management. Boston, MA. 2019.
  • The farce of consent: Psychological factors that challenge the notion of voluntary consent (chaired symposium) *Selected as an OB Showcase Symposium. Presented to Academy of Management . Boston, MA. 2019.
  • Underestimating the difficulty of denying someone access to sensitive data. Presented to Academy of Management. Boston, MA. 2019.
  • When do we feel responsible for other people’s behavior and attitudes?. Presented to Academy of Management. Chicago, IL. 2018.
  • The voluntariness of voluntary consent: Consent searches and the psychology of compliance. Presented to American Law and Economics Association Annual Meeting. Boston, MA. 2018.
  • Judging consent for self, other, and the reasonable person: Behavioral and psychological responses to digital privacy violations. Presented to Society for Judgment and Decision Making. Vancouver, BC. 2017.
  • Judging the voluntariness of consent: A psychological critique of the Fourth Amendment standard. Presented to Conference on Empirical Legal Studies. Ithaca, NY. 2017.
  • Empathy gaps in social influence: Underestimating the awkwardness of saying “no”. Presented to Association for Psychological Science Annual Conference. Boston, MA. 2017.
  • The value of a helping hand: Do help-seekers accurately predict help quality?. Presented to Academy of Management. Anaheim, CA. 2016.
  • For a dollar, would you..? How (we think) money influences compliance with our requests. Presented to Academy of Management. Vancouver, BC. 2015.
  • I can't believe you agreed to that! Underestimating our influence over others’ unethical behavior. Presented to Academy of Management. Philadelphia, PA. 2014.
  • The “Asking Tax”: Different expectations for requested versus volunteered favors and concessions. Presented to Academy of Management. Philadelphia, PA. 2014.
  • Under- and over-estimating our influence over others at work (chaired symposium). Presented to Academy of Management. Philadelphia, PA. 2014.
  • Guilt by design: Structuring organizations to promote guilt as an affective reaction to failure. Presented to Academy of Management. Boston, MA. 2012.
  • Embodied power and complementarity in interpersonal interactions. Presented to Society for Personality and Social Psychology. San Diego, CA. 2012.

Honors and Awards

  • Elected Fellow (2019), Society for Personality and Social Psychology.
  • Provost Research Innovation Award in Social Sciences (2018), Cornell University.
  • Nominee, McIntyre Award for Exemplary Undergraduate Teaching (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019), Cornell University, ILR School .
  • Elected Fellow (2013), Society of Experimental Social Psychology.