Associate Professor

Koelbel 484


Peter McGraw is an innovative researcher who has a talent for fostering community. During his academic career, he has received dozens of awards, grants and honors. He has published more than 40 papers in outlets such as the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, Management Science, Psychological Science, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. His work has been covered by the BBC, NPR, MSNBC, Scientific American, Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. Recently, McGraw made the 2015 Stylish Scientist List – probably because he likes to wear a sweater vest.

Dr. McGraw’s research examines the interrelationship of judgment, emotion, and choice, with a focus on consumer behavior and public policy. His most recent research examines what makes things funny – and its implications for marketing and management.

In 2014, McGraw published The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny.


A full list of publications is available at Professor McGraw's website.


  • Ph.D., Quantitative Psychology (Judgment and Decision Making)
    The Ohio State University
  • M.A., Quantitative Psychology (Judgment and Decision Making)
    The Ohio State University
  • M.Ed, Educational Psychology (Learning & Cognition)
    Rutgers University
  • B.A., Psychology and Exercise Science
    Rutgers University


Ever wonder why people laugh at inappropriate comments, what makes an heirloom invaluable, or how an Olympic athlete might be unhappy to win a medal? These are just a few of the questions that McGraw’s research aims to answer.

McGraw directs the Humor Research Laboratory (HuRL), which is dedicated to the scientific study of humor and its antecedents and consequences.

Research Interests

  • Consumer Psychology
  • Behavioral Economics
  • Emotion
  • Humor
  • Entertainment


McGraw’s teaching is primarily focused on the core Marketing Management course for MBA students. He also regular teaches a doctoral seminar on judgment and decision making. Whenever possible, he draws on new research in consumer psychology to inform his classes about emerging evidence in the field. He also takes a unique approach to his teaching by focusing not only on the firm’s marketing strategies but also on consumer education – so that students (consumers themselves) can be more effective in the marketplace.

Teaching Interests

  • Marketing Management
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Advertising and Promotion Management


  • Colorado Business Social Media Leader; Denver Business Journal (2014)
  • Sterling-Rice Research Award (2010, 2011, 2013)
  • Marketing Science Institute Grant (2010, 2011, 2012)
  • Professor of the Game, CU Men's Basketball (2010)
  • Big XII Faculty Fellowship (2006, 2010)
  • Best Paper, Society for Consumer Psychology Winter Conference (2009)
  • Guiney Research and Teaching Award, Leeds School of Business (2008)
  • Transformative Consumer Research Grant (2008)
  • Marketing Science Institute Young Scholar (2007)