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Associate Professor of Marketing, University of Colorado Boulder

Philip Fernbach is a professor of marketing in the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is a cognitive scientist who studies how people think, and applies insights from his research to improve public discourse and help consumers and managers make better decisions. He is co-director of the Center for Research on Consumer Financial Decision Making, an affiliate of the Institute of Cognitive Science, and the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility, and an external advisory board member for McKinsey & Company. He teaches data analytics and behavioral science to undergraduate and Masters students.

He is co-author with Steve Sloman of the 2017 book, The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone, which was chosen as an Editor’s Pick by the New York Times. The book explores why we think we know so much more than we do, and the profound implications for individuals and society. He has written popular press articles for outlets such as the New York Times, Quartz, MarketWatch, and Harvard Business Review, and regularly gives public talks about his research.

He received his Ph.D. in cognitive science from the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences at Brown University in 2010. Prior to pursuing his Ph.D. he worked with consumer goods companies as a strategy consultant for two boutique firms in Boston. Before that, he did his undergraduate studies at Williams College in the mountains of Western Massachusetts where he studied philosophy.

When he is not busy with research he spends most of his time playing with his son and daughter, flatpicking his Martin HD28 at local bluegrass jams and playing ice hockey.


  • –present
    Associate Professor of Marketing, University of Colorado Boulder