Dr Lis Ku

Job: VC2020 Lecturer in Psychology

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Applied Social Sciences

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116-250-6337

E: lis.ku@dmu.ac.uk


Personal profile

Dr Lis Ku is a Lecturer in Psychology at De Montfort University. She completed her MSc in Applied Social Psychology, and her PhD in Psychology, at the University of Sussex. She then worked in Hong Kong, and later in Macao, before returning to the UK and joining DMU in 2016. 

Lis’s main research interest is to explore the influences of socially grounded values and motivational forces on behaviours that have significant bearings on the well-being of the individuals who carry them out, as well as on the societies that they occur in. Using both laboratory and field methods, Lis’s works can be broadly grouped under three main themes:

  • 1)  Effects of materialistic values on children’s and adolescents’ learning motivation and academic performance;
  • 2)  The relationships among life values, subjective well-being, and behaviours of addictive nature; and
  • 3)  The influence of intrinsic versus extrinsic values on pro-social and anti-social behaviours. 

Key research outputs

  • Ku, L., Wu, A. M. S., Lao, A. K. P., & Lam, K. I. N. (in press). “We want the world and we want it now”: Materialism, time perspectives, and problem spending tendency of Chinese, International Journal of Psychology.
  • Ku, L. (2015). Development of materialism in adolescence: The longitudinal role of subjective well-being among Chinese youths, Social Indicators Research, 124, 231-247. doi: 10.1007/s11205-014-0787-4
  • Ku, L., Dittmar, H., & Banerjee, R. (2014). To have or to learn? The effects of materialism on British and Chinese children’s learning, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105, 803-821. doi: 10.1037/a0036038
  • Ku, L., & Zaroff, C. M. (2014). How far is your money from your mouth? The effects of intrinsic relative to extrinsic values on willingness to pay and protect the environment, Journal of Environmental Psychology, 40, 472-483. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2014.10.008
  • Ku, L., Dittmar, H., & Banerjee, R. (2012). Are materialistic teenagers less motivated to learn? Cross-sectional and longitudinal evidence from UK and Hong Kong, Journal of Educational Psychology, 104, 74-86. doi: 10.1037/a0025489

Research interests/expertise

  • Intrinsic and extrinsic life values and goals
  • Materialistic values orientation
  • Pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours
  • Learning motivation and academic performance
  • Work motivation and work performance
  • Helping behaviours
  • Unethical behaviours such as lying, cheating and stealing

Areas of teaching

  • Social Psychology (Module Leader)
  • Conceptual Issues and Critical Debates in Psychology
  • Research Methods


  • PhD in Psychology, University of Sussex, UK
  • MSc in Applied Social Psychology, University of Sussex, UK

Conference attendance

  • Ku, L. (2013). Less money and more work makes students happy: The longitudinal effects of materialism and academic performance on Chinese students’ well-being. Refereed paper presented at the 3rd Asian Conference on Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, March 2013, Osaka, Japan.
  • Ku, L. (2012). Putting your money where your mouth is: The effects of intrinsic versus extrinsic life values on pro-environmental behaviour. Refereed paper presented at the 30th International Congress of Psychology, uly 2012, Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Ku, L., Banerjee, R., & Dittmar, H. (2010). Children’s materialism undermines intrinsic learning and school performance. Referred paper presented at the 22nd Annual Convention of Association for Psychological Science, July 2010, Boston, US.
  • Ku, L. (2009). Relationships between materialism and learning among children in the UK ad Hong Kong. Refereed paper presented at the 16th International Conference on Learning, July 2009, Barcelona, Spain.
  • Ku, L. (2007). Link between materialism and learning goal adoption in children and adolescents. Refereed paper presented at the 7th Conference of Asian Association of Social Psychology, August 2007, Sabha, Malaysia.
  • Ku, L., Dittmar, H., & Banerjee, R. (2007). “Money is not everything, but  it helps!” A qualitative study on children’s views on money and material possessions. Refereed paper presented at the 54th British Psychological Society Social Psychology Section Conference, September 2007, Kent, UK.