Dr David Houghton

Dr David Houghton

Department of Marketing
Associate Professor in Marketing
Director of MSc Marketing Programmes

Contact details

Room 155, University House
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

David is an Associate Professor in Marketing at Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham. Currently one of the Programme Directors for the MSc Marketing suite, David has a Ph.D. in Management from the University of Bath, and an undergraduate degree in Psychology. His research centres on the psychology of communication online, with a specific interest in the way that consumers interact with brand content, and how this is utilised by brands for marketing. Combined with an interest in technology, privacy and security, David’s research covers a wide area, but ultimately looks to identify how people interact using modern technological platforms.

For more comprehensive information see David's site.


  • PhD Management, University of Bath
  • BSc (Hons) Psychology, University of Westminster.
  • Postgraduate Certificate of Academic Practice (PCAP).
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


David joined Birmingham Business School as a lecturer in September 2011. He is interested in the development of personal and consumer relationships in online environments, specifically social media, with the aim of promoting best practices for successful relationship development. Identifying the specifics of the dialectic decisions involved in remaining private yet disclosing enough information for relational success, David's research draws on the fields of marketing, psychology, privacy, behavioural control, information systems and communications.


  • Marketing Analytics at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
  • Programme Director MSc Marketing suite.


  • Social Media and Digital Marketing
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Privacy
  • Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Psychology
  • Quantitative and Qualitative research methods

Recent research projects include Exploring Multimodal Metaphor and Metonymy in Advertising (EMMA).


Houghton, D. J., & Hodder, A. J. (2021). Understanding trade union usage of social media: a case study of the Public and Commercial Services union on Facebook and Twitter. New Technology, Work and Employmentxx(x), xx-xx.

Ford, S., Littlemore, J., & Houghton, D. (2021). Got a Spark with Brook? Engaging consumers in a sexual health campaign through the use of creative (metaphorical) double entendres.Metaphor and Symbol, xx(x), xx-xx.

Houghton, D., Pressey, A., & Istanbulluoglu, D. (2020). Who needs social networking? An empirical enquiry into the capability of Facebook to meet human needs and satisfaction with life. Computers in Human Behavior, 104(2020).

Hodder, A., & Houghton, D. J. (2020). Unions, social media and young workers – evidence from the UK. New Technology, Work and Employment.

Marder, B., Houghton, D., Erz, A., Harris, L., & Javornik, A. (2019). Smile(y) – and Your Students Will Smile With You? The Effects of Emoticons on Impressions, Evaluations, and Behaviour in Staff-to-Student Communication. Studies in Higher Education, X(X), xx-xx.

Perez-Sobrino, P., Littlemore, J., & Houghton, D. J. (2018). The role of figurative complexity in the comprehension and appreciation of advertisements. Applied Linguistics, xx(xx), xx-xx.

Leek, S., Houghton, D. J., & Canning, L. (2018). Twitter and Behavioral Engagement in the Healthcare Sector: An examination of product and service companies. Industrial Marketing Management.

Littlemore, J. M., Perez-Sobrino, P., Houghton, D. J., Winter, B., & Shi, J. (2018). What makes a good metaphor? A cross-cultural study of computer-generated metaphor appreciation. Metaphor and Symbol, 33(2), 101-122.

Houghton, D. J., Joinson, A., Caldwell, N., Marder, B., & Collins, E. (2018). Photographic disclosure in Facebook and relational closeness with others. Proceedings of the 51st Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences, 3-6 January, Hawaii.

Marder, B. L., Shankar, A., Houghton, D. J., & Joinson, A. N. (2017). ‘What if my mum sees it?’: Examination of visible brand interaction in the presence of a wider network. Information Technology and People, 30(1).

Leek, S., Canning, L., & Houghton, D. J. (2016). Revisiting the Task Media Fit Model in the era of Web 2.0: Twitter use and interaction in the healthcare sector. Industrial Marketing Management, 54, 25-32.

Marder, B. L., Houghton, D. J., Joinson, A. N., Shankar, A., & Bull, E. (2016). Understanding the psychological process of avoidance-based self-regulation on Facebook. CyberPsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 19(5), 321-327.

Marder, B. L., Slade, E. L., Houghton, D. J., & Archer-Brown, C. (2016). “I like them, but won’t ‘Like’ them”: An examination of impression management associated with visible political party affiliation on Facebook. Computers in Human Behavior, 61, 280-287.

Marder, B. L., Joinson, A. N., Shankar, A., & Houghton, D. J. (2016). The extended ‘chilling’ effect of Facebook: The cold reality of ubiquitous social networking. Computers in Human Behavior, 60, 582-592. **Researchgate most read paper globally, February 2017**

Hodder, A., & Houghton, D. (2015). Union Use of Social Media: A Study of the University and College Union on Twitter, New Technology Work and Employment, 30(3), 173-189.

Vasalou, A., Joinson, A., & Houghton, D. (2015). Privacy as a fuzzy concept: a new conceptualization of privacy for practitioners. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 66(5), 918.

Joinson, A. N., & Houghton, D. J. (2013). Privacy Value Network Analysis. In Hildebrandt, M. et al. (Eds.), Digital Enlightenment Yearbook 2013, IOS Press.

Houghton, D. J., Joinson, A. N., Caldwell, N. D., & Marder, B. L. (2013). Tagger’s Delight? Disclosure and liking in Facebook: The effects of sharing photographs amongst multiple known social circles. Working Paper, Birmingham Discussion Paper Series.

Coiffait, F-M., Bartlett, K., Houghton, D. J., & Condie, J. (2013). Social Media and Clinical Psychology: Friend or Foe? Clinical Psychology Forum, BPS Division of Clinical Psychology.

Houghton, D. J., & Joinson, A. N. (2012). Linguistic markers of secrets and sensitive self-disclosure in Twitter. Proceedings of the 45th Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences, January 4-7 2012, Grand Wailea, Maui, Hawaii.

Joinson, A. N., Houghton, D. J., Vasalou, A., & Marder, B. L. (2011). Digital Crowding: Privacy, Self-Disclosure and Technology. In S. Trepte & L. Reinecke (Eds.), Privacy Online. Perspectives on Privacy and Self-Disclosure in the Social Web (pp. 31-44). Heidelberg and New York: Springer.

Houghton, D. J., & Joinson, A. N. (2010). Privacy, Social Network Sites, and Social Relations. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 28(1), 74-94.

View all publications in research portal


Dr Houghton has expertise in the field of social media and consumption, including the psychology of online behaviour and use of social media for organisations.

David can also comment on the development and application of online technologies, and has particular experience in the privacy/disclosure field and the possible violation of psychological (if not legal) contracts by companies. 

Media experience

David has previously appeared on BBC Breakfast BBC Radio 4, and has given numerous interviews for ABC news and other broadcast networks.