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Flashcards in Consumer Psyc 1 Deck (12)
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What is consumer psychology?

“the study of human responses to
product and service related information
and experiences”


product and service related information

marketer initiated stimuli (e.g.,
advertisements, package labels, point-ofpurchase
displays), consumer magazines and
other media, word-of-mouth communications
from friends and relatives.


human responses

could be cognitive, emotional,


What are the goals of consumer

— To learn about what makes consumers
◦ describe, predict, influence, and/or explain
consumer responses
— But also social marketing, e.g.,
◦ how consumption affects the environment
◦ the impact of consumption on children


Why study consumer psychology?

— To improve business performance
— To influence public policy
— To educate and help consumers make
better decisions


What topics do consumer
psychologists study?

— Memory and learning
— Perception and attention
— Motivation and emotions
— Information processing
— Attitude formation and change
— Decision making
— Interpersonal, group, and cultural
— Personality, self and identity, values


How do consumer psychologists
study these questions?

Employ theoretical approaches from:
◦ within psychology: social, cognitive,
developmental, perception, etc.
◦ outside psychology: marketing, economics,
communication, sociology, anthropology, etc.
— Use a variety of research methods:
◦ qualitative (e.g., interviews, focus groups,
◦ quantitative (e.g., lab and field experiments,


What do consumer psychologists
do? Some examples:

In the lab: Track eye movements as research participants view
a series of soft drink cans
— At the Department of Health: Examine how consumers
respond to a quit smoking campaign
— At a tech company: Assess consumer responses to various
combinations of product features to help developers
determine the optimal combination
— At a uni: Develop a theoretical model of financial decisions
made by families
— At an ad agency: Analyse how well alternative advertisements
improve attitudes toward a brand of coffee


What skills are helpful if I want to
become a consumer psychologist?

an understanding of the scientific process,
hypothesis testing, experimental and nonexperimental
— the ability to translate complex issues into
testable questions
— the ability to apply descriptive and inferential
— the ability to analyse data and interpret
— the ability to write proposals and reports in
a clear and precise manner


How do I become a consumer

Education: The title “psychologist” requires
registration (typically 4 + 2 years of study)
— However:
◦ Lots of people working in consumer psychology are not
registered psychologists
◦ Lots of people working in consumer psychology aren’t
called “consumer psychologists”
— Employment: market research, strategic planner in
advertising, start own consultancy


History of consumer psychology

the field of consumer
psychology grew in parallel with the
consumer society
◦ The Industrial Revolution (1800s) ->
significant increase in consumption
◦ Scientists became more interested in
understanding consumers


Dichter’s motives for consumption

1946-72: Ernest Dichter founds the Institute for
Motivational Research
◦ introduces Freudian concepts to the US advertising
industry (later made famous by Packard’s The Hidden
◦ pioneered the focus group technique

— Power: large breakfasts, fast cars, power tools
— Masculinity/virility: coffee, red meat, heavy shoes
— Status: Scotch, carpets
— Femininity: cakes and biscuits, tea, silk
— Moral purity/cleanliness: cotton fabrics, harsh
household cleaning chemicals, bathing
— Magic/mystery: soups, paints, carbonated drinks

see slides for more on history