What Is Consumer Behavior?

Consumer behavior is a hotbed of psychological research as it ties together issues of communication (advertising and marketing), identity (you are what you buy), social status, decision-making, and mental and physical health. Corporations use findings about consumer behavior to determine how best to market products; you can put the information to use in deciding what, when, and why to buy.

Recent Posts on Consumer Behavior

The Marketing of an Antipsychotic

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on October 05, 2015 Side Effects
Ghostwriters, massaged data, tiny print, and children’s toys—all part of Big Pharma's arsenal of "defeat devices," outlined in Steven Brill's book, America's Most Admired Lawbreaker.

A 30 Year Old With a Career Dream She Hasn't Acted on

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on October 05, 2015 How To Do Life
A transcript of a part of my session with a client.

New Peeple App Is Bad for People

The new Peeple app lets you rate everyone from your friends, neighbors and co-workers to ex-romantic partners just like you rate businesses on Yelp. I like technology, but Peeple is a bad idea and is not going to work out well. Here's why.

The 30-Day Money C-H-O-I-C-E Challenge

By Michael F. Kay on October 01, 2015 Financial Life Focus
Ever looked at your stack of bills and wonder how the heck you're going to get these paid? How did that feel? Rotten, right? Of course it did. No wants to live with the weight of debt—to carry that hopeless frustration deep into their bones.

A Workover: A New College Grad Wants a Career in Advertising

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on September 30, 2015 How To Do Life
My exchange with a caller to my NPR-San Francisco radio program.

4 Smart Ways to Save $10 on Your Next Grocery Shopping Trip

Use research from consumer psychology and marketing science to outwit grocery marketers & save money.

Predicting Mobile Trends

Tech and media design is a chess game. Every decision has consequences. Predicting mobile behaviors is not about the tools. It’s about how well the technology satisfies human goals and needs. This is the heart of media psychology.

Why Are There So Many Mattress Stores in America?

The answer for the mushrooming of mattress stores lies in a combination of retail economics and the psychology of consumer decision making.

3 Ways Money Can Buy Happiness

Anyone has the power to use money to boost happiness - yet it's got nothing to do with how much money you have to spend.

You Are Not Your Body

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on September 21, 2015 Ambigamy
If the history of the universe were shrunk to one year, life would have started today, September 21. Here's what happened and how to make sense of what you are as a result.

3 Ways In Which Saving Money Can Help You Lose Weight

Most of us are good at controlling our actions in one domain but fail in others. In this article, I will explain reasons why self-restraint success is domain-specific for many of us and suggest three ways in which we can transfer our success in one area to other areas.

Who Invented Your Phone?

Gossipers and journalists alike greeted rumors then announcements this month about the latest variations-on-a-theme from Apple telephony with breathless excitement. A new weight was required when pressing on part of the phone! Astonishing! Hold the presses! Why are we so fascinated by these tiny 'improvements?' And who makes these changes?

Simple Techniques to Become a better Negotiator

The sad truth is most people will lie to cover known faults in items they are selling.

Men in Red

By Rebecca Coffey on September 11, 2015 The Bejeezus Out of Me
Men, listen up. You know those red power ties you wore a few years ago? They’re probably still at the back of your closet. They may work for you on Tinder ... only not in the way you expected.

Why We’re Obsessed With Pumpkin Spice Everything

By Jordan Gaines Lewis on September 11, 2015 Brain Babble
Why do we get so obsessed with pumpkin spice everything this time of year? Here's the psychology behind the craze.

The Role of Emotions in Our Purchase Decisions

Advertising is above all a way to groom the emotional state, to nudge consumers towards a buy.

Financial Security for the Light Sleeper

By Michael F. Kay on September 10, 2015 Financial Life Focus
Have you ever had trouble falling asleep, worried about what would happen if you—fill-in-the-blank with your nightmare—lost your job, tanked your business, got sick and needed expensive treatment?

How to Negotiate with a Liar

We all negotiate. But how can we negotiate effectively if we don't know whether the other side is lying? We can't control their behavior, but we can control our own - which includes developing skills to guard against deceptive tactics.

What Shoppers Should Know About Reference Prices

Shoppers use prices they know or encounter to judge if a product is cheap or expensive. In this article, I will explain how such reference prices affect shoppers' decisions, and can trick them into making purchases. I will also suggest some ways in which shoppers can protect themselves from the effects of reference prices.

The Psychological Trick That Will Help You Pay Off Debt Fast

Are you frustrated by debt? Understanding this psychological trick could be the key to becoming debt-free.

My Summary Of A Great Conference: “PREVENTING OVERDIAGNOSIS”

By Allen J Frances M.D. on September 06, 2015 Saving Normal
Medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the US- and are often occasioned by excessive testing and treatment delivered in an uncoordinated way by doctors who know lab tests, but don't know their patients. Patients have to become informed consumers, fearing illness less and the risks of treatment more.

Why Millennials Are so Stressed—and What to Do about It

By Caroline Beaton on September 05, 2015 The Gen-Y Guide
If you're in a quarter-life crisis, this could be why.

Psychology Uncovers Racism at the Movies

New research finds racial bias against movies with black leading actors and white supporting roles is rife amongst mainstream newspaper critics - resulting in an average revenue loss for these films of up to $2.57 million, per movie

Lessons From Kenyan Consumers About Technology & Marketing

Kenya is the global leader in mobile financial services innovation. I describe the lessons from M-Pesa's success story for technology marketers and consumers.

DON’T Buy Erection Drugs on the Internet

By Michael Castleman M.A. on September 01, 2015 All About Sex
A recent study finds that 77 percent of Internet “Viagra” is fake.

The Culture of Precaution

Would you rather definitely lose ten dollars or a one percent chance of losing 1000 dollars? Perhaps not surprisingly, people would much prefer to lose the 10 dollars, than run a small risk of a large loss. Why?

Will Americans Eat Fewer Subway Sandwiches Because of Jared?

Jared Fogle embodies the Subway brand so his reprehensible actions spell potential doom. However, I argue that any adverse effects to Subway will be temporary, and offer four explanations for such an outcome.

Does Your Psyche Embrace Flourishing?

“A shared story is the basis of the ability of any people to live together as an organized society.” Cultural stories or narratives shape attitudes and behaviors, influencing everyday psychological functioning. David Korten says that we have our story wrong, one that heads us toward self-destruction. There is an alternative, life-promoting story...

This Is Your Brain On College Football

By Billi Gordon Ph.D. on August 21, 2015 Obesely Speaking
Beyond Social Tribalism, BIRGing, CORFing, and Tailgating - the brain needs its football.

Do Shoppers Benefit From Buying With Subscriptions?

Most products and services can now be purchased with subscriptions. In this article, I will explain two types of subscriptions and the pros and cons of subscription-based buying. For most shoppers, the potential downsides of subscriptions far outweigh the benefits.