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 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.

Psychology for Flourishing

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on August 23, 2015 in Moral Landscapes
“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 in 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.

Oreo Thins Paradox – Why People Pay More For Less

The new Oreo Thins is out. And it is priced at 42% premium compared to regular Oreo cookies. Why are consumers often willing to pay more for less?

When Solidarity Guides Consumption

What happens when informed consumers begin to care as much about the people who make their gadgets as they do about price and performance? Find out why the big brands like Apple don't want you to know. Solidarity is going to get them!

World Elephant Day

By Sandy Olliges M.A. on August 14, 2015 in EcoMind
Elephants are important in nature and as spiritual symbols. Elephants are magnificent mammals that live in social groups and care for their young. They are smart and have feelings. Being a keystone species, elephants create and maintain an ecosystem for themselves and for many other plants and animals.

What Shoppers Should Know About Charm Prices

Charm prices (prices that end with the digit 9) are used by retailers because they encourage purchases. In this article, I will explain why charm pricing works and discuss four ways in which shoppers can minimize the effects of charm prices on their buying behavior.

Get Into Your Money Groove

By Michael F. Kay on August 12, 2015 in Financial Life Focus
We each have something that is uniquely our thing. It might be hitting a golf ball, working in a laboratory, counseling people, building furniture or flower arranging.

Tired of Living (with) a Lie??

By Bruce Merchant M.D. on August 11, 2015 in Health Perspectives
What is the most common lie in America today? So common that it's repeated roughly a Billion times a month.

Extreme Shoe Selfies: Image Becomes Experience

The helicopter company FlyNYON is allowing its customers to snap ‘shoe selfies’ from an open helicopter door, capturing images of their feet dangling over dramatic cityscapes. Thanks to our brains, the impact is has both visceral and cognitive impact and gives new meaning to the old proverb of ‘walk a mile in another man’s shoes.’

Why Are the Candy Crushes of the World Dominating Our Lives?

What happens when an organic form of existence, after evolving for millions of years, meets the last word in planned and designed addictiveness? Darwin goes searching for the gas pedal in this evolutionary phenomenon of his.

Medical Professionalism Vs Commercialism

The physicians' guild may have been paternalistic and self-serving, but it also stood for high quality medical care. Will patient care suffer as commercialism and populism take its place?

Coupon Crazy Shoppers and the Myth of Saving Money

When shopping, over a hundred million Americans use coupons regularly to save money. But do they really save? The answer is a resounding "no". I discuss four reasons why not using coupons may be the easiest and quickest way to get more value out of your shopping dollars and save time and money.

The Cult of Barre

By Goal Auzeen Saedi Ph.D. on August 04, 2015 in Millennial Media
The fusion of yoga, pilates, and ballet in one sounds may sound enticing...but the reality can be less than desirable.

Taking Egoism Out of Consumerism

In a two part series, we invite readers to find the egoism in their consumerism and push it aside to make room for solidarity and a new kind of consumer society rooted in sustainability--of healthy conditions in the world's workplaces, fun spaces, and ecosystems. In this column we look at how inward-looking consumerism offers no way out of our stress filled digital lives.

Henry David Thoreau: “Simplify, Simplify”

We’re probably not going to do what Henry David Thoreau did and live at a lake to make our lives simple. But we could move in that direction.

The Winner's Curse

By Daniel Read Ph.D. on July 29, 2015 in The Choices We Make
Why are our best estimates of value can be wrong when they lead to a successful purchase (or sale).

The Problem With Wanting

Wanting make us unhappy. The more desires we have, the less satisfied we are with what already have. How can we stop wanting things we don't really need?

The Psychology Of Live Online Casino Gambling

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on July 28, 2015 in In Excess
One of the main reasons I don’t like gambling at Internet casinos is that I believe the majority of game outcome are likely to be pre-programmed and/or predetermined. To me, this is somewhat akin to playing with imaginary dice! But what do we know psychologically about what factors promote and inhibit gambling online?

Does Sex and Violence Really Sell Products?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on July 27, 2015 in Media Spotlight
The widespread belief that sex and violence will sell products helps explain why this kind of media programming is so popular. But is this really the case? A new review of fifty years of research studies into the effectiveness of sex and violence in advertisements suggests that advertisers need to rethink the kind of message they send.

Adolescence and the Allure of the Internet

Today's parents must raise children in two worlds, offline and online, and for adolescents freedom on the Internet has a powerful allure.

Seven Reasons Why Your Financial Life Creates Anxiety

By Michael F. Kay on July 23, 2015 in Financial Life Focus
While there are some who breathe the rarified air of having their financial lives totally together, most people struggle. Your degree of struggle might range from small—not being sufficiently organized—to complete and utter meltdown.

What Your Financial Health Says About Your Mental Health

Studies show the likelihood of having a mental health problem is three times higher among people who have debt.

My Experience as an Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) Worker

I spent a week answering psychological surveys on MTurk. The result was a revelation and has changed how I now think about using MTurk as a researcher.

Moral Panic: Who Benefits From Public Fear?

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on July 20, 2015 in Wicked Deeds
Moral panic is a situation in which public fears and state interventions exceed the objective threat posed by an individual or group who is/are claimed to be responsible for creating it. Central to the concept is an argument that public concern or fear over an alleged social problem is mutually beneficial to state officials, politicians, law enforcement and news media.

Hidden Persuaders: The Psychology of Subliminal Perception

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on July 20, 2015 in A Sideways View
The idea of subliminal perception has never gone away. Are advertisers and marketers using clever and possibly illegal or immoral means to change our behaviour

Buyer Beware Part 7

By Maggie Scarf on July 14, 2015 in The Remarriage Blueprint
This is the recounting of how a smart professional couple got fleeced (legally) when departing from a highly regarded - but in reality, sub-standard in every respect - retirement home. It should serve as a warning to adult seniors who are contemplating a move into a retirement home. We did feel as if, like Alice, we had fallen down a rabbit hole. It was hard to get out!

Players and Planners

By Michael F. Kay on July 09, 2015 in Financial Life Focus
Players get a rush from the action—making bets, taking chances, expecting the big score. You find them at the track, in the casinos and playing the stock market.