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

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.

The Truth About Cremation

By Susan K Perry Ph.D. on July 02, 2015 in Creating in Flow
You know we all have to die, right? If you're willing to learn what happens afterward, whether in traditional burials or the more sensible cremation industry, you will enjoy this memoir of a quirky writer who worked for several years in the American funeral industry.

3 Reasons Not to Spend Your Money on Things

By Amie M. Gordon PhD on June 30, 2015 in Between You and Me
The other weekend I went to the mall in search of new running shoes. When I arrived, the parking lot was so full that I had to circle around before I found a spot. The stores were equally crowded inside. Apparently none of these shoppers had read Leaf Van Boven's 2005 review article highlighting the benefits of spending money on experiences over material goods.

Evolutionary Marketing

By Jesse Marczyk on June 27, 2015 in Pop Psych
There are plenty of thought in psychology about misplaced arousal or the general affects of arousal on thought. Unfortunately, plenty of that is incorrect thinking...

Feeling Bad? Here's What You Shouldn't Do.

Overcompensating for failure could be your downfall.

Marketing Forces

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on June 23, 2015 in In Excess
It doesn’t take a psychologist to tell you that the psychology behind ‘comping’ is to get the gambler to spend more money. Comping is a legitimate psychological marketing strategy used as an incentive to either get individuals to gamble in the first place, or an incentive used to prolong gambling. This blog looks a little deeper into the psychology of comping in casinos.

Stories of Seclusion: Diary of a Laid-Off Man

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on June 21, 2015 in How To Do Life
Occasionally, getting away to write can heal and be your best self-marketing.

"So You're Going Crazy" by Hilary Dean

Psychosis is a deeply powerful and commanding experience...that type of power demands an even greater belief in human resiliency, the company of supportive others, good treatment, daily dedication to making a life, and the tincture of time.

9 Scientific Strategies for Healthy Weight Without Dieting

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on June 20, 2015 in Living Single
The best way to achieve your "leanest livable weight" is to forsake dieting, give up on summoning that elusive willpower, and use the findings from social science to change your environments and your ways of thinking about food. The strategies are based on research, not some bogus fad.

Buyer Beware Part 6

By Maggie Scarf on June 19, 2015 in The Remarriage Blueprint
We has entered the wing of a retirement home that was designated for "Healthy Seniors," and found that we were in a world full of bizarre surprises - all of them decidedly unpleasant. Bad food, medical care and fellow residents who were anything but healthy.

My Dad's Silly, Simple, Crazy Way to Make Decisions

My mom's death forced my dad to make one of the biggest decisions he had made in a long time. His approach to the decision turned out to be genius. And all this time, I thought I was the one who knew how to make decisions. Man, was I wrong.

Are You the Real Thing?

Coca Cola's brilliant "Share-a-Coke" advertising campaign has resurrected the flagging giant and refueled the debate over the toxic adverse health effects of soda and the vulnerability of the consuming public.

Sex Pills for Women: Teasing the Hype From Hope

Talk about the new sex pill harkens back to century-old health debates.

Body Alterations and Enhancements: Positive or Negative

Media drives the cultural bus regarding body size and shape. Ways to alter and enhance our bodies are available through cosmetics and cosmetic surgery. Being tied to cultural dictates is not a statement of low self-worth; or is it?

The Psychology of Web Browsing

Understanding the human need for control offers a powerful tool for enhancing customer experience. I recently helped one of the world’s largest and most influential news organizations analyze their website. They were trying to push video content by having it load automatically on their homepage.The extensive efforts to push the content created the opposite reaction..

Are We Becoming Too Materialistic For Marriage and Children?

By Vinita Mehta Ph.D., Ed.M. on June 11, 2015 in Head Games
A new study has found that the more we love things, the less we want to marry and have kids.

Buyer Beware, Part 5

By Maggie Scarf on June 10, 2015 in The Remarriage Blueprint
We were healthy adults when we entered a retirement home, which had promised us "continuing care" as we aged. But what we found was medical care that was virtually non-existent.