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 consciously deciding what, when, and why to buy.

Recent posts on Consumer Behavior


The Behavioral Side of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance

The tendency to engage in "mental accounting" can help government to target assistance where it is intended.

Why Boys Really Need Boy Dolls

By Karlyn Crowley Ph.D. on February 15, 2017 in Woman Power
Boys deserve healthy masculinity and doll play will help get them there.

Who Was Valentine?

By Neel Burton M.D. on February 13, 2017 in Hide and Seek
The history of Valentine's Day.

Are You a Stretcher or Are You A Chaser?

The answer to this question holds the key to leading a happy and successful life.

52 Ways to Show I Love You: Giving

By Roni Beth Tower Ph.D., ABPP on February 12, 2017 in Life, Refracted
Give time, caring, and attention as well as gifts, experiences, and words.

Why Have Super Bowl Ad Prices Doubled Since 2007?

One big reason is growth of consumer engagement through social media.

Just How Many Amazon MTurk Survey-Takers Are There?

Amazingly, Amazon doesn’t share the number. Other sources give us some idea, and the number is much smaller than we might expect.

Five Ways to Shop Smart and Spend Less On a Must-Have Toy

Here's what an analysis of 34,000+ Hatchimals auctions on eBay tells shoppers to do.

How Donald Trumps Facts With Feelings

By Douglas Van Praet on January 23, 2017 in Unconscious Branding
If you were surprised by the election you shouldn't be. Campaigns are won by feelings not facts.

Sensory Marketing; The Smell of Cinnamon That Made Me Buy

While we like to think that we know why we make the decisions we make, we are in fact controlled by hidden biological forces more than we would like to admit.

Marketing is Evil

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on January 17, 2017 in How To Do Life
Marketers use many psychological ploys to make you buy what you shouldn't.

When's the Best Time to Buy the Year's Must-Have Toy?

An analysis of how much people paid for Hatchimals on eBay during the 2016 holiday season gives helpful clues.

Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness, but Power Might

By Sarah C. Newcomb Ph.D. on January 13, 2017 in Loaded
A sense of personal power, not money itself, may be the key to peace, joy, pride, and satisfaction in our financial lives.

Why It’s Still “Unmanly” to Be Eco-Friendly

By Mark Travers Ph.D. on January 09, 2017 in General Intelligence
Consumer psychologists explore why men aren’t buying into the eco-friendly craze.

How Psychoanalysis and Behaviorism Helped Create Advertising

By Allen J Frances M.D. on January 09, 2017 in Saving Normal
How America became a "shop until you drop" culture.

Time IS Money... But Not Like You Think

By Sarah C. Newcomb Ph.D. on January 09, 2017 in Loaded
How you think about time affects your savings habits.

Doing Well vs. Doing Good

Do consumers gravitate to highly competent, if less moral service providers, or to providers that are highly moral but less competent? Underdog positioning can go a long way.

Financial Rubbernecking

By Michael F. Kay on January 06, 2017 in Financial Life Focus
Few things are more frustrating than being in a traffic jam only to find out that the delay is because other drivers are stopping to look. The same holds true for personal finance.

The Future of Remote Sex

By Michael Castleman M.A. on January 01, 2017 in All About Sex
Introducing teledildonics, Web-enabled sex toys that now make remote sex feel closer than ever to the real thing.

Surveillance and Manipulation in the Internet Age

Everything we do on the Internet leaves digital traces. Find out how one company used this information to influence US politics, even helping Trump win the presidential election.

What Drives Consumer Decisions at the Shelf?

By Mark Travers Ph.D. on December 28, 2016 in General Intelligence
New research suggests less is more when it comes to shelf and display sales.

Behavioral Science Improves Online Advertising

By Diogo Gonçalves on December 27, 2016 in There Are Free Lunches
Consumers are more receptive to certain behavioral tricks.

Sugar by Any Other Name? Low Calorie Sweeteners

By Sylvia R. Karasu M.D. on December 27, 2016 in The Gravity of Weight
Low calorie sweeteners have been around for more than 100 years. Why are they still cause for controversy and concern?

Product Safety Recalls to Cap 2016

In the run-up to Christmas, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced two recalls of faulty high-tech crossbows.

It's No Wonder

Yes, DC Entertainment’s Wonder Woman was named the UN’s ambassador for gender equity.

Why Shoppers Hate Frequent Price Changes

Prices become difficult to judge, & the purchase decision gets more complicated.

Creating Good Money Habits

By Michael F. Kay on December 15, 2016 in Financial Life Focus
If you cannot say that your money habits are well-developed and fluent, perhaps it's time to think of reimagining your habits.

Buying a Car

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on December 14, 2016 in How To Do Life
Lessons in being a smart consumer when buying big-ticket items.

There's Nothing Simple About Simple Pleasures

By Nicole Mead Ph.D. on December 13, 2016 in The Happy Consumer
Simple pleasures can shield you from the bad, make you feel good, and help you meet your daily goals.

Which Fraud Is Worse, Shoplifting or Identity Theft?

Survey results show what consumers think of 8 types of retail fraud.