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

Oxygen and Aging

What is best way to combat free-radicals of oxygen?

The Pursuit of Happiness, Bah, Humbug?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on September 26, 2016 in How To Do Life
Many people focus on the pursuit of happiness, but there are other options. It's up to you.

Game Day: Trump v. Clinton—Why You Will Watch the Debate

By Wendy L. Patrick Ph.D. on September 25, 2016 in Why Bad Looks Good
Whatever you are doing at 9:00 pm tomorrow night, you might be tempted by the political Big Game. Research shows that out of concern or curiosity, you will likely take a peek.

Why TSA Agents Need Therapy Skills Training

By Goal Auzeen Saedi Ph.D. on September 24, 2016 in Millennial Media
In the age of TSA, travel has become more stressful than ever before. Could training agents in basic therapy skills such as empathy and thought distortions help?

5 Common Ways Money Issues Wreck Relationships

By Andrea Bonior Ph.D. on September 23, 2016 in Friendship 2.0
Issues surrounding money are one of the most common conflicts within relationships, even where there is plenty of love. Here are some frequent ways that money damages partnerships.

New Study Finds the Average American Woman is Now Plus-Size

Although it is widely acknowledged that the standard sizing system is flawed, being designated as plus-size is nevertheless something of a damning fate for many women.

Do We Control Our Own Purchasing Habits?

By Liraz Margalit Ph.D. on September 20, 2016 in Behind Online Behavior
Flaws in our decision-making ability are fuel for the market. In certain situations we are especially susceptible to external influences.

Fashion Photography and the Feminist Aesthetics of Disgust

By analyzing fashion photographs—as well as the discourses that envelop them—it is possible to glimpse the ideologies that undergird contemporary aesthetics, ethics and anxieties.

A Match Made in America: Who Will Dominate the First Debate?

By Wendy L. Patrick Ph.D. on September 20, 2016 in Why Bad Looks Good
Research shows that Trump and Clinton will be judged by what they say, and how they behave when their opponent has the floor—because viewers are voters.

$50m Judgment Says Brain Training a Sham

By Richard E. Cytowic M.D. on September 19, 2016 in The Fallible Mind
Letting someone else sharpen your brain sounds great. Except it doesn't work, and you have to do the work yourself. The good news is that it isn't so hard.

Debate Winner Is in the Eye (Not the Ear) of the Beholder

By Wendy L. Patrick Ph.D. on September 19, 2016 in Why Bad Looks Good
Watch! Next week´s presidential debate may be won or lost visually rather than verbally. Research shows perception is driven by nonverbal reaction more than verbal response.

Were the 1970s Better or Worse Than the 60s?

Ah, the 1970s, when we used our own heads as one giant roller. When Jade East, English Leather, Herbal Essence, Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Pursettes filled our backpacks.

Why Is the Backward Research Method So Effective?

It forces up-front thinking about use of research results and required data, and removes guess-work on the researcher's part.

Are Food Bloggers Giving You Anxiety?

By Goal Auzeen Saedi Ph.D. on September 12, 2016 in Millennial Media
Promises of "quick" and "easy" tantalizing treats got you in a tizzy? Step away from the blender, breathe and remember that even the Pinterest-worthy photos are not always real.

FOMO Strikes Again

By Michael F. Kay on September 08, 2016 in Financial Life Focus
Who doesn’t love a sale? After all, it might be the LAST chance to buy something you REALLY NEED at a lower price. Right?

Confessions of a (Former) Skeptic of Basic Income

By Gleb Tsipursky Ph.D. on September 07, 2016 in Intentional Insights
Are you skeptical about cash handouts? Find out if research supports your skepticism!

Are You Trying too Hard to Be Environmentally Correct?

By Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN on September 07, 2016 in Cravings
How to survive in the age of environmental guilt.

Careers That Last

By Lybi Ma on September 06, 2016 in Brainstorm
How to survive and thrive in the new career reality.

How Should Market Researchers Ask About Gender In Surveys?

New gender identity research shows we need to rethink the answer for designing accurate and inclusive surveys.

Fancy a New Cell Phone? Not So Much

Need a rest from all the hype surrounding the latest, greatest cellphone? You're not alone. What consumers really want is to hear that the best phone is the one they already own

Explaining Media Psychology in 2017

Media influence on people is like "The Blob"... oozing everywhere. Media Psychologists are the professionals that study the effect of media on behavior everywhere.

Ready to Rumble: Why We Will Watch the Presidential Debates

By Wendy L. Patrick Ph.D. on September 03, 2016 in Why Bad Looks Good
The debate schedule is set and the candidates are prepared to hit the stage. Yet viewers will watch the action seeking both flash and substance--education and entertainment.

Big Data Is Nudging You

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on August 30, 2016 in Consumed
Slow to hit the purchase button? Here’s how you may be nudged to buy.

Commandeering Cuteness for Commercialism

By Douglas Van Praet on August 27, 2016 in Unconscious Branding
There is a good reason why cute and cuddly baby animals are tugging at your heart and pulling on your purse strings.

Why We Should Stop Avoiding the Word "Patient" in Psychiatry

Calling psychiatric patients "consumer" and "client" is misguided.

Seduced by Abandon

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on August 22, 2016 in A Swim in Denial
"Throwing caution to the winds" can be exhilarating or dangerous. In politics the idea manipulates us in wild ways.

Is This (Finally) the Secret to Eating Less?

By Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN on August 22, 2016 in Cravings
Are you trying to eat less or at least eat better? It's all in your timing.

Should We Treat Business School Students Like Customers?

University professors and administrators should be customer-oriented, but we should not treat students like customers.

Trump´s Tweets and Twitter Psychology: You Talkin´ to Me?

Twitter is both public and personal. Facilitating interaction between political candidates and prospective voters creates synthetic intimacy which can translate into votes.

Medical Mistakes Make It Dangerous to Go to a Hospital

By Allen J Frances M.D. on August 18, 2016 in Saving Normal
Medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the US. Hospitals compete for patients by trying to be the fanciest hotel—not the safest and best place to get care.