What Your Dog Wants

Living with a pet provides humans with many physical and psychological benefits. Research shows that the health and well-being of pet owners is greater than that of non-pet-owners. But what about our pets? Sure, we buy them treats and care for them. But do they get deeper, more important rewards from their human relationships? And how might this come about?

How to Make People (and Yourself) Happier

Research shows that giving the gift of a new and special activity or event (experiential gift such as a weekend spa or wine tasting class) increases the positive emotional connection between the giver and the recipient. Tying this to Daniel Kahneman’s concept of wellbeing, experiential gifts are an opportunity to bring happiness to the gift giver and recipient.

Are Selfies and Smartphones the New Comfort Food?

Millennials have an almost compulsive attachment to all things digital. Using Phillip Cushman's concept of the "empty self," we can try to understand this behavior by considering whether it is an unconscious way of compensating for what is not being provided in the culture and society in which they live.

Why We Really Shop

We think of shopping in terms of what we buy. But shopping is the pursuit of pleasure, part of our daily search for happiness. It does not come from the objects we buy. Happiness is an emotion associated with our motivations for making those purchases.

Carl Jung...Consumer Psychologist?

Jung explored psychology through philosophy, dreams, myth, and art. In our culture, he might have embraced the consumer as well. But with certainty he would agree that consumer behavior is driven in great part by unconscious emotions.

Do You Trust the Internet?

Research reveals extremely high levels of consumer distrust in the Internet. Yet digital media are considering integrating brand messages into the content that consumers go online to see. This violates the traditional separation of advertising and editorial, one of the foundations of consumer trust in traditional media.

How a Video Message Evokes Emotion and Arouses Response

Emotions determine response to commercials for non-profit cause organizations and charities. Especially important are perceptions of warmth and judgments of confidence. Analysis of the emotion structure of a commercial for World Humanitarian Day.

What Connects Consumers to Celebrity Brands?

How does the celebrity status of Ralph Lauren, Steve Jobs and Martha Stewart influence consumer connection with their brands? What did they personally contribute to their brands that made their products successful and themselves celebrities?

Seeking Your “Ideal” Self in Cosmetic Surgery

Self-identity can motivate a consumer to change who they are. Research studies have shown that perceptions of the “ideal” self have a lot of sway over decisions to have cosmetic surgery. But the act of comparing who we are to standards which represent an “ideal” must be based on an accurate understanding of our “real” self.

How Emotions Influence What We Buy

Emotions influence almost all human decision-making, but are especially important to consumer purchase decisions. Emotions expressed in advertising, brand personality, and narrative constitute our mental representations of brands, and are the basis of our preferences and purchase behavior.

The Holiday Urge to Splurge

Eating, drinking, and spending too much during the holidays can be caused by a depletion in self-control. Psychological research reveals that self-restraint is a limited resource; but can be strengthened by physical and cognitive exercizes.

How Memories of Experience Influence Behavior

We don’t make purchase decisions based on product experience—but on memories of experience. And experiential memories have unique characteristics.

Clint Eastwood’s 'Empty Chair' Speech

Great communication should be acknowledged. Regardless of one’s political views, Clint Eastwood’s “Empty Chair” speech demonstrated that he is a great communicator.

Why I Covet the iPad

Consumer judgments about what is most desirable primarily are based on emotion rather than rational, conscious analyses. The power of emotion is especially strong for consumer behavior associated with “must haves,” products for which we develop a craving.

Facebook: The Psychology of Social Media

What does it mean to ‘like' a brand on Facebook? What motivates consumers to click on the ‘like' icon? And why is this important to the brand marketers?

Andy Rooney: Cognitive Scientist?

Andy Rooney was an intuitive cognitive scientist. He had an unfailing eye for product designs that facilitated information processing by the user, were aligned with mental representations of form and function, were free of constraints to usage, and provided the feedback necessary for a satisfying, error-free experience.

Does Your Headache Remedy Understand You?

When a fever starts, the flu attacks or allergies erupt, try to separate your emotions from the physical symptoms. Self-medicating with a brand that you believe understands your emotional state is more likely to help you feel better.

How Consumer Psychology Can Help Save the U.S. Postal Service

The U.S. Postal Service is in big trouble. The quality of customer experience is a major barrier to productivity and profitability. The solution lies “inside the consumer mind.” Until the government adopts a bottom-up approach based on an understanding of the psychology of consumer behavior, the problems of the Postal Service will remain unsolved.

How Steve Jobs Knew What You Wanted

When Steve Jobs was asked how much market research was conducted to guide Apple in its incredible string of new product successes, he responded, “None. It isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want.” Steve Jobs could see things that the rest of us could not.

I Am My Ferrari

The new Ferrari’s are sold out … worldwide! So what motivates someone to pay $350,000 for a car? It could be as simple as they think it’s cool and can afford it. It is likely that the answer is more complex. What can those of us who aren’t wealthy learn from the answer to this question?

Understand the 'why' Before You Decide to Buy

A friend recently called to tell me that his mother bought a new car. His mom is eighty-eight years old; and her new set of wheels are on a Ford Mustang convertible … all black, and loaded. With its 5.0 liter V8 engine, mom’s car moves! My friend is concerned. His mother is thrilled.

Introducing ... Inside the Consumer Mind

Sigmund Freud observed that, “The mind is like an iceberg, it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water.” This blog, Inside the Consumer Mind, will make deep dives beneath the surface to explore what is known about the psychological processes that influence consumer behavior.