An Introduction to Consumer Psychology

An Introduction to Consumer Psychology

Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3448-8.ch001


Consumer psychology has been vital to the business world from its initial stages until the sales and sometimes even after the sales (providing updates, spares, and services). Marketing has focused strategies that provide consumer satisfaction. It has never been static but always has renewed itself according to the changing and developing world. This chapter provides an introduction to consumer psychology.
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Consumer behavior is very like marketing; it is a dynamic, complicated, and fully unresolved process. Professionals have indicated the importance of consumers’ inner world rather than their behaviors all time. Levy (1959) in his symbols for sale study pointed out consumers’ mind and inner world play a critical role to understand consumer behavior. Belk (1988, 1989, 2014) indicated the meaning of the object, and these possessions’ impact on consumer self-concept (Belk, 1988). Zaltman (2003) proposed that it is essential to reach consumers’ mind to understand them and precisely emphasized that understanding consumer behavior is possible by just understanding their mind.

Figure 1.

History of marketing definition

Adapted from AMA, 2008

Pham (2013) pointed out that consumer psychology could not provide expected efficacy for both academics and marketers due to some problems, and he called this problem as “the seven sins of consumer psychology.” These are:

  • The scope of consumer behavior research is evaluated in narrow scope,

  • Engage the narrow set of theoretical lenses,

  • Devotion to a narrow epistemology of consumer behavior,

  • Overemphasize physical processes rather psychological content,

  • Overgeneralize empirical results, both as authors and as reviewers,

  • Try to find convenience ways preparing a research; and

  • Setting and discussing research based on narrow theoretical lenses (411-423).

Although the author classified obstacles to gain a deep understanding and to reach the consumer behavior, all items point out the narrow view of consumer behavior neglecting consumers’ inner world.

This book aims to emphasize consumers’ inner world and its importance. Chapters were constructed on human psychology and consumer behavior aspects jointly. Consumer psychology is explained by using research on the consumer behavior and the basic human psychology. In this chapter first, the psychology is explained and then consumer and consumption concepts are expressed.


What Is Consumer Psychology?

Psychology, in short, is the science of human nature. It concerns all about the human mind, i.e., how human feel, think, act, etc., and defined as “the study of mind and behavior about a particular field of knowledge or activity.” It can be identified as “the science or study of the mind and behavior” (Merriam-Webster, 2017).

The psychology aims to understand human mind deeply and helps to improve humans’ lives. Psychology is a science that seeks answers to questions like; how we feel, think, act, what drives us thinking or acting like that? (Kassin, 2004).

Pioneer psychologists first focused on human mind’s structure, later they started to seek mind’s functions. Then modern psychology has sought link between mental life and behaviors. In 1960s’ psychology is defined as “the science of observable behavior” by behaviorists. They claimed that you could not observe a sensation or thought, but you can observe people’s behavior.

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