Consumer Psychology Essay Research Paper Pg Two

Consumer Psychology Essay, Research Paper Pg. Two Consumer psychology (CP) is the study of human responses to products and services. (Beall & Allen, 1997) They study the psychological factors that

Consumer Psychology Essay, Research Paper

Pg. Two

Consumer psychology (CP) is the study of human responses to products

and services. (Beall & Allen, 1997) They study the psychological factors that

determine an individual’s behavior as a consumer. (Maloney, 1990) Consumer

psychology started only recently. It was established in a division by the

American Psychological Association in 1960 as a sub-catorgory of social

psychology. (Mittelstaedt, 1990) Consumer psychology includes many things,

such as marketing, consumer behavior and motivations, promotion, and

communication. (Beall & Allen, 1997)

Marketing is a very important part of consumer psychology. (Kotler &

Armstrong, 1991) Understanding why people buy what they buy is at the heart of

all marketing research. (Kotler & Armstrong, 1991) Companies depend on

research on marketing products and consumer behavior. (Maloney, 1990)

Responses to information about products and services are influenced by three

major factors: (1) personality variables, prior attitudes and opinions, (2)

situational variables and (3) person by situation interactions. (Beall & Allen,

1997) Many responses are relevant, including emotional, cognitive (beliefs and j

Judgments), and behavioral (purchase decisions and consumption related

practices) responses. (Beall & Allen, 1997) In order for the consumer

psychologist to figure out what the average consumer is thinking, they must be

able to: (Beall & Allen, 1997)

? Define problem areas

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? Create a system to analyze data

? Offer new perspectives

? Develop new solutions for recurring problems

? Evaluate theories and evidence

? Compare/constrast ideas and information

? Observe people/data/things

? Hypothesize research question

? Develop ideas and theories

? Gather information

? Clarify goals/problems

? Organize and analyzing data

? Summarize results

? Synthesize conclusions

These tasks help the consumer psychologist learn the mind of the average

consumer, they are then able to accurately provide information to companies

and help consumers get products and services that best satisfy these needs and

wants. (Maloney, 1990)

Research methods provide the foundation for all knowledge in a field of

inquiry. (Mittelstaedt, 1990) Consumer psychology depend critically on the

quality and sophistication of available research methods and computer

simulation. (Kotler & Armstrong, 1991) Sophisticated physiological measures,

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scale development procedures, and multivariate statistical techniques are also

used by consumer psychologists. (Kotler & Armstrong, 1991) The ability to

understand consumers’ reaction to product and service entails a variety of skills

such as:

? Analyzing/modifying behavior

? Motivating

? Perceiving and understanding individual differences

? Fostering group dynamics

? Exhibiting empathy toward others

? Identifying and understanding needs

? Influencing and persuading people/groups

? Informing/explaining ideas

? Mediating/negotiating conflicts

? Writing clearly

? Presenting information effectively

These skills are the key for the psychologists’ understanding of the consumers’

needs, wants and preferences. (Beall & Allen, 1997)

Consumer psychologists are educators, researchers, and administrators. (Maloney, 1990) A bachelor’s degree in psychology offer very few opportunities

directly related to psychology. Without additional academic training, a bachelor’s

degree holders opportunities in psychology are severely limited.(McMichael,

2000) Master’s degree consumer psychologists may work as industrial-

Pg. Five

organizational psychologists. (Mittelstaedt, 1990) Masters’ degree holders with

several years of industrial experience can obtain jobs in consulting and

marketing research. (McMichael, 2000) Others work as psychological

assistants, under the supervision of doctoral-level psychologists, and conduct

psychological evaluations. In the Federal Government, candidates having at

least 24 semester hours in psychology and one course in statistics qualify for

entry-level positions. (McMichael,2000) Because this is one of the few areas in

which one can work as a psychologist without an advanced degree, competition

for these jobs is very high. (McMichael, 2000) Persons with a Ph.D. in consumer

psychology qualify for a wide range of teaching, research, clinical, and

counseling positions in universities, elementary and secondary schools, private

industry, and government. (McMichael, 2000) Most States certify those with a

master’s degree as school psychologists after completion of an internship.

(McMichael, 2000)

Some consumer psychologist maintain part-time clinical practices as well.

(McMichael, 2000)In contrast to the many psychologists who have flexible work

schedules, some who work in government and private industry have more

structured schedules. (McMichael, 2000)Reading and writing research reports,

they often work alone behind a desk. Many experience the pressures of

deadlines, tight schedules, heavy workloads, and overtime work.(McMichael,

2000) Their routine may be interrupted frequently. Travel may be required to

attend conferences or conduct research.(McMichael, 2000)

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Consumer psychology is a relatively young field with a very exciting

future. (Kotler & Armstrong, 1991) Opportunities for people holding doctorates

should have particularly good prospects. Increasing numbers are in

management and policy level positions. (Maloney, 1990) Psychologists with

extensive training in quantitative research methods and computer science may

have a competitive edge over others without this background. (Kotler &

Armstrong, 1991)

The salary in 1999 for psychologists who have only obtained a bachelor’s

degree was about $20,600 to $25,500, depending on you undergraduate

academic records. (McMichael, 2000) Those with a master’s degree and 1 year

of experience start around $31,200. Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree psychologists

having one year of internship start at $37,800. Other Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree

psychologist having more experience start at $45,200. (McMichael, 2000)

Consumer psychologist are seen by critics as tools to assist business in

influencing consumer attitudes and actions by means of advertising and other

marketing activities. (Oelander, 1990) These psychologist are using what they

know about people to use and manipulate them instead of helping them.

(Oelander, 1990) Some justification about this view is shown in a content

analysis of leading journals about the field, but not as harshly or to the extent

taken by the critics. (Oelander, 1990) Consumer psychology purpose is to

communicate consumer needs to the marketing agency.

Consumer psychologists are found in a variety of settings, from academic

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institutions (where they teach and conduct research), to advertising agencies

(where they study consumer attitudes and preferences), to businesses and

government agencies (where they help with a variety of problems in organization

and management). (Beall & Allen, 1997) The goals of consumer psychologists

are to describe, predict, influence, and/or explain consumer responses to

products and services. (Kotler & Armstrong, 1991) As you can see it

incorporates a wide variety of disciplines. Consumer psychologists are

rewarding and the receive direct feedback from their work. (Oelander, 1990)

They see how it changes things through product sales, and word of mouth.

(Oelander, 1990) Consumer psychology is used to the benefit of consumers

themselves. By paying more attention to consumers’ actions, reactions and to

consumption patterns rather than single decision, CP can provide the basis for

helping consumer make decisions and provide what is best for them.


Pg. Eight


Beall, Anne E. and Allen, Ted W. (1997). Career Paths in Psychology:

Where Your Degree Can Take You . Why We Buy What We Buy: Consulting in

Consumer Psychology

Kotler, P. and Armstrong, G. [1991]. Principles of Marketing. Englewood

Cliffs, NJ: PrenticeHall

Maloney, John C.(1990) Consumer psychology’s potential contribution to

social science. Agres, Stuart J.(Ed); Edell, Julie A.(Ed); et al. Emotion in

advertising: Theoretical and practical explorations. (pp. 329-367).New York, NY,

USA: Quorum Books xviii, 383 pp.

McMichael, Mary Bureau of Labor Statistics (2000) April 05, 2000

Mittelstaedt, Robert A. (1990) Economics, psychology, and the literature

of the subdiscipline of consumer behavior. Journal of the Academy of Marketing

Science. 1990 Fal Vol 18(4) 303-311

Oelander, Folke (1990) Consumer psychology: Not necessarily a

manipulative science. Aarhus School of Business, Denmark . Applied

Psychology: An International Review. 1990 Jan Vol 39(1) 105-126