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All in the Mind, 3rd Edition by Dimitrios Tsivrikos, Adrian Furnham

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10 A Psychologist in the Marketplace

10.1 Introduction

Consumer psychology is a relatively new field of psychology. The American Psychological Association (APA) Consumer Psychology Division was only incorporated in 1960. Consumer psychology draws upon knowledge from a great variety of fields, such as cognitive psychology, social psychology, memory, and decision making, and aims to examine how consumers in an individual and social context make purchase, consumption, and disposal decisions to satisfy both wants and needs.

The growth of consumer psychology has mirrored that of advertising and the commercial sector in the United States and Europe during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The approach of consumer psychology has been influenced by a number of psychological schools of thought over the years. The mentalist approach, for instance, emphasized the introspective observation of subjects to account for behavior. Hugo Munsterberg (1909), one of the pioneers of consumer psychology, adhered to this approach and argued for the study of psychological conditions in business and industry. Later on, behaviorism contributed to the study of consumer psychology as well. Other psychologists focused on purchase behavior rather than consumer introspection, studying the impact of advertisement elements such as size and word color on behavior. Subsequently, Freud’s psychodynamic approach came into the picture, studying the role of basic unconscious motivational drives on influencing ...

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