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Psychology (Optional) Notes & Mind Maps

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    1.1 Definition of Psychology
  2. 1.2 Historical antecedents of Psychology and trends in the 21st century
  3. 1.3 Psychology and scientific methods
  4. 1.4 Psychology in relation to other social sciences and natural sciences
  5. 1.5 Application of Psychology to societal problems
    2.1 Types of research: Descriptive, evaluative, diagnostic, and prognostic
  7. 2.2 Methods of Research: Survey, observation, case-study, and experiments
  8. 2.3 Experimental, Non-Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs
  9. 2.4 Focused group discussions
  10. 2.5 Brainstorming
  11. 2.6 Grounded theory approach
    3.1 Major Steps in Psychological research
    6 Submodules
  13. 3.2 Fundamental versus applied research
  14. 3.3 Methods of Data Collection
    3 Submodules
  15. 3.4 Research designs (ex-post facto and experimental)
  16. 3.5 Application of Statistical Technique
    5 Submodules
  17. 3.6 Item Response Theory
    4.1 Growth and Development, Principles of Development
  19. 4.2 Role of genetic and environmental factors in determining human behavior
  20. 4.3 Influence of cultural factors in socialization
  21. 4.4 Life span development (Characteristics, development tasks, promoting psychological well-being across major stages of the life span)
    5.1 Sensation
    2 Submodules
  23. 5.2 Attention: factors influencing attention
    1 Submodule
  24. 5.3 Perception
    11 Submodules
  25. 6. LEARNING
    6.1 Concept and theories of learning (Behaviourists, Gestaltalist and Information processing models)
  26. 6.2 The Processes of extinction, discrimination, and generalization
  27. 6.3 Programmed learning
  28. 6.4 Probability Learning
  29. 6.5 Self-Instructional Learning
  30. 6.6 Types and the schedules of reinforcement
  31. 6.7 Escape, Avoidance and Punishment
  32. 6.8 Modeling
  33. 6.9 Social Learning
  34. 7. MEMORY
    7.1 Encoding and Remembering
  35. 7.2 Short term memory
  36. 7.3 Long term memory
  37. 7.4 Sensory Memory - Iconic, Echoic & Haptic Memory
  38. 7.5 Multistore Model of Memory
  39. 7.6 Levels of Processing
  40. 7.7 Organization and Mnemonic techniques to improve memory
  41. 7.8 Theories of forgetting: decay, interference and retrieval failure
  42. 7.9 Metamemory
    8.1 Piaget’s theory of cognitive development
  44. 8.2 Concept formation processes
  45. 8.3 Information Processing
  46. 8.4 Reasoning and problem-solving
  47. 8.5 Facilitating and hindering factors in problem-solving
  48. 8.6 Methods of problem-solving: Creative thinking and fostering creativity
  49. 8.7 Factors influencing decision making and judgment
  50. 8.8 Recent Trends in Thinking and Problem Solving
  51. 9. Motivation and Emotion
    9.1 Psychological and physiological basis of motivation and emotion
  52. 9.2 Measurement of motivation and emotion
  53. 9.3 Effects of motivation and emotion on behavior
  54. 9.4 Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation
  55. 9.5 Factors influencing intrinsic motivation
  56. 9.6 Emotional competence and the related issues
  57. 10. Intelligence and Aptitude
    10.1 Concept of intelligence and aptitude
  58. 10.2 Nature and theories of intelligence: Spearman, Thurstone, Guilford Vernon, Sternberg and J.P Das
  59. 10.3 Emotional Intelligence
  60. 10.4 Social Intelligence
  61. 10.5 Measurement of intelligence and aptitudes
  62. 10.6 Concept of IQ
  63. 10.7 Deviation IQ
  64. 10.8 The constancy of IQ
  65. 10.9 Measurement of multiple intelligence
  66. 10.10 Fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence
  67. 11. Personality
    11.1 Definition and concept of personality
  68. 11.2 Theories of personality (psychoanalytical, sociocultural, interpersonal, developmental, humanistic, behaviouristic, trait and type approaches)
  69. 11.3 Measurement of personality (projective tests, pencil-paper test)
  70. 11.4 The Indian approach to personality
  71. 11.5 Training for personality development
  72. 11.6 Latest approaches like big 5-factor theory
  73. 11.7 The notion of self in different traditions
  74. 12. Attitudes, Values, and Interests
    12.1 Definition of attitudes, values, and interests
  75. 12.2 Components of attitudes
  76. 12.3 Formation and maintenance of attitudes
  77. 12.4 Measurement of attitudes, values, and interests
  78. 12.5 Theories of attitude change
  79. 12.6 Strategies for fostering values
  80. 12.7 Formation of stereotypes and prejudices
  81. 12.8 Changing others behavior
  82. 12.9 Theories of attribution
  83. 12.10 Recent trends in Attitudes, Values and Interests
  84. 13. Language and Communication
    13.1 Properties of Human Language
  85. 13.2 Structure of language and linguistic hierarchy
  86. 13.3 Language acquisition: Predisposition & critical period hypothesis
  87. 13.4 Theories of language development: Skinner and Chomsky
  88. 13.5 Process and types of communication – effective communication training
  89. 14. Issues and Perspectives in Modern Contemporary Psychology
    14.1 Computer application in the psychological laboratory and psychological testing
  90. 14.2 Artificial Intelligence and Psychology
  91. 14.3 Psychocybernetics
  92. 14.4 Study of consciousness-sleep-wake schedules
  93. 14.5 Dreams
  94. 14.6 Stimulus deprivation
  95. 14.7 Meditation
  96. 14.8 Hypnotic/drug-induced states
  97. 14.9 Extrasensory perception
  98. 14.10 Intersensory perception & simulation studies
  99. 15. Psychological Measurement of Individual Differences
    15.1 The nature of individual differences
  100. 15.2 Characteristics and construction of standardized psychological tests
  101. 15.3 Types of psychological tests
  102. 15.4 Use, misuse, limitation & ethical issues of psychological tests
  103. 15.5 Concept of health-ill health
  104. 15.6 Positive health & well being
  105. 15.7 Causal factors in mental disorders (Anxiety disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia, and delusional disorders; personality disorders, substance abuse disorders)
  106. 15.8 Factors influencing positive health, well being, lifestyle and quality of life
  107. 15.9 Happiness Disposition
  108. 16. Therapeutic Approaches
    16.1 Introduction: Overview of Therapeutic Approaches and Their Importance in Mental Health
  109. 16.2 Psychodynamic therapies
  110. 16.3 Behavior Therapies
  111. 16.4 Client centered therapy
  112. 16.5 Indigenous therapies (Yoga, Meditation)
  113. 16.6 Fostering mental health
  114. 17. Work Psychology and Organisational Behaviour
    17.1 Personnel selection and training
  115. 17.2 Use of psychological tests in the industry
  116. 17.3 Training and human resource development
  117. 17.4 Theories of work motivation – Herzberg, Maslow, Adam Equity theory, Porter and Lawler, Vroom
  118. 17.5 Advertising and marketing
  119. 17.6 Stress and its management
  120. 17.7 Ergonomics
  121. 17.8 Consumer Psychology
  122. 17.9 Managerial effectiveness
  123. 17.10 Transformational leadership
  124. 17.11 Sensitivity training
  125. 17.12 Power and politics in organizations
  126. 18. Application of Psychology to Educational Field
    18.1 Psychological principles underlying effective teaching-learning process
  127. 18.2 Learning Styles
  128. 18.3 Gifted, retarded, learning disabled and their training
  129. 18.4 Training for improving memory and better academic achievement
  130. 18.5 Personality development and value education, Educational, vocational guidance and career counseling
  131. 18.6 Use of psychological tests in educational institutions
  132. 18.7 Effective strategies in guidance programs
  133. 19. Community Psychology
    19.1 Definition and concept of community psychology
  134. 19.2 Use of small groups in social action
  135. 19.3 Arousing community consciousness and action for handling social problems
  136. 19.4 Group decision making and leadership for social change
  137. 19.5 Effective strategies for social change
  138. 20. Rehabilitation Psychology
    20.1 Primary, secondary and tertiary prevention programs-role of psychologists
  139. 20.2 Organising of services for the rehabilitation of physically, mentally and socially challenged persons including old persons
  140. 20.3 Rehabilitation of persons suffering from substance abuse, juvenile delinquency, criminal behavior
  141. 20.4 Rehabilitation of victims of violence
  142. 20.5 Rehabilitation of HIV/AIDS victims
  143. 20.6 The role of social agencies
  144. 21. Application of Psychology to disadvantaged groups
    21.1 The concepts of disadvantaged, deprivation
  145. 21.2 Social, physical, cultural, and economic consequences of disadvantaged and deprived groups
  146. 21.3 Educating and motivating the disadvantaged towards development
  147. 21.4 Relative and prolonged deprivation
  148. 22. Psychological problems of social integration
    22.1 The concept of social integration
  149. 22.2 The problem of caste, class, religion and language conflicts and prejudice
  150. 22.3 Nature and the manifestation of prejudice between the in-group and out-group
  151. 22.4 Causal factors of social conflicts and prejudices
  152. 22.5 Psychological strategies for handling the conflicts and prejudices
  153. 22.6 Measures to achieve social integration
  154. 23. Application of Psychology in Information Technology and Mass Media
    23.1 The present scenario of information technology and the mass media boom and the role of psychologists
  155. 23.2 Selection and training of psychology professionals to work in the field of IT and mass media
  156. 23.3 Distance learning through IT and mass media
  157. 23.4 Entrepreneurship through e-commerce
  158. 23.5 Multilevel marketing
  159. 23.6 Impact of TV and fostering value through IT and mass media
  160. 23.7 Psychological consequences of recent developments in Information Technology
  161. 24. Psychology and Economic development
    24.1 Achievement motivation and economic development
  162. 24.2 Characteristics of entrepreneurial behavior
  163. 24.3 Motivating and training people for entrepreneurship and economic development
  164. 24.4 Consumer rights and consumer awareness
  165. 24.5 Government policies for the promotion of entrepreneurship among youth including women entrepreneurs
  166. 25. Application of psychology to environment and related fields
    25.1 Environmental psychology- effects of noise, pollution, and crowding
  167. 25.2 Population psychology: psychological consequences of population explosion and high population density
  168. 25.3 Motivating for small family norm
  169. 25.4 Impact of rapid scientific and technological growth on degradation of the environment
  170. 26. Application of psychology in other fields
    26.1 [Military Psychology] Devising psychological tests for defense personnel for use in selection, Training, counseling
  171. 26.2 [Military Psychology] Training psychologists to work with defense personnel in promoting positive health
  172. 26.3 [Military Psychology] Human engineering in defense
  173. 26.4 Sports Psychology
  174. 26.5 Media influences on pro and antisocial behavior
  175. 26.6 Psychology of Terrorism
  176. 27. Psychology of Gender
    27.1 Issues of discrimination
  177. 27.2 Management of Diversity
  178. 27.3 Glass ceiling effect
  179. 27.4 Self-fulfilling prophesy
  180. 27.5 Women and Indian society
Module 121 of 180
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17.8 Consumer Psychology

I. Introduction

In this comprehensive exploration of consumer psychology, we delve into various aspects that influence consumer behaviour, including decision-making processes, social influences, and ethical considerations. By understanding these factors, marketers can create effective strategies that resonate with their target audience, ultimately driving brand loyalty and purchase decisions.

II. Foundations of Consumer Psychology

Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioural Components of Consumer Decision-Making

Cognitive Component

  • The cognitive component refers to the mental processes involved in consumer decision-making.
    • Perception: How consumers interpret and make sense of information.
    • Attention: The process of selectively focusing on specific stimuli.
    • Memory: The storage and retrieval of information.
    • Learning: The acquisition of knowledge and skills through experience or instruction.
    • Problem-solving: The process of identifying and resolving issues or obstacles in decision-making.

Affective Component

  • The affective component involves emotions and feelings that influence consumer decision-making.
    • Emotions: Internal states that arise in response to stimuli, such as pleasure, anger, or fear.
    • Moods: Temporary emotional states that are less intense and more diffuse than emotions.
    • Attitudes: Evaluative judgments about objects, people, or ideas that can influence consumer preferences and choices.
    • Values: Enduring beliefs about what is important or desirable, which guide consumer decision-making.

Behavioural Component

  • The behavioural component refers to the actions and reactions of consumers in response to stimuli.
    • Purchase decisions: The act of selecting and acquiring products or services.
    • Consumption: The use of products or services to satisfy needs or desires.
    • Post-purchase behaviour: Actions taken after the purchase, such as evaluating satisfaction, providing feedback, or disposing of the product.

Key Theories in Consumer Psychology

1. Classical Conditioning

  • A learning process where a neutral stimulus becomes associated with a meaningful stimulus, leading to a conditioned response.
    • Example: Pavlov’s dogs salivating at the sound of a bell after associating it with food.

2. Operant Conditioning

  • A learning process where the consequences of an action determine the likelihood of the action being repeated.
    • Positive reinforcement: Rewarding a behaviour to increase its occurrence.
    • Negative reinforcement: Removing an aversive stimulus to increase a behaviour.
    • Punishment: Applying an aversive stimulus to decrease a behaviour.
    • Example: A child receiving praise for cleaning their room, increasing the likelihood of them cleaning it again.

3. Social Learning Theory

  • Learning through observing and imitating the behaviours of others.
    • Example: A teenager learning to apply makeup by watching YouTube tutorials.

4. Cognitive Dissonance Theory

  • The psychological discomfort experienced when holding conflicting beliefs or attitudes, leading to a motivation to reduce the inconsistency.
    • Example: A consumer experiencing guilt after purchasing an expensive item, leading them to justify the purchase by emphasizing its benefits.

5. Elaboration Likelihood Model

  • A theory of persuasion that suggests there are two routes to attitude change: central and peripheral.
    • Central route: Involves careful consideration of the message content, leading to lasting attitude change.
    • Peripheral route: Involves superficial cues, such as the attractiveness of the source, leading to temporary attitude change.
    • Example: A consumer may be persuaded to buy a product through a well-reasoned argument (central route) or an attractive spokesperson (peripheral route).

6. Multi-Attribute Attitude Model

  • A model that suggests attitudes are formed based on the evaluation of multiple attributes of an object.
    • Example: A consumer may evaluate a smartphone based on its price, features, and brand reputation.

Comparisons and Differences

TheoryFocusKey Concepts
Classical ConditioningLearning through associationNeutral stimulus, conditioned stimulus, conditioned response
Operant ConditioningLearning through consequencesPositive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, punishment
Social Learning TheoryLearning through observationObservational learning, imitation
Cognitive Dissonance TheoryReducing psychological discomfortInconsistency, attitude change, justification
Elaboration Likelihood ModelPersuasionCentral route, peripheral route, attitude change
Multi-Attribute Attitude ModelAttitude formationAttributes, evaluation, attitude


  • Classical Conditioning: A perfume brand using a romantic song in their advertisement, creating an association between the scent and feelings of love.
  • Operant Conditioning: A loyalty program that rewards customers with points for every purchase, encouraging repeat business.
  • Social Learning Theory: Influencers promoting a product on social media, leading their followers to imitate their behaviour and purchase the product.
  • Cognitive Dissonance Theory: A consumer justifying the purchase of an environmentally friendly product by emphasizing its positive impact on the planet.
  • Elaboration Likelihood Model: A car advertisement that highlights both the safety features (central route) and the attractive design (peripheral route) to persuade consumers.
  • Multi-Attribute Attitude Model: A consumer choosing a laptop based on its performance, design, and price.

III. Consumer Motivation and Needs

Motivation in Consumer Behaviour

  • Motivation refers to the internal driving force that influences an individual’s actions and decisions.
  • In consumer behaviour, motivation is the reason behind consumers’ choices and preferences for products or services.
  • Factors influencing consumer motivation include personal needs, desires, goals, and values.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

  • Developed by psychologist Abraham Maslow, the hierarchy of needs is a theory that explains human motivation based on a hierarchy of five basic needs.
    • Physiological needs: Basic requirements for survival, such as food, water, and shelter.
    • Safety needs: The need for personal, financial, and health security.
    • Love and belonging needs: The need for social connections, such as family, friendship, and intimacy.
    • Esteem needs: The need for recognition, respect, and appreciation from others.
    • Self-actualization needs: The need to achieve one’s full potential and personal growth.
  • Maslow later added a sixth need, self-transcendence, which involves giving oneself to a higher goal outside of oneself, such as altruism or spirituality.
  • In the context of consumer behaviour, marketers can appeal to different levels of needs to motivate consumers to purchase their products or services.

Goal-Setting Theory

  • Goal-setting theory suggests that individuals are motivated to achieve specific, challenging goals.
  • In consumer behaviour, goal-setting can influence consumers’ choices and preferences as they strive to achieve their desired outcomes.
  • Marketers can use goal-setting strategies to motivate consumers by:
    • Setting clear, specific, and challenging goals for consumers to achieve.
    • Providing feedback and support to help consumers monitor their progress towards their goals.
    • Encouraging consumers to develop action plans and strategies to achieve their goals.

Self-Determination Theory

  • Self-determination theory is a psychological theory that focuses on the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that influence motivation.
    • Intrinsic motivation: The internal desire to engage in an activity for its own sake, driven by personal interest or enjoyment.
    • Extrinsic motivation: The external factors that influence an individual’s actions, such as rewards, punishments, or social pressure.
  • In consumer behaviour, self-determination theory suggests that consumers are more likely to be motivated to purchase products or services that align with their intrinsic motivations and values.
  • Marketers can use self-determination theory to motivate consumers by:
    • Appealing to consumers’ intrinsic motivations and values.
    • Offering extrinsic rewards or incentives that align with consumers’ interests and preferences.
    • Creating a sense of autonomy and choice in consumers’ decision-making processes.


  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: A food company advertising their products as nutritious and satisfying, appealing to consumers’ physiological needs.
  • Goal-Setting Theory: A fitness app setting personalized workout goals for users, motivating them to achieve their fitness objectives.
  • Self-Determination Theory: A clothing brand promoting their sustainable and ethically sourced materials, appealing to consumers’ intrinsic values and motivations.

Comparisons and Differences

TheoryFocusKey Concepts
Maslow’s Hierarchy of NeedsHuman motivationPhysiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging needs, esteem needs, self-actualization needs, self-transcendence
Goal-Setting TheoryAchievement of specific goalsGoal specificity, goal difficulty, feedback, action plans
Self-Determination TheoryIntrinsic and extrinsic motivationIntrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, autonomy, competence, relatedness

IV. Perception and Attention in Consumer Behaviour

Perception in Consumer Behaviour

  • Perception refers to the process by which individuals select, organize, and interpret sensory information to form a meaningful picture of the world.
  • In consumer behaviour, perception plays a crucial role in shaping consumers’ preferences, choices, and attitudes towards products and services.
  • Factors influencing consumer perception include:
    • Sensory input: The information received through the five senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch).
    • Personal factors: Individual characteristics, such as past experiences, beliefs, and expectations.
    • Contextual factors: The environment or situation in which the perception occurs.

Attention in Consumer Behaviour

  • Attention is the process of selectively focusing on specific stimuli while ignoring others.
  • In consumer behaviour, attention is essential for marketers to ensure that their messages are noticed and processed by consumers.
  • Factors influencing selective attention include:
    • Stimulus factors: Characteristics of the stimulus itself, such as size, colour, or novelty.
    • Personal factors: Individual characteristics, such as interests, needs, or motivations.
    • Contextual factors: The environment or situation in which the attention occurs.

Subliminal Perception

  • Subliminal perception refers to the processing of sensory information that occurs below the threshold of conscious awareness.
  • In consumer behaviour, subliminal perception has been a controversial topic, with some researchers suggesting that subliminal messages can influence consumer preferences and choices.
  • Examples of subliminal perception in marketing include:
    • Hidden images or words in advertisements.
    • Background music or sounds that evoke specific emotions or associations.

Sensory Marketing

  • Sensory marketing is a marketing strategy that appeals to consumers’ senses to create memorable and emotional connections with a brand or product.
  • Sensory marketing can influence consumer perception and attention by:
    • Engaging multiple senses to create a holistic and immersive experience.
    • Evoking specific emotions or associations through sensory stimuli.
    • Differentiating a brand or product from competitors through unique sensory experiences.
  • Examples of sensory marketing include:
    • Scent marketing: Using specific fragrances to create a brand identity or evoke specific emotions (e.g., the smell of fresh-baked cookies in a bakery).
    • Visual marketing: Using colours, shapes, and designs to create a distinct brand image or convey specific messages (e.g., the use of green in eco-friendly products).
    • Auditory marketing: Using sounds, music, or jingles to create a memorable brand identity or evoke specific emotions (e.g., the iconic Intel chime).


  • Perception: A consumer perceiving a luxury car as a status symbol based on its sleek design and high price.
  • Attention: A bright and eye-catching advertisement capturing a consumer’s attention in a crowded marketplace.
  • Subliminal Perception: An advertisement featuring a hidden image of a smiling face, evoking positive emotions in consumers.
  • Sensory Marketing: A coffee shop using the aroma of freshly brewed coffee to attract customers and create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Comparisons and Differences

ConceptFocusKey Concepts
PerceptionInterpretation of sensory informationSensory input, personal factors, contextual factors
AttentionSelective focus on stimuliStimulus factors, personal factors, contextual factors
Subliminal PerceptionProcessing of information below conscious awarenessHidden messages, unconscious processing
Sensory MarketingAppeal to consumers’ sensesScent marketing, visual marketing, auditory marketing

V. Consumer Learning and Memory

Consumer Learning

  • Consumer learning refers to the process through which consumers acquire knowledge and skills related to products, services, and consumption experiences.
  • Learning can occur through various processes, including classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and cognitive learning.

Classical Conditioning

  • A learning process where a neutral stimulus becomes associated with a meaningful stimulus, leading to a conditioned response.
    • Example: A perfume brand using a romantic song in their advertisement, creating an association between the scent and feelings of love.

Operant Conditioning

  • A learning process where the consequences of an action determine the likelihood of the action being repeated.
    • Positive reinforcement: Rewarding a behaviour to increase its occurrence.
    • Negative reinforcement: Removing an aversive stimulus to increase a behaviour.
    • Punishment: Applying an aversive stimulus to decrease a behaviour.
    • Example: A loyalty program that rewards customers with points for every purchase, encouraging repeat business.

Cognitive Learning

  • Cognitive learning involves the acquisition of knowledge and skills through mental processes, such as problem-solving, reasoning, and information processing.
    • Example: A consumer learning about a new product’s features and benefits through online research and reviews.

Memory in Consumer Behaviour

  • Memory plays a crucial role in consumer decision-making, as it allows consumers to store and retrieve information about products, services, and consumption experiences.
  • Memory can be divided into three main stages:
    • Encoding: The process of converting information into a format that can be stored in memory.
    • Storage: The process of retaining encoded information over time.
    • Retrieval: The process of accessing and recalling stored information when needed.

Types of Memory

  • Sensory memory: Short-term storage of sensory information, such as sights, sounds, and smells.
  • Short-term memory: Temporary storage of information for immediate use, with a limited capacity and duration.
  • Long-term memory: The permanent storage of information, with a virtually unlimited capacity and duration.

Factors Influencing Memory

  • Repetition: Repeated exposure to information can strengthen memory traces and improve recall.
  • Elaboration: The process of connecting new information to existing knowledge, making it more meaningful and easier to remember.
  • Distinctiveness: Unique or distinctive information is more likely to be remembered than common or similar information.
  • Emotional arousal: Emotionally charged information is more likely to be remembered due to its impact on attention and encoding.


  • Classical Conditioning: A soft drink company using a popular celebrity in their advertisements, creating an association between the celebrity’s image and the product.
  • Operant Conditioning: A coffee shop offering a free drink after the purchase of a certain number of drinks, encouraging repeat visits.
  • Cognitive Learning: A consumer researching and comparing different smartphone models before making a purchase decision.
  • Memory: A memorable advertisement that sticks in consumers’ minds, influencing their future purchase decisions.

VI. Attitudes and Persuasion

Attitudes in Consumer Behaviour

  • Attitudes are evaluative judgments about objects, people, or ideas that can influence consumer preferences and choices.
  • Attitudes have three components:
    • Cognitive component: Beliefs and knowledge about the object.
    • Affective component: Feelings and emotions towards the object.
    • Behavioural component: Actions and intentions towards the object.
  • In consumer behaviour, attitudes play a crucial role in shaping consumers’ preferences, choices, and brand loyalty.

Persuasion in Consumer Behaviour

  • Persuasion is the process of changing or reinforcing attitudes, beliefs, or behaviours through communication.
  • In consumer behaviour, persuasion is used by marketers to influence consumers’ attitudes and preferences towards products or services.
  • Various persuasion techniques used in marketing include:
    • Reciprocity: Offering something of value to consumers in exchange for their attention or action.
    • Scarcity: Creating a sense of urgency or exclusivity around a product or service.
    • Authority: Using credible sources or experts to endorse a product or service.
    • Consistency: Encouraging consumers to act in line with their existing beliefs or commitments.
    • Liking: Building rapport and trust with consumers through shared interests or similarities.
    • Social proof: Demonstrating the popularity or approval of a product or service by others.

Elaboration Likelihood Model

  • The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) is a theory of persuasion that suggests there are two routes to attitude change: central and peripheral.
    • Central route: Involves careful consideration of the message content, leading to lasting attitude change.
    • Peripheral route: Involves superficial cues, such as the attractiveness of the source, leading to temporary attitude change.
  • In consumer behaviour, the ELM can help marketers design persuasive messages that effectively target consumers through the appropriate route, depending on their level of involvement and motivation.

Cognitive Dissonance Theory

  • Cognitive Dissonance Theory posits that individuals experience psychological discomfort when holding conflicting beliefs or attitudes, leading to a motivation to reduce the inconsistency.
  • In consumer behaviour, cognitive dissonance can occur after a purchase decision, leading consumers to seek information or justification to resolve the inconsistency.
  • Marketers can address cognitive dissonance by:
    • Providing information that supports consumers’ purchase decisions.
    • Offering post-purchase support and reassurance.
    • Encouraging consumers to focus on the positive aspects of their decision.


  • Attitudes: A consumer with a positive attitude towards a brand is more likely to purchase its products and recommend them to others.
  • Persuasion: A limited-time offer on a product creates a sense of urgency, persuading consumers to make a purchase.
  • Elaboration Likelihood Model: A consumer with high involvement in a product category may be more influenced by a detailed product review (central route), while a consumer with low involvement may be more influenced by an attractive packaging design (peripheral route).
  • Cognitive Dissonance Theory: A consumer who experiences guilt after purchasing an expensive item may seek out positive reviews or testimonials to justify their decision.

Comparisons and Differences

ConceptFocusKey Concepts
AttitudesEvaluative judgmentsCognitive component, affective component, behavioural component
PersuasionChanging or reinforcing attitudesReciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistency, liking, social proof
Elaboration Likelihood ModelRoutes to attitude changeCentral route, peripheral route
Cognitive Dissonance TheoryReducing psychological discomfortInconsistency, attitude change, justification

VII. Social Influences on Consumer Behaviour

Reference Groups

  • Reference groups are social groups that individuals use as a basis for comparison and evaluation of their own beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours.
  • Reference groups can influence consumer behaviour in several ways:
    • Informational influence: Consumers may rely on reference groups for information about products or services.
    • Normative influence: Reference groups can establish social norms and expectations that guide consumer behaviour.
    • Identification influence: Consumers may identify with a reference group and adopt their preferences and behaviours to maintain a sense of belonging.
  • Examples of reference groups include family, friends, coworkers, celebrities, and social media influencers.

Social Norms

  • Social norms are shared expectations and rules that guide behaviour within a social group.
  • Social norms can influence consumer behaviour by:
    • Shaping consumers’ preferences and choices based on what is considered acceptable or desirable within their social group.
    • Creating social pressure to conform to group expectations, which can lead to changes in attitudes and behaviours.
  • Examples of social norms in consumer behaviour include gift-giving customs, fashion trends, and environmentally conscious consumption.

Cultural Factors

  • Cultural factors refer to the shared beliefs, values, customs, and practices of a particular social group.
  • Cultural factors can influence consumer behaviour by:
    • Shaping consumers’ needs, desires, and preferences based on their cultural background and upbringing.
    • Influencing consumers’ decision-making processes and evaluation criteria for products and services.
    • Affecting consumers’ communication styles and preferences, which can impact marketing effectiveness.
  • Examples of cultural factors in consumer behaviour include individualism vs. collectivism, high vs. low context communication, and cultural dimensions of consumer behaviour (e.g., power distance, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity vs. femininity, and long-term vs. short-term orientation).


  • Reference Groups: A teenager purchasing a pair of sneakers endorsed by their favourite celebrity, as they identify with the celebrity’s image and style.
  • Social Norms: A consumer choosing to purchase reusable shopping bags due to the growing social norm of environmentally friendly consumption.
  • Cultural Factors: A consumer from a collectivist culture placing a higher value on family-oriented products and services compared to a consumer from an individualist culture.

Comparisons and Differences

ConceptFocusKey Concepts
Reference GroupsSocial groups for comparisonInformational influence, normative influence, identification influence
Social NormsShared expectations and rulesConformity, social pressure, group expectations
Cultural FactorsShared beliefs, values, and customsCultural dimensions, communication styles, cultural background

VIII. Decision-Making Processes and Heuristics

Consumer Decision-Making Processes

  • Consumer decision-making involves a series of steps that consumers go through when choosing, purchasing, and using products or services.
  • The decision-making process typically includes the following stages:
    • Problem recognition: Identifying a need or desire that requires satisfaction.
    • Information search: Gathering information about potential solutions or options.
    • Evaluation of alternatives: Comparing and contrasting different options based on various criteria.
    • Purchase decision: Selecting the best option and making the actual purchase.
    • Post-purchase evaluation: Assessing satisfaction with the chosen option and considering potential future actions.

Heuristics in Consumer Decision-Making

  • Heuristics are mental shortcuts or rules of thumb that individuals use to simplify complex decision-making tasks.
  • In consumer behaviour, heuristics can help consumers make quick and efficient decisions, but they may also lead to cognitive biases and suboptimal choices.
  • Common heuristics used by consumers include:
    • Availability heuristic: Basing decisions on the most readily available information or examples.
    • Representativeness heuristic: Judging the likelihood of an event based on its similarity to a stereotype or prototype.
    • Anchoring and adjustment heuristic: Relying on an initial reference point (anchor) and adjusting it based on additional information.

Multi-Attribute Attitude Model

  • The Multi-Attribute Attitude Model is a decision-making model that suggests consumers evaluate products or services based on multiple attributes or features.
  • In this model, consumers assign weights to different attributes based on their importance and compare the overall scores of different options to make a decision.
  • The Multi-Attribute Attitude Model can help marketers identify the most important attributes for their target audience and design products or services that meet consumers’ needs and preferences.

Prospect Theory

  • Prospect Theory is a psychological theory that describes how individuals make decisions under conditions of uncertainty and risk.
  • Developed by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, Prospect Theory suggests that consumers evaluate potential gains and losses relative to a reference point, rather than considering the absolute outcomes.
  • In consumer behaviour, Prospect Theory can help explain various phenomena, such as loss aversion (the tendency to prefer avoiding losses over acquiring gains) and the endowment effect (the tendency to value owned items more than equivalent items not owned).

Cognitive Biases in Consumer Decision-Making

  • Cognitive biases are systematic errors in thinking that can influence consumers’ decisions and judgments.
  • Common cognitive biases that affect consumer decision-making include:
    • Confirmation bias: The tendency to search for, interpret, and remember information that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or expectations.
    • Overconfidence bias: The tendency to overestimate one’s own abilities or the accuracy of one’s beliefs and predictions.
    • Hindsight bias: The tendency to believe, after an event has occurred, that one would have predicted or expected the outcome.


  • Consumer Decision-Making Processes: A consumer researching and comparing different smartphone models before making a purchase decision.
  • Heuristics: A consumer choosing a well-known brand over an unknown brand, assuming the well-known brand offers higher quality.
  • Multi-Attribute Attitude Model: A consumer evaluating a laptop based on its performance, design, and price.
  • Prospect Theory: A consumer preferring a guaranteed discount of $50 over a 50% chance of receiving a $100 discount, even though the expected value is the same.
  • Cognitive Biases: A consumer only reading online reviews that confirm their belief that a particular product is the best option, ignoring negative reviews.

IX. Post-Purchase Behaviour and Consumer Satisfaction

Post-Purchase Behaviour

  • Post-purchase behaviour refers to the actions and reactions of consumers after they have made a purchase.
  • Post-purchase behaviour can include:
    • Evaluating satisfaction with the product or service.
    • Providing feedback or reviews to the seller or other consumers.
    • Recommending the product or service to others.
    • Repurchasing the product or service in the future.
    • Disposing of the product or returning it if dissatisfied.

Cognitive Dissonance and Post-Purchase Behaviour

  • Cognitive dissonance is the psychological discomfort experienced when holding conflicting beliefs or attitudes, leading to a motivation to reduce the inconsistency.
  • In the context of post-purchase behaviour, cognitive dissonance can occur when consumers experience doubts or regrets about their purchase decision.
  • To reduce cognitive dissonance, consumers may:
    • Seek information that supports their purchase decision.
    • Focus on the positive aspects of the product or service.
    • Rationalize or justify their decision.
    • Return or exchange the product if possible.

Expectation-Disconfirmation Theory

  • Expectation-disconfirmation theory posits that consumer satisfaction is determined by the discrepancy between their initial expectations and the actual performance of the product or service.
    • If the product or service meets or exceeds expectations, consumers are likely to be satisfied.
    • If the product or service falls short of expectations, consumers are likely to be dissatisfied.
  • In post-purchase behaviour, expectation-disconfirmation can influence consumers’ satisfaction, feedback, and future purchase decisions.

Emotions and Consumer Satisfaction

  • Emotions play a crucial role in consumer satisfaction, as they can influence consumers’ evaluations of products and services.
  • Positive emotions, such as happiness or excitement, can enhance satisfaction and lead to positive post-purchase behaviours, such as recommending the product or repurchasing it in the future.
  • Negative emotions, such as frustration or disappointment, can reduce satisfaction and lead to negative post-purchase behaviours, such as returning the product or providing negative feedback.

Consumer Loyalty

  • Consumer loyalty refers to the ongoing commitment of a consumer to a particular brand, product, or service.
  • Consumer loyalty can be influenced by factors such as satisfaction, trust, and emotional attachment.
  • Loyal consumers are more likely to:
    • Repurchase the product or service in the future.
    • Recommend the product or service to others.
    • Be less sensitive to price changes or competitive offers.


  • Cognitive Dissonance: A consumer experiencing doubts about their purchase of an expensive handbag may seek out positive reviews or testimonials to justify their decision.
  • Expectation-Disconfirmation Theory: A consumer who purchases a highly-rated smartphone may be dissatisfied if the device does not live up to their expectations.
  • Emotions and Consumer Satisfaction: A consumer who feels a sense of joy and accomplishment after assembling a piece of furniture may be more satisfied with their purchase.
  • Consumer Loyalty: A consumer who consistently purchases the same brand of running shoes due to their satisfaction with the product’s performance and comfort.

X. Consumer Psychology in the Digital Age

Impact of Digital Technology on Consumer Psychology

  • The digital age has significantly transformed consumer psychology, affecting how consumers gather information, make decisions, and interact with brands.
  • Key aspects of digital technology that influence consumer behaviour include social media, online reviews, and e-commerce.

Social Media and Consumer Behaviour

  • Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, have become essential tools for consumers to connect with brands, share experiences, and gather information.
  • Social media can influence consumer behaviour in several ways:
    • Exposure to user-generated content, such as product reviews, recommendations, and testimonials.
    • Engagement with brand-generated content, such as promotional campaigns, contests, and customer service interactions.
    • Formation of online communities and networks that shape consumer preferences and choices.

Online Reviews and Consumer Decision-Making

  • Online reviews play a crucial role in consumer decision-making, as they provide valuable information about products and services from other users.
  • The impact of online reviews on consumer behaviour includes:
    • Influencing consumers’ perceptions of product quality, value, and trustworthiness.
    • Affecting consumers’ purchase intentions and likelihood of choosing a particular product or service.
    • Shaping consumers’ post-purchase evaluations and satisfaction levels.

E-Commerce and Consumer Behaviour

  • E-commerce refers to the buying and selling of products and services online, which has become increasingly popular due to its convenience, variety, and accessibility.
  • E-commerce can influence consumer behaviour by:
    • Providing a wide range of products and services, allowing consumers to compare and evaluate options more easily.
    • Offering personalized recommendations and promotions based on consumers’ browsing and purchase history.
    • Facilitating seamless and convenient transactions, such as one-click purchasing and mobile payments.


  • Social Media: A consumer discovering a new fashion brand through an Instagram influencer’s post and subsequently following the brand’s account for updates and promotions.
  • Online Reviews: A consumer reading positive reviews about a restaurant on Yelp, leading them to choose that restaurant for their next dining experience.
  • E-Commerce: A consumer comparing prices and features of different laptops on an online retailer’s website before making a purchase decision.

XI. Ethical Considerations in Consumer Psychology

Marketing and Responsible Consumption

  • Responsible consumption refers to the mindful and informed use of products and services that minimize negative impacts on society and the environment.
  • Marketing plays a crucial role in promoting responsible consumption by:
    • Providing accurate and transparent information about products and services, allowing consumers to make informed decisions.
    • Encouraging sustainable and ethical consumption practices, such as reducing waste, recycling, and supporting fair trade.
    • Developing and promoting products and services that contribute to social and environmental well-being.

Impact of Consumerism on Society and the Environment

  • Consumerism is the cultural belief that the acquisition of material goods and services leads to personal happiness and social status.
  • Consumerism can have negative impacts on society and the environment, such as:
    • Overconsumption and depletion of natural resources.
    • Increased waste and pollution.
    • Social inequality and exploitation of workers.
    • Psychological issues, such as materialism, dissatisfaction, and stress.

Ethical Decision-Making in Marketing

  • Ethical decision-making involves considering the moral implications and consequences of marketing actions and strategies.
  • In consumer psychology, ethical decision-making is essential for marketers to balance the pursuit of profit with the well-being of consumers, society, and the environment.
  • Ethical decision-making in marketing can include:
    • Adhering to legal regulations and industry standards.
    • Ensuring honesty and transparency in advertising and communication.
    • Prioritizing consumer privacy and data protection.
    • Supporting fair labor practices and sustainable supply chains.


  • Marketing and Responsible Consumption: A clothing brand promoting their use of organic and ethically sourced materials, encouraging consumers to support sustainable fashion.
  • Impact of Consumerism: The fast fashion industry contributing to environmental pollution and poor working conditions in developing countries.
  • Ethical Decision-Making: A food company committing to transparent labeling and sourcing ingredients from fair trade suppliers, ensuring ethical and sustainable practices.

XII. Conclusion

In conclusion, understanding various aspects of consumer psychology, such as decision-making processes, social influences, and ethical considerations, is crucial for marketers to create effective strategies that resonate with their target audience. By incorporating insights from these areas, marketers can foster a more sustainable and socially responsible approach to consumer behaviour, ultimately driving brand loyalty and purchase decisions.

  1. How do cognitive biases impact consumer decision-making, and what strategies can marketers employ to address these biases in their marketing campaigns? (250 words)
  2. Compare and contrast the Elaboration Likelihood Model and Cognitive Dissonance Theory in the context of consumer behaviour. How can marketers leverage these theories to create persuasive messages? (250 words)
  3. Analyze the role of social media in shaping consumer behaviour, and discuss the potential ethical concerns associated with using social media for marketing purposes. (250 words)
  4. Discuss the impact of cultural factors on consumer behaviour, and provide examples of how marketers can adapt their strategies to cater to diverse cultural backgrounds. (250 words)
  5. Compare the influence of reference groups and social norms on consumer behaviour. How can marketers utilize these social influences to create effective marketing strategies? (250 words)


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