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2017/2018  KAN-CPSYV3006U  Consumer Psychology

English Title
Consumer Psychology

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Second Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 80
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Psychology, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Alexander Josiassen - Department of Marketing (Marketing)
  • Florian Kock - Department of Marketing (Marketing)
Main academic disciplines
  • Customer behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Business psychology
Last updated on 19-06-2017

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors: To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors: This course aims to introduce to students the domain of consumer psychology. The specific learning objectives of the course are the following:
  • Describe and discuss the various concepts in consumer psychology.
  • Be able to apply the consumer psychology concepts to identify and explain consumers‘ behaviors and choices.
  • Present a clear and coherent argument for your choice of relevant theories and models.
  • Critically assess the value and relevance of models, concepts and theories presented throughout the course.
  • Identify and discuss practical implications and limitations of applying specific theories, models, and concepts from the course.
  • To follow academic conventions in the written presentation.
Course prerequisites
Prerequisites for registering for the exam
Number of mandatory activities: 1
Compulsory assignments (assessed approved/not approved)
Project that aims at applying concepts and theories relating to consumer awareness, interest, and evaluation to a practical example. Specifically students are asked to plan and create a short Youtube video, and apply these concepts and theories.
Consumer Psychology:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
The assignment should follow academic conventions.
Assignment type Case based assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
If the number of registered candidates for the make-up examination/re-take examination warrants that it may most appropriately be held as an oral examination, the programme office will inform the students that the make-up examination/re-take examination will be held as an oral examination instead.
Description of the exam procedure

The students identify a specific consumption behavior and examine this using concepts and theories learned in class. This behavior could for example be the prevalence of luxury consumption in Asia, consumers' reliance on social networks to inform their purchasing decisions, or boycott of products made in a specific country. Students then examine this behavior in order to understand why consumers act in this way, and what it means for firms. 

Course content and structure

Be it the purchase of a smartphone, of a luxury bag or a holiday destination, the foundation of an organization's success lies in understanding how consumers think, feel, choose, and consume products and services. In most cases, the answer to these questions can be obtained by drawing on the extensive field of psychology. Over the last two decades, marketing researchers and managers have increasingly recognized the potential of psychology to understand consumer behavior. This course is designed to help students become curious discoverers and astute thinkers for consumption phenomena and challenges that organizations face. The consumer psychology course provides a comprehensive coverage of theories, concepts and management tools to understand the “minds, hearts and motives” of consumers.

The topics discussed in this course can be grouped in four broad psychology clusters. Each cluster comprises various consumer psychology applications:


Cognition, Attitude and Motivation

  • Brand Image
  • Hedonic and Utilitarian Consumption
  • Mental Processing and Decision-Making

Emotions, Feelings and Moods

  • Consumer-Brand Relationships (e.g. Brand Love)
  • Consumption Experiences
  • How feelings drive judgement and purchase intentions

Stereotyping, identity and intergroup behavior

  • Ethnocentrism, animosity, disidentification, cosmopolitanism
  • Brand Personality
  • Consumer Culture Theory

Evolutionary psychology

  • How evolutionary needs influence consumer behavior
  • Luxury consumption
  • Sexual signaling consumption


Teaching methods
Classes include elements of lectures, class discussions, group discussions, and project work emphasizing key psychology concepts. Active and constructive participation in class discussions and group work is expected in addition to weekly readings.
Feedback during the teaching period
The students will get feedback in class discussions, during and after the project. The course also relies on student to student feedback during the group discussions.
Student workload
Preparation for class 123 hours
In class 33 hours
Exam 50 hours
Expected literature

Selected texts from the course:


Aaker, J., Garbinsky, E. N., & Vohs, K. (2011). Cultivating admiration in brands: Warmth, competence, and landing in the 'Golden Quadrant'. Journal of Consumer Psychology.


Arnould, E. J., & Thompson, C. J. (2005). Consumer culture theory (CCT): Twenty years of research. Journal of Consumer research, 31(4), 868-882.


Batra, R., Ahuvia, A., & Bagozzi, R. P. (2012). Brand love. Journal of Marketing, 76(2), 1-16.


Dunn, E. W., Gilbert, D. T., & Wilson, T. D. (2011). If money doesn't make you happy, then you probably aren't spending it right. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 21(2), 115-125.


Fournier, S., & Alvarez, C. (2011). Brands as relationship partners: Warmth, competence, and in-between. Journal of Consumer Psychology.


Griskevicius, V., & Kenrick, D. T. (2013). Fundamental motives: How evolutionary needs influence consumer behavior. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 23(3), 372-386.


Josiassen, A. (2011). Consumer disidentification and its effects on domestic product purchases: An empirical investigation in the Netherlands. Journal of Marketing, 75(2), 124-140.


Klein, J. G., Ettenson, R., & Morris, M. D. (1998). The animosity model of foreign product purchase: An empirical test in the People's Republic of China. The Journal of Marketing, 89-100.


Pham, M. T. (2004). The logic of feeling. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 14(4).


Wang, Y., & Griskevicius, V. (2014). Conspicuous consumption, relationships, and rivals: Women's luxury products as signals to other women. Journal of Consumer Research, 40(5), 834-854.

Last updated on 19-06-2017