Topics That Inspire Our Students: Consumer Psychology

Psychology with Placement Year BSc student Dawn discusses her experience of learning about consumer psychology at Kent.

Having a growing interest in the underlying factors to why advertising appeals to people, I was hoping to learn about such topics during my Psychology degree. With this, I decided to enrol myself into the Business Psychology: An Introduction module in first year. But beforehand, I would like to touch on other aspects of my degree that contributed to my ever-growing knowledge of this field!

Modules such as Introduction to Social and Developmental Psychology in first year and The Social Psychology of Groups/The Individual in second year touched on topics that relate to marketing and psychology. For instance, we covered the techniques and underlying mechanisms that make persuasion successful in media messages; as well as cognitive biases people commit that may make a persuasive attempt unsuccessful. I enjoyed exploring this topic further in my coursework by looking at the research conducted in this area as well as its applications to marketing messages and interventions.

One memorable aspect of my degree was a lecture about the neuroscience behind economic behaviour. A very intriguing lecture; revealing associations between the levels of activations between certain brain regions and economic behaviour such as co-operating in prisoner dilemmas. I was most fascinated by learning how self-control is regulated by the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and how the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and striatum makes up our “reward system” that makes us gravitate towards immediate rewards. While this was only covered in one lecture, it is really memorable to me and made me more interested in neuroscience and neuroeconomics overall.

I also chose a wild module Managers and Organisations in first year, which touched on theories and other factors that influence management. While this was a module from Kent Business School, there were elements of Psychology within. I learned about factors that drive the effectiveness of teams and groups in work, as well as diversity in the workplace. Some of my previous/later lectures in the year/degree pertain to these topics, for example, the hidden profile problem in effective group decision making. These elements were also discussed in my spring wild module Business Psychology. Here, we had fascinating lectures exploring topics like ageism and leadership in the workplace, motivation theories, elements of psychology in job assessment and selection, and more. 

With this, the poster assignment/competition in the module remains one of my favourite University experiences pertaining to business/consumer psychology. Firstly, I appreciated the experience of liaising with local business organisations and dealing with real-life business challenges. Not only did it allow opportunities for students to network and gain more in-depth knowledge about the current issues faced by businesses, but it was assessed by poster presentation in a conference-style event at University. I particularly enjoyed our business challenge which prompted us to examine other methods of marketing beyond gamification, given the rise of ad blockers. The poster allowed me and my group to learn about advertising techniques and their psychological elements more thoroughly, as well as enhance our professionalism through creating a conference-style poster (we had no prior experience before), and presenting our poster at the event! All in all, I really enjoyed the hands-on and application-based approach of assessment and learning.

Overall, I hope the University continues to provide more opportunities to learn about consumer psychology. The knowledgeable, engaging, and passionate lecturers across my degree have enhanced my curiosity and interest in these topics and have also made other previously-unfamiliar topics more intriguing to me.

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