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Module PCP-4004:
Consumer Psychology: Theory

Module Facts

Run by School of Psychology

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Caroline Bowman

Overall aims and purpose

This course aims to provide students with an advanced insight into the role of psychology in consumer science. Through a diverse range of lectures and assessments, students will understand consumer behaviour in terms of psychological theory and will explore and evaluate recent research findings in order to apply this understanding.

Course content

Content of the course includes:

Introduction to Consumer Psychology: Welcome, course outline (including assessments), and what is consumer psychology?

Flavours of Research: How the major research domains within psychology impact upon understanding consumer behaviour

The Motivated Consumer I & II: Motivated choice, changes in motivational state, reward-related learning, implicit influences on behaviour

Brands: From what they are to developing brand loyalty

Advertising: Applying psychological understanding to success within advertising

Attention: Salience, development and enhancement (with a focus on the effects of video gaming)

Decision-making: Emotion or reason?

Revision session: Preparation for the final exam

Assessment Criteria


Good would approximate to the B grades:

Blogs & Exam: Student provided a comprehensive response. Material was well-organised and well-structured. There was clear evidence of a good understanding of the material, and that a deeper understanding of material presented in lectures had been achieved due to relevant further reading and self-study. There was some evidence of appropriate critical evaluation and discussion, and some evidence of novel synthesis between psychology and the consumer world was presented.


Excellent would approximate to the A grades:

Blogs & Exam: Student provided a comprehensive and accurate response, with sound clarity of argument and expression. Distinction-level answers evidenced a depth of insight into material presented in lectures, and relevant further and additional reading. Appropriate critical evaluation of evidence and discussion of material supported all responses. Novel application of psychological understanding to consumer issues was clearly evident (synthesis) throughout response(s), and was relevant, appropriate and interesting.


Threshold would approximate to the C grades:

Blogs & Exam: Student provided an adequate response, but answers were largely based on lecture material and essential reading, with no real development of arguments, critical evaluation or evidence of study beyond the basics (basics = lecture material and essential reading). Structure and organisation of material was adequate.

Learning outcomes

  1. Working knowledge of a range of consumer research techniques.

  2. Understanding of consumer problems faced by commercial organisations.

  3. Advanced understanding of the application of psychological theory in the understanding of consumer behaviour.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
INDIVIDUAL BLOG Blogging Assignment

Students will submit a weekly blog throughout semester 1 (8 blogs will be submitted in total). Blogs will examine topics of interest to students from within the consumer world, and each blog will be explored in terms of psychological theory and research. Each blog will be around 300 words in length (no specific word count). Students will also interact with blogs written by others from the class, and will respond to those blogs by leaving comments. Final blog grade will be comprised of a composite grade from half of the submitted weekly blogs, and this grade will be moderated by an engagement grade calculated by assessing quality of comments left on other blogs. All blogs and comments will be submitted by December 18th.

EXAM Final Exam

Students will sit this online exam during the assessment period in January 2021. The exam will be in two sections: Section 1: Students will answer 3 from 6 'unseen' short-answer questions. Answers will be around half of one A4 side of paper in length. Questions will assess breadth of knowledge from across the module. Section 2: Students will answer 2 from 6 'seen' essay questions. Answers will be around 2-3 A4 sides of paper in length. Answers will showcase specialist knowledge acquired from studying specific topics in depth, and will illustrate an advanced understanding of psychological theory and its application to consumer behaviour.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


FEEDBACK SESSIONS: To support weekly lectures, students may voluntarily attend one-hour weekly drop-in sessions which will run online via Blackboard Collaborate. Students may attend sessions if they require support with regard to any aspect of the course. Sessions will be student-led so that students have the opportunity to receive feedback specific to their own progress and achievement. Students should note that during feedback sessions the lecturer will not cover new content, summarise entire lectures that students may have missed, or read blog entries or 'seen' essays in entirety.


Weekly two-hour lectures will take place across the semester, and a revision lecture will be delivered at the end of the lecture series (week 6 is reading week and there are no psychology lectures in reading week). Lectures will cover core content and will be delivered in a traditional style. The revision lecture will re-examine key topics, and in addition to helping students prepare for the final exam, 'seen' final exam essay questions will be released in this session. NOTE: Lectures are scheduled to be delivered live on campus in a room that enables social distancing. All lectures will be recorded and posted online each week. If government guidelines change, then lectures will be moved to live online delivery.

Private study

Students should expect to complete 169 hours of self-study in order to achieve the learning outcomes for this module. Self-study will take the form of essential (+ further and additional) reading, blog and comment writing, and preparation for the oral presentation and the final exam. In addition to attending classes and voluntary feedback sessions (as required), students should be spending approximately 14 hours each week during term-time engaging in blog-writing, reading and revision for this module.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Understand the scientific underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.
  • Apply multiple perspectives to psychological issues and integrate ideas and findings across the multiple perspectives in psychology.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in written form.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in oral form.
  • Be computer literate for the purpose of processing and disseminating psychological data and information.
  • Retrieve and organise information effectively.
  • Handle primary source material critically.
  • Engage in effective teamwork for the purpose of collaborating on psychological projects.
  • Be sensitive and react appropriately to contextual and interpersonal psychological factors.
  • Use effectively personal planning and project management skills.
  • Work effectively under pressure (time pressure, limited resources, etc) as independent and pragmatic learners.
  • Problem-solve by clarifying questions, considering alternative solutions, making critical judgements, and evaluating outcomes.
  • Reason scientifically and demonstrate the relationship between theory and evidence.
  • Understand and investigate the role of brain function in all human behaviour and experience.
  • Comprehend and use psychological data effectively, demonstrating a systematic knowledge of the application and limitations of various research paradigms and techniques.
  • Employ evidence-based reasoning and examine practical, theoretical and ethical issues associated with the use of different methodologies, paradigms and methods of analysis in psychology.
  • Be aware of ethical principles and approval procedures.


Courses including this module

Optional in courses: