Student guide Faculty of Economics A.Y. 2010/11

Psychology of consumption
Aim of the course
The three principal learning objectives of the course are to:
<!--[if !supportlists]-->·        <!--[endif]-->Familiarise students with the modern approaches to studying customer psychology.
<!--[if !supportlists]-->·        <!--[endif]-->Investigate the new methods for sociological and psychological analysis of the main purchasing processes.
<!--[if !supportlists]-->·        <!--[endif]-->Analyse the methodologies and the most relevant case histories of the Italian and international market.
Psychological analysis of the market - and in particular of demand - is becoming an ever more important tool for understanding the competitive functioning of modern markets. At a general level, economics and business administration attribute ever more importance to a deep understanding of the cognitive and emotive processes underlying economic choices. Demand theory has always constituted the weak link of economic theories, in that it necessarily demands an interdisciplinary approach. The behaviour of customers can be read and interpreted in many ways, drawing on disciplines such as statistics, sociology, anthropology, economic geography, etc. The introductory part of the course expands upon the fundamental ideas of social psychology, with particular emphasis on the applications specific to the world of marketing. The central part of the course is then devoted to illustrating and commenting on the main methods for interpretative analysis of the Customer Mind and Customer Behaviour in the principal markets. The most important methods employed for the psychological analysis of customers and for the design of new offerings are therefore also illustrated and commented. Students will be involved through "active" learning techniques in the discussion of case studies and role playing activities. At the end of the course, particular focus will be placed on the psychological aspects of customer behaviour in the face of the novel opportunities offered by the Internet and web based technologies.
1. Introduction to the course.
2. The logical and theoretical foundations of social psychology.
3. Relationship between social psychology and market economics.
4. Relationship between social psychology and marketing.
5. Different approaches to the study of customer psychology.
6. Different approaches to the study of customer psychology: the Zaltman approach.
7. Psychological analysis of customer behaviour: mind, brain, behaviour.    
8. Relationships between customer thinking and company thinking.
9. New methods of psychological and sociological analysis of demand
10. Scenario studies: the socio-cultural context in which the firm operates.
11. Potentialities and attractions of a market as a function of customer habits and attitudes.
12. Concept design of a new offering.
13. Concept test analysis methods.
14. Product test and packaging test analysis methods.
15. Communication and copy test analysis methods.
16. Communication effectiveness analysis methods.
17. Case histories
The exam for attending students will consist of two written tests lasting one hour each.
Reading list
Zaltman G. [2003] Come pensano i consumatori, Milano, Etas.
Study materials produced by the lecturers and made available on the university website at the end of the lessons.
Wallace P. [2000], La psicologia di Internet, Milano, Raffaello Cortina Editori.