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Consumer Psychology

  • Teacher(s):   F.Petersen  
  • Course given in: English
  • ECTS Credits: 6 credits
  • Schedule: Spring Semester 2022-2023, 4.0h. course (weekly average)
  •  sessions
  • site web du cours course website
  • Related programmes:
    Master of Science (MSc) in Management, Orientation Strategy, Organization and Leadership

    Master of Science (MSc) in Management, Orientation Business Analytics

    Master of Science (MSc) in Management, Orientation Marketing

    Maîtrise universitaire ès Sciences en management, Orientation Behaviour, Economics and Evolution
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Consumer Psychology is a social science-based discipline that aims at understanding why consumers think, feel, and behave the way they do. This course will expose you to some key topics studied in consumer psychology (although far from comprehensive, given that this literature is vast and interdisciplinary).

The goal of the course is to help you to:

  • Get acquainted with academic articles in consumer research, while acquiring an overview of major theories and research findings in consumer psychology
  • Study a topic of your choice in more depth
  • Understand how companies apply these theories and findings

You will be required to complete the readings prior to the class. Each week we will discuss a consumer psychology topic, focusing on the readings assigned to that week. The readings will be mostly academic articles in marketing, psychology or related areas, in addition to media articles, cases, book chapters or other readings that will either illustrate the application of the concept or provide you with an overview of the topic. You will form small groups and will be assigned at least one paper to present to the class and lead the discussion (i.e., prepare discussion points). Although structured, these discussions will be rather informal and spontaneous (and often surprising and fun). Be prepared to interact and participate substantially. We’re all here to learn, all questions (and all answers) are valid.

Last but not least, we will also discuss applications of these theories and findings in practice, in addition to completing hands-on exercises to apply the learnings.

Note on attendance: due to the nature of this course, attendance is highly important. The utility you’ll get from the class discussion is irreplaceable (i.e., an occasional recording of the class cannot replace your live participation in the discussion).


We will cover several theories that will be examined in light of several themes.

For example:

  • Behavioral research methods and writing
  • Reason and emotion (the influence of affective states)
  • Conscious and unconscious processing (perception and attention)
  • Identity (personality and fit)
  • Motivation and self-regulation (goal pursuit, self-control)
  • Decision making and context effects
  • Social/interpersonal influence
  • Socio-economic status, scarcity/abundance of resources
  • Altruistic/moral behavior
  • Sustainable consumption (attitudes, persuasion, and behavioral change)
  • Consumer happiness and well-being
  • Luxury and indulgent consumption
  • Consumer experience
  • Brand relationships


Articles and other material, as well as recommended books, will be available on the course’s Moodle.

We will read several required articles or book chapters each week and I will share a list of additional recommended readings.

Moodle key: CP2023


  • Enough understanding of “research methods” (e.g., a course at bachelor or master level)
  • Though not a formal requirement, a Consumer Behavior course at the bachelor or master level will help because we will not re-define basic concepts, we will use them.
  • This course is limited to 50 students. Preference will be given to MSc. students specializing in Marketing.
  • If you would like to embark in this journey, please submit a motivation statement to Prof. Francine Petersen at by Feb 20th and attend the first class.


First attempt

Without exam (cf. terms)  
  1. 40% In-class presentation and discussion of articles (groups of 2)
  2. 60% Proposal (~mid-semester) and Final paper (in groups of 2-3; PhD students should work individually and develop the method)

Deadlines will be on the course’s Moodle.

Note: All written work will be checked for academic fraud (cheating and plagiarism).


Without exam (cf. terms)  

Students are allowed a second attempt to course evaluation, following the guidelines of the University. Students are allowed to retake a justified missed evaluation.

  1. 40% Individual review of articles and preparation of discussion questions
  2. 60% Individual Proposal and Final paper

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