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A History of Personality Psychology: Part 2

A History of Personality Psychology: Part 2

In Part 1 of A History of Personality Psychology, we chronicled the development of the biological and theoretical basis for the existence of human personality. From the musings of Hippocrates and Plato to the tragic yet enlightening tamping rod accident suffered by Phineas Gage, psychology has come a long way in establishing the validity of personality. Shifting away from establishing the existence of personality, Part 2 of the history of personality psychology will be focused on the structure of personality.

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How the Weather Impacts Your Work Habits and Buying Behavior


We all know the weather outside can tremendously impact our daily outlook on life, but what role does it play in our buying behavior and work habits? We associate sunshine with happiness and stormy weather with bad moods and misfortune. Indeed, there is no dearth of research supporting the fact that the forecast can significantly influence individuals’ mood and temperament. For example, increased sunshine is associated with better moods and an increased willingness to help others, and there is a mood disorder -- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) -- characterized by depressive symptoms brought on by the winter months. It’s pretty much common sense in today’s day and age that nice weather makes us happy, but can it actually affect our daily behavior? The answer, it turns out, is yes, and researchers are working to figure out exactly how and why.

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Psych4Marketers: Emotions and Advertising

Psych4Marketers: Emotions and Advertising

In a previous blog post, I wrote about the impact of emotions on shopping behavior. More specifically, I discussed how an individual’s current emotional state can influence their perception of advertising and other marketing tools. However, emotions are not just something consumers bring to the table; advertisements themselves frequently elicit emotional responses, which the ad creators hope will increase the viewer’s desire to purchase whatever is being advertised. Indeed, there are several “go-to” methods -- appeals to certain emotions -- that are regularly employed. But as the field of consumer behavior advances, more is becoming revealed about the particular limits of these favorite methods. In this post I will unpack three of these methods, explain when and why they are potentially useful and discuss their ultimate limits.

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A History of Personality Psychology: Part 1

A History of Personality Psychology: Part 1

Section I: General Chronology and Driving Forces of Personality

The history of personality psychology dates as far back as Ancient Greece. Indeed, philosophers since the 4th Century BCE have been trying to define exactly what it is that makes us us. In 370 BCE, Hippocrates proposed two pillars of temperament: hot/cold and moist/dry, resulting in four humors or combinations of these qualities. The hot and dry combination was referred to as yellow bile, cold and dry as black bile, hot and wet was blood and cold and wet was phlegm. Though much of the work that arose from this theory of the Four Humors was medicinal in nature, it was also hypothesized a patient's personality could be influenced by humoral imbalances.

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3 Marketing Lessons from Evolutionary Psychology


3 Marketing Lessons from Evolutionary Psychology

Throughout high school we all paid our dues and learned the basics. These basic classes, (whether it be American History or Biology) provided a foundation for our future education that ultimately would help us chose a career path. During my time in high school, math and science came easy to me, and I spent my free time working in labs doing research to better understand how to apply what I was learning, and decided to major in Evolutionary Biology (with an emphasis on Psychology) in college. Though I am grateful for my education and various lab experiences, I eventually realized the world of academia and research is not necessarily for me. As I now transition from academia to the business world, I am realizing that much of what I’ve learned from biology and evolutionary psychology -- two fields that people might view as unrelated to business and marketing -- is anything but unrelated. Many of the topics in these academic fields can provide new perspectives in the workplace when trying to solve real world problems. Evolutionary psychologists may not be the first people you’d expect to provide insight into the world of marketing, but I’ve extrapolated three ideas from my coursework in this area that I’ve found extremely valuable in daily marketing routines.

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The Psychology of Music: Why Music Plays a Big Role in What You Buy

The Psychology of Music: Why Music Plays a Big Role in What You Buy

Research suggests there seems to be three qualities of music that can influence buying behavior in a retail environment: tempo, volume and genre. The individual effects we will see in each of these can be explained by Mehrabian and Russell’s model of pleasure-arousal-dominance (PAD). At its most basic level, this model posits that an environment can alter an individual’s mood and therefore behavior by altering levels of pleasure, arousal and/or dominance through different channels. We will use this framework to explain how music impacts buying behavior in a store environment.

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What is Priming? A Psychological Look at Priming & Consumer Behavior

What is Priming? A Psychological Look at Priming & Consumer Behavior

As you’ve probably realized, various tenets of psychology are crucial to effective marketing. After all, psychology is about understanding human behavior and marketing is about applying that knowledge. There are many factors that influence this behavior, and while at least part of the human decision-making process is conscious, many of these factors influence behavior at a nonconscious level. As we have discussed previously on this blog, personality traits can serve as nonconscious motivations of behavior. In this post, I will introduce the psychological concept of priming, which can also have not-so-subtle influences on human behavior.

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