Course topic by week

Week 1-3 introduces the basic knowledge to succeed in this course.

Week 4-5 discusses some commonly discussed topics in evolutionary psychology and their implications in marketing.

Week 6-8 illustrates the fundamental motives in evolutionary psychology and their marketing importance. These motives include: (1) evading physical harm, (2) avoiding disease, (3) making friends, (4) attaining status, (5) acquiring a mate, (6) keeping a mate, and (7) caring for family.

Week 9-12 uses real-world examples to demonstrate the importance of evolutionary consumer psychology in improving marketing campaign effectiveness.

Week 13-15 concludes the entire course and gives students opportunities to digest this course using small research projects.

Week 1:

Overall introduction.

Introduction of the instructor and overview of course requirements, grading policy, rubrics, and overall scope of this course.

Week 2:

Introduction to basic psychology of marketing and evolutionary perspective.

Leading audiences to walk through some necessary concepts, theories, and general knowledge as an aid to learn the following topics.

Week 3:

Introduction to basic research methods.

What is the hypothesis, how to test a hypothesis in general, pros and cons of different research methods, what is the general research processes)

Week 4:

Sexual preference and gender differences.

Why do we need to study gender differences?  Any difference in mate preference and physical attractiveness? Possible difference in shopping habits and navigation skills, and how is that related to marketing campaigns.

Week 5:

Menstrual cycle and consumption choices.

The proximate cause of the menstrual cycle. Hypotheses related to ovulatory competition. Influences from the menstrual cycle on mate-related preference, food, diet, dress, beauty products, and comedy preference.

Week 6:

Romantic partner attraction and retention, costly signaling system and conspicuous consumption.

Introduce the mate attraction motivation and theory behind it. Discuss the application of such motivation on advertising, seasonal promotion, and other marketing campaigns.

Week 7:

Self-protection and disease-avoidance.

Self-protection motivation alerts us to evade physical danger to remain safe. Such motivation could be triggered by diverse factors and lead to a preference for loss aversion and certain brand selection. Disease avoidance also could alter consumers’ perception of ads, branding, and some particular types of products.

Week 8:

Friendship, affiliation, and family care.

Why do we need friends? When do we need friends? These motivations facilitated consumers to choose some products/brands over others. Affiliation motivation could spur behaviors to make new friends, which might be very important to some social networking platforms, i.e., Facebook, Instagram.

Week 9:

Influence on aesthetics of product design.

What is beauty? What is the beauty defined by evolution? We introduce two hypotheses to explain these definitions and metrics to evaluate beauty. The implication of darwin aesthetics will be discussed using examples of Starbucks, brand logos, product design, and packaging.

Week 10:

Branding as a signal of product quality.

Why is branding so important? Who will be the audience of brands’ signals? What will be the salient information for every party? What is the evolutionary origin of branding and how can we improve branding effectively?

Week 11:

Financial products and risk.

Human beings are not rational. Any consumption-related pursuits? Will men always be risky? Implications in advertising?

Week 12:

Other marketing applications, for example, computer game design.

Why video games? How does it relate to evolution? What motivates players to play (with a substantial amount of time and money)? Two major genres (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG) & First Person Shooters (FPS)) will be discussed in terms of consumer segmentation and motivations.

Week 13:

Critique, summary, and review of evolutionary psychology.

Week 14:

Group project presentation

Week 15:

Group project presentation