Evolutionary Consumer Psychology

Course Description

This course was designed by me from the sketch and taught during Winter 2019. It is a 15 week-long, 3-credit course.

An evolutionary psychology perspective concentrates on the adaptive function of a behavior. With no doubts, the everyday consumer behavior is among them. Different from traditional studies, Evolutionary Consumer Psychology proposes a brand new insight into understanding what, how, why and when consumers need and consume in a way that connects the ancestral social challenges and current motives and preferences.

I designed this course to help students learn the nature and the scope of the evolutionary influences on the present-day market strategies, consumer motives, product design, advertising, and media, through lecture, discussion and debates, experiments, data, practice, activities, and readings.

This unique course invites you to unfold: 1) the scientific basis of evolutionary consumer psychology; 2) the fundamental evolutionary social motives underpin the spending; 3) the Darwin aesthetics of the design of the product; 4) the signaling function of the branding and consumption; 5) the critique of and comments on evolutionary theories; 6) acquire methods and tools to explore and develop research in evolutionary consumer psychology.

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 evolutionary motives in marketing.

Week 9-12 analyzes the real-world applications of evolutionary consumer psychology in improving marketing campaign effectiveness.

Week 13-15 concludes the entire course.


End-of-class photo
All slides in this course & Four students-project slides (right-bottom)
Group work on Evolutionary Consumer Psychology EXPO design

Student Evaluation

Anonymous feedback from students in this class:

  • “Tingting Liu was great and open–minded. I thoroughly enjoyed taking this course with her and would recommend her as a professor.
  • “I really enjoyed this course. Tingting is an excellent professor and I am very excited to see all of the wonderful things she will do. My experience in this course has been great and I would love to take more classes with Tingting
  • “Tingting was an excellent instructor who was always happy to meet with her students outside of class, and put in a great amount of effort preparing this course. The course material was interesting, and Tingting’s methods of teaching were engaging and helpful in learning.
  • “This course covered heavy material, but Tingting did a great job teaching and presenting the information that was easy to understand and comprehend. I took away a lot more than I thought I would from this class and I think the structure of this class was great.
  • “Tingting is a great instructor! She explains concepts very clearly.
  • “Tingting was very enthusiastic and knowledgable! Not the most interesting material for me, but she was excellent and really put a lot of work into the course!
  • “I had a lot of background in evolutionary biology and psychology coming into this course, so I understood all of the topics we discussed. Tingting was always prepared for class and posed good activities and discussions to supplement her lecture material. She also asked us to apply what we learned rather than just recite it, so it better–reflected upper–level and real–life thinking of this topic.

See my other teaching experiences: