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Instructor: David Campbell
Office: 444 BSS
Office Hours: Wed 8:00-11:30
Web site: users.humboldt.edu/decampbell/psyc.htm
Textbooks: (You must purchase the current edition of the Solomon text.)
Solomon, M.R. (2013). Consumer behavior. (10th edition)
In addition to our main text by Solomon,you will need one of these two supplementary texts for your book review assignment:
Schlosser, E. (2002). Fast food nation: The dark side of the
Pollan, M. (2006). Omnivore’s dilemma. New York: Penguin.
We are all consumers. We all must decide daily how to spend our precious time and money. This course is designed to shed light on why we behave as we do in the role of consumers. We examine the role of advertising and marketing campaigns in shifting our choices. We also analyze how our collective actions contribute to and shape our contemporary culture. But this course goes beyond understanding of ourselves and of those around us. Virtually everyone in the class will spend much of their adult lives working in some context. The fruit of this labor will be some combination of products, services, and information that a target group will consider desirable. If efforts are not made to study and understand the perceived needs of potential "customers," then there is a very real risk that the productive labor will fail. The ideas and information encountered in this course will have direct value in helping students to become successful in their chosen careers. While covering this information, we must be mindful that there is a "dark side" to consumer behavior. Persuasive advertising and effective marketing can result in addictions and destructive behavior that raise disturbing questions regarding our materialistic values. We will confront this dark side and debate the implications for our way of life.
The work in this course facilitates the attainment of the Psychology Department’s goals to: (1) demonstrate knowledge in the social and interpersonal processes area of psychological science, (2) demonstrate effective communication skills, effective interpersonal skills, increased self-understanding, and insight into the behavior of others, (3) apply your knowledge and skills in psychology to improve your own life and the lives of others.
The assignments in this course also help in the attainment of three basic HSU learning objectives: (1) effective communication through written and oral modes, (2) critical and creative thinking skills in acquiring a broad base of knowledge and applying it to complex issues, and (3) competence in a major area of study.
Since this class is being taught via the internet, we will not have traditional face-to-face meetings. You must do the assigned reading and submit homework assignments as you would in a traditional class. And you will have several exams over the course material—all completed over the web except for the final exam. Beyond that, much of your work in this course will be in the form of participation in a “virtual” class discussion. Frequently during the week, you will be expected to logon to Moodle and contribute to the discussion using a bulletin board format. This will require a fair amount of your time, but if done conscientiously, you will find that the class debate and discussion is one of the most interesting parts of the whole course. The expectation is that you will spend a total 3-4 hours each week participating in class discussion (note that we are using the time you would normally spend going to, waiting for, and sitting through lectures each week). As a rough guide, you can expect to spend 9 hours/week in work associated with this course (an application of the "2 for 1 rule").
25% of your course grade will be based on weekly quizzes over the assigned reading. Please don't ask for make-up opportunities; these quizzes must be completed by the scheduled due dates (normally by Friday midnight).
20% of your grade will be determined by your participation in group discussion. Log on frequently, participate fully, and you will do well with this part of your responsibilities.
15% of the grade will be based on a narrated slide presentation of a topic chosen by you. This will be an individual project. Detailed instructions will be provided but think of this as a short (6-8 minute) presentation based on 15-20 PowerPoint slides.
15% will be determined by your book review of one of the supplementary textbooks assigned this semester.
25% is left for your final exam. This will be a comprehensive multiple-choice test taken online and based on the textbook reading assigned during the semester.
You are expected to tackle this course in a constructive and mature manner. Your goal should be to find out what psychology and related disciplines know about consumer thinking and behavior. It is expected that you will logon to our course site frequently and will participate fully in the class activities. Also, be sure to review the HSU policy on academic honesty. You need to be aware of what constitutes cheating and plagiarism (e.g., is it OK to turn in essentially the same paper in two classes with similar assignments, or is it OK to make use of quizzes provided by your roommate from the same class last semester?).
You can earn extra credit in this course by participating in one or two hours of research as a participant (subject). To sign up for experiments, you need to first create an account in the participation pool system. Instructions are available at http://www.humboldt.edu/psychology/pool/poolinfo.html Extra credit in this course does not carry a specific point value but it will be helpful if you are between two course grades at the end of the semester.
of Topics and
Week Topic Solomon
Aug 26 Introduction 1
Sept 2 Perception 2
Sept 9 Learning & Memory 3
16 Motivation & Global Values 4
23 The Self 5
30 Personality & Psychographics 6
Oct 7 Attitudes & Persuasion 7
14 Decision Making 8
21 Buying & Disposing 9
Organizational & Household Decision Making
10 Presentation topic description & two
sources due Saturday
Nov 4 Groups & Social
Class & Lifestyles
18 Subcultures 13
25 Thanksgiving Break --
Dec 2 Culture 14
9 Completion of
presentation & book review
Tuesday, Comments due Saturday, Book Review due Sunday
Finals Week (Dec 16-20) Comprehensive final exam must be taken on Thursday (online).