module specification

PY7155 - The Consumer Environment (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18, but may be subject to modification
Module title The Consumer Environment
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 200
3 hours Placement / study abroad
149 hours Guided independent study
48 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Mini-project Website (4000 words)
Coursework 50%   Mini-project (Experience) 4000 words
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module aims at developing a critical awareness and understanding of external stimuli in the consumer environment. In addition, the syllabus is examining the consumer psychology factors that impact the consumer environment via the analysis of current theories and methodologies that may inform this process.  Taking Marr's computational model of perception as a basis for consumer 'experience', the way in which x-modal information is synthesised is examined. How the consumer environment delivers information into the sensory channels is analysed. This covers a range of environmental stimuli, from retail interiors, to packaging design, and includes an analysis of advertising effectiveness.

Module aims

The module gives the student an understanding of how consumer perception works, and how it can be influenced at different levels (i.e., environmental, cognitive, social). Students will develop techniques to analyse visual material and uncover how distal and proximate cues in the environment influence consumer behaviour. The module will develop students' understanding of the relationship between environmental features and the consumers’ aesthetic evaluations (of environments, advertising, packaging and products). This module will enable students to acquire a practical and theoretical understanding of how established consumer psychology techniques of advanced research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the area of retail behaviour and consumer psychology.


Perceptual processes; cross-modal experience. The collection, analysis and interpretation of visual material. Retail/Supermarket psychology. The difference between advertising effect and effectiveness. Features of the consumer environment that might influence aesthetic evaluations. Semiotic, dramaturgical, discourse analysis, content analysis and psychoanalytical approaches to analysing imagery. Environmental Psychology; how consumers impact upon the environment. Social environment; group influences. E-environment; factors influencing consumer behaviour on the web.

Learning and teaching

The course’s learning and teaching strategy follows the community of practice philosophy and the scientist-practitioner model. Therefore the module adopts a strong experiential learning focus and consists of seminars, practical workshops, presentation, class discussions and lectures.  Guest speakers/practitioners are often invited to lecture and lead sessions. There is a strong use of web based learning to support learning. In order to benefit from the module students will be expected to prepare work in advance for many of the sessions. Thus their time management, commitment to their studies and demonstration of professionalism with staff and colleagues will be a key to successful completion of this aspect of their course. As part of this module, students complete a self-learning log to include an evaluation of how this module has facilitated personal development and how they developed work psychology practitioner skills and the competencies.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  1. Critically analyse visual material using a variety of methods including semiology, dramaturgy and psychoanalytical approaches.
  2. Critically evaluate a range of theoretical and applied approaches for analysing advertising effectiveness.
  3. Design and manage research programs to investigate how environmental features contribute to the consumers' aesthetic experience.
  4. To evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and to propose new hypothesis and consumer psychology auditing methodologies
  5. Solve problems (i.e., consumer psychology case studies) in creative and innovative ways.

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy has a strong focus on developing both academic skills like critical thinking and problem solving, and the development of professional and applied skills. Students will be expected to submit two significant pieces of coursework to enable them to demonstrate achievement of the learning aims. Each will contain two sections. Both sections aim to assess the student’s ability to select and implement/apply appropriate interventions and academic theories in accordance with the client/project context and evaluate the implementations proposed. Each piece of coursework is assessed separately in accordance with current themes within the Business and Consumer Psychology.

Coursework 1: LO1-LO5
Coursework 2: LO1-LO5


Banks, M., 2007. Using Visual Data in Qualitative Research. Sage.
Batra, R., Seifert, C., & Brei, D. (Eds.). (2015). The Psychology of Design: Creating Consumer Appeal. Routledge. (Core)
Chaudhuri, A., 2006. Emotion and Reason in Consumer Behaviour. Elsevier.
Davies, B. D., 2007. Doing a Successful research project. Palgrave.
Brock, T. C. and Green, M. C., 2005. Persuasion: psychological insights and perspectives. Sage Publications.
Green, W. S. and Jordan, P. W., 2002. Pleasure with Products: beyond usability.
Haugtvedt, C. P., Herr P. M. and Kardes, F. R., 2008. Handbook of Consumer Psychology. Lawrence Erlbaum.
Haugtvedt, C. P., Machleit, K. A. and Yalch, R, 2005. Online Consumer Psychology: understanding and influencing consumer behaviour in the virtual world. L. Erlbaum.
Kahle, L. R. and Kim, C-H., 2006. Creating images and the psychology of marketing
communication. Lawrence Erlbaum.
Messaris, P., 1997. Visual Persuasion: the role of images in advertising. Sage.
Lowry, T. M., 2008. Brick and Mortar Shopping in the 21st Century. Lawrence Erlbaum.
Michaelidou, Nina, Nina Reynolds, Luke Greenacre, and Louise M. Hassan. "Cross-cultural and cross-national consumer research: psychology, behavior and beyond." International Marketing Review 32, no. 3/4 (2015).
Mitchell, A., 1993. Advertising exposure, memory and choice. L. Erlbaum.
O'Shaughnessy, J., 2004. Persuasion in advertising. Routledge. (Core)
Posavac, S. S. (2015). Cracking the Code: Leveraging Consumer Psychology to Drive Profitability. Routledge.
Prosser, J., 1998. Image-based Research. Routledge.
Rose, G., 2007. Visual Methodologies. Sage.
Scott, L. M. and Batra, R., 2002. Persuasive imagery: a consumer response perspective. Lawrence Erlbaum.
Shepherd, R. and Raats, M., 2006. The Psychology of Food Choice. CABI Pub.
Solomon, M. R. and Rabolt, N. J., 2004. Consumer Behaviour: in fashion. Prentice Hall.
Stafford, M. and Faber, R. J., 2005. Advertising, promotion and new media. Sharpe.
Wells, D., 1997. Measuring Advertising Effectiveness. Lawrence Erlbaum.
Indicative Journals:

Annual Review of Psychology
European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Journal of Applied Psychology
Journal of Organizational Behavior
Journal of Occupational & Organizational Psychology
Occupational Health
Journal of Consumer Psychology