The various aspects of social psychology could be
examined within the wide concepts of intelligence, gender, advertising, consumer culture, stress and psychological issues
that define society. Considering consumer behaviour, social psychology uses convincing theories to explain addictive consumption,
the influence of advertising and the phenomenon of purchasing.
Advertising is seen as a subtle psychological manipulation
as it creates desires and anxiety in the potential consumers (Papers4you.com, 2006). Advertising can have both psychological
and commercial aspects including misattribution, bias, suggestibility, and could be studied from global or local perspectives.
Organisational consumption is seen as different from individual consumption although generic psychological theories of human
motivation such as that of Maslow and Freud can explain consumer behaviour. However consumer behaviour can also be studied
in terms of the notion of quality and its relation to customer satisfaction (Silva et al, 2005). The objective measures of
customer needs, pricing and expectations of the customers may have to be analysed within Service Quality or Expectations models.
Hogg and Garrow (2003) highlighted on the psychological aspects of gender and the influence on consumption of advertising.
Advertising has been found to be processed and interpreted
differently according to gender schemas and perceptions. This would in turn relate to psychological theories of gender such
as the theory of biological determinism, Freudian theory of personality development, cognitive-developmental theory, and feminist
theories. Bridging the gap between gender studies and gender differences in consumption could provide us with new insights
on social and psychological aspects of consumer behavior. Orth (2005) indicated that consumer behaviour largely depends on
consumer personality and susceptibility to interpersonal influence, consumer situational disposition such as risk taking and
curiosity, purchasing behaviour and purchasing frequency and demographic variables such as age and gender.
Contemporary consumer culture could be studied in
relation to an excessive emphasis on beauty and appearance and an obsession with youth, a phenomenon that has seen an increased
dependence on cosmetic surgery. The increased importance of the body in the consumer culture could be studied along with the
significance of appearance in modern society, the role of marketing and advertising images, and the psychological need for
self-expression (Papers4you.com, 2006).
Social psychology is however focused not just on
consumption and public attitudes on advertising, but also on group behaviour, general individual and collective attitudes
towards various social issues including war, work, violence and quality of life. This would in turn explain how individuals
deal with stress, and focus on the psychological consequences of stress. Although psychological disorders may in some cases
be a direct result of social stress, deviant behaviour in society could be explained with the help of several theories such
as the theory of subcultures by Parker, the structural strain theory by Merton, or the theory of conformity. Social psychology
is thus focused on explaining a wide range of issues from advertising and consumer behavior to public attitudes on social
issues and antisocial behaviour.
Hogg M.K.; Garrow J. (2003) Gender, identity and
the consumption of advertising Qualitative Market Research: An International
Journal, Volume 6, Number 3, June, pp. 160-174(15)
Orth, Ulrich R.(2005) Consumer personality and other
factors in situational brand choice variation The Journal of Brand Management, Volume 13, Number 2, November, pp. 115-133(19)
Papers For You (2006) "P/M/510. Advertising: means
of psychological manipulation", Available from http://www.coursework4you.co.uk/sprtpsy3.htm [22/06/2006]
Papers For You (2006) "P/M/646. Causes of addictive
consumption in modern society", Available from http://www.coursework4you.co.uk/sprtpsy3.htm [21/06/2006]
Silva Jr, Nelson da; Lírio, Daniel Rodrigues (2005)
The postmodern re-codification of perversion: On the production of consumer behavior and its libidinal grammar International
Forum of Psychoanalysis, Volume 14, Numbers 3-4, Number 3-4/December, pp. 217-223(7)