Traditionally, marketing can be oversimplified as a tale of two approaches, one consisting of the quantitative analysis of markets and their participants, the other the application of theories from the behavioral sciences (primarily psychology, and to some extent sociology and anthropology) to the study of consumer behavior. These days are over: Increasingly, quantitative modelers are realizing the importance of behavioral constructs, and the study consumer behavior has become increasingly rigorous, addressing and in some cases questioning the assumptions made by quantitative modeling. Simply put, the goal of this course is to prepare you for a research career that can meaningfully combine both approaches.
To do this, the course should do two things:
(1) Expose all participants, even those whose research interests will not primarily be in consumer behavior, behavioral economics, cognitive and social psychology to basic concepts in the area. This should provide them both with "cultural literacy” and the knowledge of the available concepts and tools in consumer research.
(2) Provide the opportunity for you to discover areas of interest, and to become an expert in these areas.
An ancillary goal is to provide you with an understanding of behavioral research methodology. We will read articles not just for their conceptual content, but also as case studies of the decisions that a researcher makes in designing a study. Thus your reading of empirical studies should pay attention to methodological details, as well as to the results. Your understanding of the content of the articles will be tested during in-class discussion. Our goal is constructive criticism.
Norman Eig Professor of Business
Eric Johnson is a faculty member at the Columbia Business School at Columbia University where he is the inaugural holder of the Norman Eig Chair of Business, and Director of the Center for Decision Sciences. His research examines the interface between Behavioral Decision Research, Economics and the decisions made by consumers, managers, and their implications for public policy, markets and marketing. Among other topics...