Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)


Department: Economics, Finance and Business (Business)


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Marketing Management


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To enable students to:
  • understand consumer responses to the products and services of everyday life, and to the marketing of those products and services
  • display a critical knowledge of the central tenets of consumer psychology, together with its implications for marketing practice
  • apply and critically assess a broad range of psychological frameworks in the context of of contemporary business practice and the consumer society


  • The science of human nature may enlighten the world of marketing and consumerism, and vice versa. Building on the introduction to buyer behaviour in the Level 2 module 'Marketing Management', this module explores the latest research connecting the evolutionary psychology of human preferences, motivations and decision processes to the contemporary world of consumer behaviour, marketing, advertising, and the media.
  • The central theme of the module is the extent to which effective marketing can ever only really begin with a comprehensive understanding of how and why customers behave as they do.
  • Evolutionary origins of consumer preferences, tastes, and motivations.
  • The psychology of product recognition, branding and advertising.
  • Conspicuous consumption, costly signalling theory, romantic gift buying and human courtship.
  • Happiness, utility and fitness.
  • Advertising strategies and the "stone age brain".
  • Sex differences in consumer behaviour.
  • Fads, fashions, 'crazes', information cascades, etc.
  • Genes, memes and "viral" marketing.
  • Spatial cognition, landscape aesthetics, landscape products, and the leisure and tourism industries.
  • Intuitive cost/benefit/risk perception and the design of financial products.
  • The psychology of service industries and corporate public relations.
  • Darwinian aesthetics of new product development and design.
  • The design of news, entertainment, and education as "products".
  • The evolutionary psychology of computer games.
  • Darwin Goes to Hollywood - evolution and the global entertainment industry.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of the key perspectives in consumer psychology and the extent to which they shed light upon the nature of marketing and the modern consumer society.
  • Comprehensive understanding of consumer interactions with the products and services of everyday life, and with the marketing of those products and services.
  • The skills needed to apply psychological tools and frameworks within a marketing and consumer research context.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Assess and critique consumer behaviour and marketing practices from a range of theoretical and positional perspectives in evolutionary psychology
  • Demonstrate the ability to think independently, work individually and as part of a group to locate, assess and use information
  • Reflect on and better understand one's own behaviour in the roles of both consumer and prospective marketing manager
Key Skills:
  • Written communication - through summative assessment
  • Verbal communication - presentation skills, giving and receiving feedback in group assignment, class discussion
  • Computer literacy - word-processing and layout of summative essay, interrogation of electronic and web-based academic databases

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching is via lectures and seminars. Learning takes place through attendance at lectures, preparation for and participation in seminars, and private study. Formative assessment is by means of one group presentation and short written report. Summative assessment is by means of one written assignment and one examination.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 21 1 per week 1 hour 21
Seminars 8 4 in term 1, 4 in term 2 1 hour 8
Preparation and Reading 171
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2500 words 100%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
One written examination 1 hour 30 minutes 100%

Formative Assessment:

One group seminar presentation/poster and short individual written report

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University