1st Edition

The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption

By Gad Saad Copyright 2007
    360 Pages
    by Psychology Press

    360 Pages
    by Psychology Press

    The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption by Gad Saad applies Darwinian principles in understanding our consumption patterns and the products of popular culture that most appeal to individuals. The first and only scholarly work to do so, this is a captivating study of the adaptive reasons behind our behaviors, cognitions, emotions, and perceptions. This lens of analysis suggests how we come to make selections such as choosing a mate, the foods we eat, the gifts that we offer, and more. It also highlights how numerous forms of dark side consumption, including pathological gambling, compulsive buying, pornographic addiction, and eating disorders, possess a Darwinian etiology.

    Engaging and diverse in scope, the book maps consumption phenomena onto four key Darwinian modules: survival, reproduction, kin selection, and reciprocal altruism. As an interesting proposal, the author suggests that media and advertising contents exist in their particular forms because they are a reflection of our evolved human nature - negating the notion that they exist through the reverse causal link, as proposed by social constructivists. The link between evolutionary theory and consumption behaviors is detailed throughout the book via an examination of (among many others):

    • appearance-enhancing products and services;
    • financial and physical risk-taking;
    • use of sexual imagery and the depictions of women in advertising; and
    • television programs, movies, songs, music videos, literature, religion, and art.

    The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption will appeal to evolutionists who desire to explore new areas wherein evolutionary theory can be applied; consumer and marketing scholars who wish to learn about the ways in which biological-and evolutionary-based theorizing can be infused into the consumer behavior/marketing/advertising disciplines; as well as other interdisciplinary scholars interested in gaining knowledge about the power of evolutionary theory in explaining a wide range of behavioral phenomena.

    Contents: Preface. Introduction. What Is Evolutionary Psychology? Consumer Research Domain-General Proximate-Level Theorizing. Consumption Darwinian Modules. Advertising Content and Media Effects Mirrors of Human Nature. Darwinian Roots of Cultural Products. Darwinian Roots of Darkside Consumption. Benefits of Darwinizing Consumer Research. Concluding Remarks.


    Gad Saad

    'Saad's book The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption is aimed at academic researchers studying aspects of consumer psychology, students and practitioners in advertising or marketing, or nonconsumer psychologists who enjoy interdisciplinary research.  The book suggests that there is broad applicability of Darwinian principles to the study of consumer behavior... It is the first book of its kind.' - Jill M. Sundie, PsycCRITIQUES

    "The key features of this book are (1) it introduces an evolutionary psychological perspective on consumerism and marketing (2) it provides an overview of some robust themes that account for systematic patterning of consumer preferences, and (3) it offers a synthetic approach to the study and understanding of consumer behavior.  The book will be the first of its kind and will inspire new directions in consumer research." - Margo Wilson, Department of Psychology, McMaster University

    "Gad Saad has shown me that evolutionary psychology and consumer behavior is a very interesting subject and one I think many people will find interesting-even exciting.  The author has an excellent knowledge of the literature on evolutionary psychology and its interpretations.  He does a fine job of applying it to the area of consumer behavior.  I think it could have an important impact on the advertising industry." - Charles Crawford, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Simon Fraser University