The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2007-02-05
  • Publisher: Psychology Pres

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The Evolutionary Bases of Consumptionby 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 naturenegating 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 Consumptionwill 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.

Table of Contents

Series Forewordp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Introductionp. xvii
What Is Evolutionary Psychology?p. 1
Historical Overview Leading Up to the Founding of Evolutionary Psychologyp. 2
What is Evolutionary Psychology?p. 5
Proximate Versus Ultimate Explanationsp. 8
Domain-Specific Versus General-Purpose Modulesp. 13
Chapter Summaryp. 16
Consumer Research: Domain-General and Proximate-Level Theorizingp. 18
Proximate Models Utilizing Domain-Independent General-Purpose Mechanismsp. 19
Learningp. 20
Motivationp. 23
Culturep. 24
Standardization Versus Adaptationp. 28
Decision Makingp. 31
Perceptionp. 37
Attitude Formation and Attitude Changep. 43
Emotionsp. 45
Personalityp. 49
Applications of Evolutionary Psychology in Other Disciplinesp. 53
Chapter Summaryp. 58
Consumption and Darwinian Modulesp. 59
The Reproductive Modulep. 59
Human Mating as a Consumption Choicep. 62
Information Search in Mate Selectionp. 64
Gift Giving as a Courtship Ritualp. 67
Sex Differences in Aggregate Consumption Patternsp. 69
Toy Preferencesp. 70
Appearance-Enhancing Products and Servicesp. 71
Cosmetic and Plastic Proceduresp. 71
High Heels, Haircuts, and Provocative Attirep. 73
The Myth Behind the Beauty Mythp. 75
Risk-Related Consumption Phenomenap. 78
Financial Risk Takingp. 78
Physical Risk Takingp. 80
The Evolutionary Roots of Conspicuous Consumptionp. 84
Conspicuous Consumption in Religious Settingsp. 89
The Universality and Innateness of Conspicuous Consumptionp. 91
Philanthropy: Costly Signaling Via Nonreciprocal Altruismp. 95
The Survival Modulep. 97
The Kin Selection Modulep. 101
Family Research in Consumer Behaviorp. 101
Evolutionary Account of Kin Relationshipsp. 104
Darwinian Perspective on Birth Order Effects in the Consumption Settingp. 108
The Reciprocation Modulep. 111
Gift Giving as a Means of Creating and/or Solidifying Bondsp. 112
Consumption Behaviors Meant to Signal Group Membershipp. 113
Identifying the Nonreciprocatorsp. 117
Cross-Cultural Differences in the Definition of Friendshipp. 119
Chapter Summaryp. 121
Advertising Content and Media Effects: Mirrors of Human Naturep. 123
Masculinity and Femininity From a Social Constructivist Perspectivep. 124
Depiction of Femininityp. 125
Depiction of Masculinityp. 128
Depiction of Masculinity and Femininity in Children's Mediumsp. 133
Depiction of the Dynamics Between Men and Womenp. 136
Evolutionary Account of Masculinity and Femininityp. 138
Depiction of Sexuality in Advertisingp. 141
Use of Sexual Imagery and the Depiction of Women in Advertisingp. 141
Variables That Moderate Reactions to Sex in Advertisingp. 146
Condemnation of Advertisingp. 147
Prescriptive Strategies to Address "Sexist" Advertisingp. 150
Standardization Versus Adaptation of Advertising Messagep. 152
Advertising Slogans and Darwinian Modulesp. 155
Physical Attractiveness in Advertising: A Darwinian Perspectivep. 157
Chapter Summaryp. 161
The Darwinian Roots of Cultural Productsp. 163
Evolutionary Perspective on Culturep. 165
Memetic Theoryp. 166
Content Analysis of Specific Cultural Productsp. 168
Television Themesp. 169
Soap Operasp. 174
Talk Showsp. 179
Moviesp. 183
Songsp. 188
Music Videosp. 196
Literaturep. 198
Self-Help Booksp. 202
Religionp. 211
Artp. 214
Chapter Summaryp. 217
The Darwinian Roots of "Dark-Side" Consumptionp. 219
The Darwinian Etiology of the Seven Deadly Sinsp. 220
Darwinian Medicine and the Promotion of Healthp. 222
Public Service Announcements and Evolutionary Theoryp. 224
Analysis of Specific Dark-Side Consumption Behaviorsp. 227
Pornographyp. 228
Eating Disordersp. 236
Social Constructivist Perspectivep. 236
Evolutionary Perspectivep. 243
Gamblingp. 245
Demographic Risk Factors Associated With Pathological Gamblingp. 247
Domain-General Perspective of Addictionp. 250
Proximate Theories of Gamblingp. 252
Evolutionary Explanation of Pathological Gamblingp. 254
Compulsive Buyingp. 255
Women and Compulsive Buyingp. 256
Domain-General Perspective of Compulsive Buyingp. 257
Proximate Issues Addressed by Marketing Scholarsp. 259
Evolutionary Explanation of Compulsive Buyingp. 261
Chapter Summaryp. 263
Benefits of Darwinizing Consumer Researchp. 265
Consilience, Fuller Explanations, and Novel Hypothesesp. 265
Evolutionary Psychology as an Epistemological Heuristicp. 269
Does Evolutionary Theory Yield Inactionable and/or Impractical Information?p. 271
The "Darwinizing" of the Cognate Disciplines Closest to Consumer Behaviorp. 272
Chapter Summaryp. 275
Concluding Remarksp. 276
Referencesp. 277
Author Indexp. 317
Subject Indexp. 329
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