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Courses / Modules / PSYC3059 Psychology of Advertising

Psychology of Advertising

When you'll study it
Semester 2
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 6
Module lead
Aiden Gregg
Academic year

Module overview

Advertising is an everyday and significant phenomenon. Sponsors hire agencies to inform us about, and persuade us to buy, innumerable branded products and services on the market, though a variety of mass media. Advertisements also urge us to donate to charity, vote for candidates, or adopt particular lifestyles. Furthermore, advertising may be blatant or subtle, inoffensive or controversial, conventional or ground-breaking. It may succeed, fail, or backfire. It is partly an intuitive art and partly an empirical science.

The course will initially address advertising from the perspective of the psychology of attitude change, seeking to understand it better through the lens of several classic and contemporary theories that are informed by empirical evidence. To this end, several chapters in a textbook will be studied.

Later, the course will turn to half-a-dozen specialist topics of particular interest, such as the ethics of advertising, the psychology of online clickbait, and role of associative conditioning. To this end, lectures with links to additional studies will be studied.

Students will also be taught how to produce a real print advertisement, on behalf of a local Southampton business, in accordance with the principles recommended by famous and contemporary advertisers.

Students will further learn how, in an extended piece of writing, to apply the principles they learn to a topic of contemporary relevance, such as changing public attitudes or behaviour in the light of COVID-19.

The curriculum may also include sessions and tutorials featuring one or more invited speakers who specialize in, or make use of advertising, such as business CEOs or professional copywriters.

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: PSYC1016