The Birth of Consumer Behavior: Motivation Research in the 1950s

  • Ronald A. Fullerton KIMEP, Almaty, Kazakhstan


Purpose – To show how 1950s Motivation Research laid the foundations of present day Consumer
Behavior as a discipline

Design/methodology/approach – Standard historical methodology – heavy reliance upon primary sources, avoidance of anachronism, heavy use of contemporary quotations.

Findings – Using sociology, anthropology, and clinical psychology to explain how and why
consumers buy, 1950s Motivation Research provided business with valuable information, and, in the long run, began today’s Consumer Behavior.

Originality and Value – Offers a different view of Motivation Research, stressing its use of sociology
and anthropology. Offers a corrective to the prevailing over-emphasis on Ernest Dichter.


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