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Darwin’s Ghost: Evolutionary Psychology and Consumer Behaviour Analysis


  • Mike Nicholson

    () (Durham Business School)

  • Sarah Xiao

    () (Durham Business School)


The consumer behaviour analysis research programme continues to develop as both an intellectual discipline and an applied area of empirical inquiry, enriching our understanding of consumer responses to the products and services of everyday life, and to the marketing of those products and services. To date, however, the programme has functioned largely at an ontogenetic level, developing proximate‐level accounts of consumer choice based upon operant learning at the expense of any meaningful engagement with the more ultimate‐level accounts of such phenomena offered by adoption of a more phylogenetic perspective. In an attempt to address this potential gap in current knowledge, this paper introduces the central tenets of neo‐Darwinian theory and their relevance for the consumer behaviour‐analytic programme. More specifically, the paper seeks to apply adaptionist logic to the Behavioural Perspective Model, the principle explanatory framework within consumer behaviour analysis, in order to demonstrate how the hypotheses generated by that framework may gain greater conceptual clarity and empirical precision through accommodation of both ontogeny and phylogeny within its sphere of reference.

Suggested Citation

  • Mike Nicholson & Sarah Xiao, 2007. "Darwin’s Ghost: Evolutionary Psychology and Consumer Behaviour Analysis," Working Papers 2007_07, Durham University Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:dur:durham:2007_07

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