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21 September 2023

Psychologist Dr. Josef Sawetz on how advertising influences consumer decisions and the sophisticated techniques used to create desire

Recently, psychologist Dr. Josef Sawetz, co-founder of and researcher and lecturer in the fields of cognitive neuroscience and communication psychology at renowned institutes such as the Department of Communication, Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Vienna, provided some practical tips to take a look behind the scenes at how consumers' decisions are influenced by advertising and the sophisticated techniques used to create a desire to buy products such as clothes or beauty treatments where there probably never was one.

Neuroscientist Josef Sawetz, a specialist in how the brain works, gives an example of how successful advertising exploits people's desire for convenience, which is thousands of years old. The brain is constantly working and consumes a lot of the body's energy. This fact is perfect for advertising, because what's made easy and convenient automatically activates the reward center. "So, humans unconsciously and automatically seek the shortest and easiest path. Successful advertising utilizes this principle and presents its products and services as a very simple and convenient way to fulfill desires."

The full article with the title 'How Desires Are Generated, Shaped, and Directed. Influence Techniques of Advertising Psychology' (German 'Wie WŁnsche erzeugt, geformt und gelenkt werden. Beeinflussungstechniken der Werbepsychologie') on the interplay of emotions, values and advertising strategies in consumer behavior is published in English and German on

Images, from right: Portrait of Dr. Josef Sawetz. Left: AI-generated image of a shopping boulevard; generated with a prompt by on 21 September 2023. Created with Microsoft Bing, Image Creator powered by DALL∑E.

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