Who was the first psychologist to use psychology in advertising?

Who was the first psychologist to use psychology in advertising?

Who was the first psychologist to use psychology in advertising?



The use of psychology in advertising has become a prominent strategy in the modern marketing world. Understanding consumer behavior and motivations is crucial for creating effective advertisements that resonate with the target audience. While many psychologists have contributed to this field, the first psychologist to use psychology in advertising is widely attributed to Walter D. Scott.

Walter D. Scott: The Pioneer

Walter Dill Scott was an American psychologist and professor who made significant contributions to the field of applied psychology. In the early 20th century, Scott recognized the potential of applying psychological principles to advertising. He believed that understanding human behavior and motivations could greatly influence consumer decision-making.

Scott’s groundbreaking work in psychology and advertising led to the publication of his influential book, “The Psychology of Advertising,” in 1903. In this book, he explored various psychological techniques that could be used to persuade consumers and create effective advertisements. Scott’s research focused on understanding how emotions, desires, and instincts influenced consumer behavior.

Psychological Techniques in Advertising

Scott’s book outlined several psychological techniques that could be employed in advertising. These techniques aimed to tap into consumers’ subconscious desires and motivations, ultimately influencing their purchasing decisions. Some of the key techniques highlighted by Scott include:

1. Emotional Appeals: Scott emphasized the importance of appealing to consumers’ emotions rather than relying solely on logical arguments. He believed that emotions played a significant role in decision-making and that advertisements should evoke positive emotions to create a favorable response.

2. Association: Scott recognized the power of associating products with positive experiences or desirable qualities. By linking a product to a specific emotion or lifestyle, advertisers could create a strong connection in consumers’ minds and increase the likelihood of purchase.

3. Repetition: Scott understood the impact of repetition on memory and persuasion. By repeatedly exposing consumers to an advertisement, advertisers could increase brand awareness and reinforce the desired message.

4. Testimonials: Scott advocated for the use of testimonials from satisfied customers to build trust and credibility. Positive reviews and endorsements from real people could influence potential buyers and alleviate any doubts or concerns.

Impact and Legacy

Scott’s pioneering work in applying psychology to advertising had a significant impact on the field. His insights and techniques laid the foundation for future research and developments in consumer psychology and marketing. Advertisers began to recognize the importance of understanding consumer behavior and started incorporating psychological principles into their campaigns.

Today, psychology plays a crucial role in advertising and marketing strategies. Advertisers use various techniques, such as emotional appeals, social proof, and persuasive messaging, to influence consumer behavior and drive sales. The principles established by Scott continue to shape the way advertisements are created and targeted towards specific audiences.


Walter D. Scott was the first psychologist to use psychology in advertising, revolutionizing the way marketers approach consumer behavior. His book, “The Psychology of Advertising,” introduced psychological techniques that are still widely used today. Scott’s pioneering work laid the foundation for the integration of psychology and advertising, ultimately shaping the modern marketing landscape.


– Scott, W. D. (1903). The Psychology of Advertising. Retrieved from psychologytoday.com
– Hine, T. (2000). The Rise and Fall of Walter Dill Scott. Retrieved from apa.org