Aarron Toal

Aarron ToalEvolutionary Consumer Psychologist


Aarron is a Researcher and Teacher within the Management and Marketing Department at Durham University Business School, with a focus on the evolutionary significance of particular consumer behaviours.

My current research examines the behavioural biases that exist within specific consumer groups and their associated emotional responses towards specific marketing practices of incorporating country-of-origin information within product, packaging and advertisement design, analysed using neuroscientific research methods with experiments and results designed and interpreted through a Darwinian evolutionary framework.

Brands in the Brain after Brexit

Brexit continues to expose deep societal divisions within the United Kingdom, changing behaviour and beliefs across all walks of life. Ethnocentric beliefs, jingoistic behaviour, patriotism, cultural openness, liberalism or conservatism now seem to lie on extreme spectrums as society attempts to navigate the political fallout and immense cultural shift within an emotionally charged environment. How these beliefs spill over into shopping evaluations and purchase intentions, or how marketing strategies or brands’ affiliation with provenance post-Brexit provides immense opportunities for investigation and will form the basis of this ambitious research project.

Within this site, I will explore the fundamentals of consumer behaviour and psychology theories, identify the strong influence culture norms have on our developing psyche, investigate the socio-cultural psychological antecedents that not only fuel ethnocentric beliefs, but have been at the root of the Brexit debate for years, identify the differences between the nationalistic and worldmindedness consumer, and probe the brain using new advancements in cognitive neuroscience, all wrapped up neatly within a Darwinian evolutionary framework.

This research will be presented in three parts:

  • Culture after Brexit: An investigation into the influence of culture on consumer behaviour, specifically cultural archetypes that condition our behaviour
  • Biases after Brexit: An investigation into particular biases of in-groups and out-groups, and their associated emotions
  • The brain after Brexit: An investigation into cognitive and affective responses of marketing stimuli on specific consumer groups, using neuromarketing methods