Morphological Psychology

Intensions Consulting are the only providers of morphological market research in Canada, and amongst a small group of research institutes conducting morphological studies globally.  

This groundbreaking methodology is a practical application of morphological psychology, an independent psychological theory originally advanced by Wilhelm Salber from the University of Cologne in Germany (Salber, 1965; Salber, 1969; Salber, 1989).

Incorporating aspects of gestalt psychology, phenomenology and psychoanalysis, the theory is based on psychological tensions that work together to influence and direct human experience and behaviour (Lӧnneker, 2007; Ziems, 2004). 

These psychological tensions are uncovered through morphological intensive interviews, a unique qualitative methodology that encourages open and flexible discussions within the context of a closed conceptual framework (Lӧnneker, 2007; Dammer & Szymkowiak, 1998). 

Similar to other qualitative research methodologies (Starks & Trinidad, 2007), interpretative analysis involves an iterative process of decontextualization and recontextualization to distill data into a common set of psychological themes or tensions (Dammer & Szymkowiak, 1998). When combined, these psychological tensions provide a framework for systematically understanding fundamental human needs (Melchers, 1997).

From food to finance, healthcare to advertising, Intensions Consulting have used morphological psychology to understand target audience motivations, uncover market opportunities, and improve business impact. If you'd like to learn more about morphological psychology, please contact us at:


- Salber, W. Morphologie des seelischen Geschehens. Ratingen, Germany: Henn; 1965. ISBN: 9783923823055 

- Salber, W. Wirkungseinheiten: Psychologie von Werbung und Erziehung. Wuppertal, Germany: Henn; 1969. ISBN: Unknown

- Salber, W. Der Alltag ist nicht grau. Bonn, Germany: Bouvier; 1989. ISBN: 9783416022125 

- Lӧnneker, J. Morphologie: Die Wirkung von Qualitäten – Gestalten im Wandel. In: Naderer, G., Balzer, E., editors. Qualitative Marktforschung in Theorie und Praxis. Wiesbaden, Germany: Gabler; 2007. ISBN: 9783834902443

- Ziems, D. The Morphological Approach for Unconscious Consumer Motivation Research. J Advert Res 2004;44(2). DOI: 10.1017/S0021849904040152

- Starks, H., Trinidad SB. Choose your method: a comparison of phenomenology, discourse analysis, and grounded theory. Qual Health Res 2007;17(10). DOI: 10.1177/1049732307307031

- Dammer, I., Szymkowiak F. Die Gruppendiskussion in der Marktforschung: Grundlagen - Moderation - Auswertung - Ein Praxisleitfaden. Wiesbaden, Germany: Westdeutscher; 1998. ISBN: 9783531133171

- Melchers, C. Life and Consumption Styles in the New Bundeslanders Five Years After the Collapse of the Berlin Wall. In: Ullmann, A., Lewis, A., editors. Privatization and Entrepreneurship: The Managerial Challenge in Central and Eastern Europe. New York, United States: International Business Press; 1997. ISBN: 9781560249726