Management and Organizational Studies 1021A/B Study Guide - Final Guide: Subliminal Stimuli, Sensory Memory, Classical Conditioning

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Pre-Midterm (Chapters 1 8)
Chapter 1: An Introduction to Consumer Behaviour
- Marketers need to understand the wants and needs of different consumer segments
- Market segmentation is an important aspect of consumer behaviour
- Consumers can be segmented along many dimensions including:
o Product usage
o Demographics objective aspects of a population such as age and gender
o Psychographics psychological and lifestyle characteristics
- Emerging developments such as the new emphasis on relationship marketing and the practice of
database marketing mean that marketers are much more attuned to the wants and needs of
different consumer groups
o This is especially important as people are empowered to construct their own consumer
space, accessing product information where and when they want it and initiating contact
with companies on the internet instead of passively receiving marketing communications
o In addition, consumers may be thought of as role players who need different products to
help them play their various parts
Chapter 2: Perception
- Perception is a 3 stage process that translates raw stimuli into meaning
- Perception is the process by which physical sensations such as sights, sounds, and smells are
selected, organized and interpreted
- The eventual interpretation of a stimulus allows it to be assigned meaning
- A perceptual map is a widely used marketing tool that evaluates the relevant standing of
competing brands along relevant dimensions
- Products and commercial messages often appeal to our senses but many of them will not succeed
- Marketing stimuli have important sensory qualities. We rely on colors, odors, sounds, tastes, and
the feel of products when evaluating them
- Not all sensations make their way successfully through the perceptual process though
o Many stimuli compete for our attention and the majority are not noticed or accurately
- People have different thresholds of perception
o A stimulus must be presented at a certain level of intensity before it can be detected by an
individual’s sensory receptors
o In addition, a consumer’s ability to detect whether two stimuli are different, the differential
threshold, is an important issue in many marketing contexts such as changing a package
design, altering a size of a product, or reducing its price
- In recent years, the sensory experiences we get from products and services have become even
more important when choosing among competing options
o Consumers increasingly want to buy things that will give them hedonic value, in addition to
functional value
o They often believe that most brands perform similarly, so they weigh a product’s aesthetic
qualities heavily when they choose
- Subliminal advertising is a controversial but largely ineffective way to talk to consumers
o A lot of controversy has been sparked by so called subliminal persuasion and related
techniques by which people are exposed to visual and audio messages below the threshold
o Although evidence of subliminal persuasion’s effectiveness is virtually nonexistent, many
consumers continue to believe that advertisers use this technique
- Some of the factors that determine which stimuli get perceived above the threshold level are the
amount of exposure to the stimulus, how much attention it generates, and how it is interpreted
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- In an increasingly crowded stimulus environment, advertising clutter occurs when too many
marketing related messages compete for attention
- The stimuli we do pay attention to are interpreted according to learned patterns and expectations
- A stimulus that is attended to is not perceived in isolation, it is classified and organized according
to principles of perceptual organization
o These principles are guided by a gestalt, or overall pattern
o Specific grouping principles include closure, similarity, and figure ground relationships
- The final step in the process of perception is interpretation
o Symbols help us make sense of the world by providing us with an interpretation of a
stimulus that is often shared by others
o The degree to which the symbolism is consistent with our previous experience affects the
meaning we assign to related objects
- The science of semiotics helps us to understand how symbols are used to create meaning
- Marketers try to communicate with consumers by creating relationships between their products
or services and desired attributes
- A semiotic analysis involves the correspondence between stimuli and the meanings of signs
o The intended meaning may be literal. For example, an icon, such as a street sign with a
picture of children playing
o The meaning may be indexical. It relies on shared characteristics. For example, the red in a
stop sign means danger
o Finally, meaning can be conveyed by a symbol, in which an image is given meaning by
convention or agreement of members of a society. For example, stop signs are octagonal
while yield signs are triangular
- Marketer created associations often take on a life of their own as hype is assumed to be real. This
condition is known as hyper reality
Chapter 3: Learning and Memory
- It’s important for marketers to understand how consumers learn about products and services
- Learning is a change in behaviour that is caused by experience
- Learning can occur through simple associations between a stimulus and a response, or via a
complex series of cognitive activities
- Conditioning results in learning
- Behavioral learning theories assume that learning occurs as a result of responses to external
- Classical conditioning occurs when a stimulus that naturally elicits a response, an unconditioned
stimulus, is paired with another stimulus that does not initially elicit this response. Over time, the
second stimulus, the conditioned stimulus, comes to elicit the response as well
- Learned associations can generalize to other things, which is important to marketers. This
response can also extend to other similar stimuli in a process known as stimulus generalization
o This process is the basis for such marketing strategies as licensing and family branding, in
which a consumer’s positive associations with a product are transferred to other contexts
- There is a difference between classical and instrumental conditioning
o Operant, or instrumental conditioning, occurs as the person learns to perform behaviours
that produce positive outcomes and avoid those that result in negative outcomes
o While classical conditioning involves the pairing of two stimuli, instrumental learning
occurs when reinforcement is delivered following a response to a stimulus
Reinforcement is positive if a reward is delivered following a response
It is negative if a negative outcome is avoided by not performing a response
Punishment occurs when a response is followed by unpleasant events
Extinction of the behaviour will occur if reinforcement is no longer received
- Observation of others’ behaviour can result in learning
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