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Chapter 2

ADM 3321 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Absolute Threshold, Sensory Neuron, Just-Noticeable Difference

Course Code
ADM 3321
Michael Mulvey

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Chapter 2
Consumers are never far from advertisements, product packages, radio and
TV commercials, or billboards that clamor for their attention.
Each of us copes with the bombardment by paying attention to some stimuli
and turning out others.
The messages which we do choose to pay attention often wind up differing
from what the sponsors intended, as we each put our “spin” on things by
taking away meanings consistent with our own unique experiences, biases,
and desires.
Sensation: the immediate response of our sensory receptors (those in our
eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and skin) to such basic stimuli as light, colour, and
Perception: the process by which these sensations are selected, organized,
and interpreted.
!The study of perception focuses on what we add to or take away
from these raw sensations as we choose which to notice and then
go about assigning meaning to them.
Often times, perception can be more influential than sensation in
determining consumer preferences.
Culturally learned meanings about a brand can influence consumers’
ultimate perceptions.
Our ultimate preferences are shaped by both sensation and perception: how
we organize, interpret and form associations about a brand.
People undergo stages of information processing in which stimuli are input
and stored.
However, only a very small number of stimuli in our environment are ever
The meaning of stimulus is interpreted by the individual, who is influenced
by his or her unique biases, needs, and experiences.
Perceptual process:
!Sensory stimuli: Sights, sounds, smells, tastes, textures
!Sensory receptors: eyes, ears, nose, mouth, skin
!Process of perception: Exposure ! Attention ! Interpretation

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External stimuli, or sensory inputs, can be received on a number of
!The inputs picked up by our five senses constitute the raw data that
generate many types of responses.
Sensory marketing: in which companies pay extra attention to the impact
of sensation on our product experiences.
Companies recognize that our senses help us decide which products appeal
to us and which ones stand out from a host of similar offerings in the
!Marketers rely heavily on visual elements in advertising, store
design, and packaging.
!Meanings are communicated on the visual channel through a
product’s colouring, size, styling, brightness, and distinctiveness
from competitors’ products.
!How Perception can be “Coloured”
o!Colours influence our emotions directly.
o!Evidence suggests that some colours create feelings of
arousal and stimulate appetite, and others are more relaxing.
o!Colours are rich in symbolic value and cultural meanings.
o!Some reactions to colour come from learned associations.
o!We know that perceptions of a colour depend on both its
physical wavelength and how the mind responds to that
o!Some reactions to colour are due to biological differences.
o!Women tend to be drawn to brighter tones and are more
sensitive to subtle shadings and patterns, because they see
colour better than men do.
o!Age also influences our response to colour.
o!As we get older our eyes mature and our vision takes on a
yellow cast.
o!Colours look duller to older people, so they prefer white and
other bright tones.

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o!The choice of colour is frequently a key issue in package
o!Companies realize that their colour choices can exert a big
influence on consumers’ assumptions about what is inside the
o!Some colour combinations come to be associated so strongly
with a corporation that they become known as the company’s
trade dress, and the company may even be granted
exclusive use of these colours.
o!Trade-dress protection is granted only when consumers might
be confused about what they are buying because of similar
coloration of a competitor’s packages.
!How Your Eyes Make You Eat More
o!Our eyes play tricks on us, and these perceptions have caloric
o!When pouring or eating foods from larger boxes, the size of
the box implicitly suggests that it’s appropriate or
“acceptable” to eat more.
o!These visual illusions also influence how much we pour and
o!When we pour into a glass, we tend to focus on the height of
the liquid we are pouring and not the width.
o!Visual cues in packaging can also impact consumption in
other ways.
o!Although intuition tells consumers that smaller packages
should help them eat less, when multiple small packages are
available consumers often eat much more of the product.
o!Our eyes continue to trick us even when it comes to variety.
o!When we see an assortment of food, this abundance suggests
it’s appropriate to eat more.
o!The bottom line: when it comes to how much we eat and
drink, our eyes often have more to say than our stomachs.
!Self-confidence is translated into body language, which in turn is
translated into attractiveness.
!Odours can stir emotions or create a calming feeling.
!They can evoke memories or relieve stress.
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