Consumer Behavior

Behavioral Learning

Learning Concepts
 Behavioral Learning: Classical & Operant Conditioning  Analogous Model of Classical Conditioning  Neo-Pavlovian Classical Conditioning  Positive vs Negative Reinforcement  Schedule of Reinforcement  Relationship between discriminative stimulus, the behavior and the reinforcer  Strategic Applications of Conditioning Theories  Observational & Social Learning

Figure 3-1: The Consumer As a “Black Box”: A Behaviorist Perspective on Learning

Behavioral Learning
   1. 2. 3. The process in which experience with the environment leads to relatively permanent change in behavior or potential for such change It does not take into account for changes in physiology due to growth, injury, disease or those induced by drugs Three major approaches to Behavioral learning Classical Conditioning Operant Conditioning Vicarious or Observational learning

Classical Conditioning  Previously neutral stimulus, called the conditioned stimulus (CS), is repeatedly paired with eliciting stimulus called the unconditioned stimulus (UCS). After number of such pairing, the ability to elicit response is transferred to CS. The response elicited by CS is called the conditioned response

Classical Conditioning
Meat Powder (Unconditioned Stimulus) Bell (Conditioned Stimulus) Bell (Conditioned Stimulus) Meat Powder (Unconditioned Stimulus) Saliva (Unconditioned response) Saliva (Unconditioned Response) Saliva (Conditioned response)

Analogous Model of Classical Conditioning
Unconditioned Stimulus Dinner aroma Unconditioned Response Salivation Conditioned Stimulus 9 o’clock news

Conditioned Stimulus 9 o’clock news

Conditioned Response Salivation

Classical Conditioning in Consumers
1. Tempo of Music playing in Grocery store and restaurants 2. Pairing of pictures of beautiful landscape and fictitious tooth paste 3. Credit card buying Sign tracking: The attention drawing ability of unconditioned and conditioned stimuli Higher order conditioning: the ability of a conditioned stimulus to condition another previously neutral stimulus

Neo-Pavlovian Conditioning
Forward Conditioning (CS Precedes US) Repeated Pairings of CS and US A CS and US that Logically Belong to Each Other  A CS that is Novel and Unfamiliar  A US that is Biologically or Symbolically Salient   

Symbolic Pairing of CS and UCS

Symbolic Pairing of CS and UCS

Instrumental (Operant) Conditioning

A behavioral theory of learning based on a trial-and-error process, with habits forced as the result of positive experiences (reinforcement) resulting from certain responses or behaviors.

Behavioral Learning Theories
 Instrumental Conditioning
– Instrumental Conditioning
 B.F. Skinner

– Positive Reinforcement – Negative Reinforcement – Punishment

A Model of Instrumental Conditioning
Try Brand A Try Brand B Try Brand C Try Brand D
Repeat Behavior

Unrewarded Legs too tight Unrewarded Tight in seat Unrewarded Baggy in seat Reward Perfect fit

Stimulus Situation
(Need goodlooking jeans)

Operant Conditioning
 A process in which frequency of occurrence of a behavior is modified by the consequences of that behavior


Reward ( something desirable)

Noxious Stimuli ( some thing undesirable)


Positive Punishment Reinforcement Behavior Behavior increase Decreases Extinction or ommision Behavior Decreases Negative Reinforcement Behavior increases


 Negative  Positive Reinforcement: Reinforcement: Unpleasant or Positive outcomes negative outcomes that strengthen the that serve to likelihood of a encourage a specific specific response behavior  Example: Ad  Example: Ad showing showing beautiful wrinkled skin as hair as a reinforcement to buy reinforcement to buy skin cream shampoo

Schedules of Reinforcement
1. Fixed – interval reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is provided after fixed period of time has passed. Sale on the last day of the month Fixed-ratio reinforcement. Reinforcement occurs only after a fixed number of responses. This schedule motivates people to continue performing the same behavior over and over again. Frequent flyer program Variable ratio reinforcement the person is reinforced after a certain number of responses, but he or she does not know how many responses are required. People in such situations tend to respond at a very high and steady rates, this type of behavior is very difficult to distinguish. Attraction to slot machines



Discriminative stimuli  Discriminative stimuli are stimuli that only occur in the presence of a reinforcer. They are signals which indicate that the reinforcer will be given if desired behavior is emitted. Because the discriminative stimuli is invariably paired with reinforcer the likelihood of operant response occurring increases. The organism learns to emit the operant response when discriminative stimulus is present, and not emit when stimulus is absent.

Discriminative stimuli  The message and information that consumers receive about products and services are discriminative stimuli – that is they signal the reinforcements from purchase.  Discriminative stimuli are found in advertising, on product packaging, and in brand names  Companies with broad product lines usually prominently identify each product as member of the same family

Relationship between discriminative stimulus, the behavior and the reinforcer

Discriminative stimuli



Strategic Applications of Conditioning Theories
   Repetition Stimulus Generalization Stimulus Discrimination

 Repetition increases strength of associations and slows forgetting but over time may result in advertising wearout.  Cosmetic variations reduce satiation. E.g. Ads by Lux, Sunsilk etc.

Substantive Variations
 Changes in advertising content across different versions of an advertisement with no changes in cosmetic features. E.g. Ding Dong Bubble  Individuals exposed to substantively varied ads process more information about product attributes and were also more resistant to change in the face of competitive attack

Cosmetic Variations

Three-Hit Theory
 Repetition is the basis for the idea that three exposures to an ad are necessary for the ad to be effective  The number of actual repetitions to equal three exposures is in question.

Stimulus Generalization

The inability to perceive differences between slightly dissimilar stimuli.

Stimulus Generalization and Marketing
 Product Line, Form and Category Extensions  Family Branding  Licensing  Generalizing Usage Situations

Line Extension

Product Form Extensions

Product Category Extensions

Shoe Manufacturer Licenses Its Name

Stimulus Discrimination

The ability to select a specific stimulus from among similar stimuli because of perceived differences. Positioning


 The reinforcement of behavior that must be performed before the desired behavior can be achieved  Shaping increases the probability that certain desired consumer behavior will occur  Retailers: Sampling, loss leaders  Car dealers:1. Encourage customers to visit their showrooms ----incentive to visit showroom 2. Test drive ----------- some small gift 3. Purchase of car---------- outstanding service + rebate

Observational learning
Observational learning, also called vicarious or social learning, refers to the phenomenon whereby people develop patterns of behavior by observing the actions of others. Three important ideas have emerged from observational learning theory: 1. View people as symbolic beings who foresee the probable consequences of their behavior and vary their behavior accordingly (Principles of cognitive learning) 2. People learn by watching the actions of others and noticing the consequences of those actions ( behavioral learning) 3. People have the ability to generate their own behavior, and through self regulatory process, they supply their own internal rewards and punishments by feeling either self critical or self satisfied

Observational Learning
Factors Influencing a Model’s Behavior: • The model is physically attractive • The model is credible • The model is successful • The model is similar to the observer • The model is shown overcoming difficulties and then succeeding

Components of Observational Learning

Consumers Learn by Modeling

Marketing Uses of Social learning Theory
1.  Model’s action can be used to create entirely new types of behaviors Feature attractive and credible endorsers whose behavior will hopefully be emulated by consumers. In this type of ad the model’s behavior – using the product - is often positively reinforced by having other people congratulate the model on his or her purchase A model can be used to decrease the likelihood that an undesired behavior will occur Model is shown being punished for engaging in a behavior e.g. anti-drug campaigns

2. 

Marketing Uses of Social learning Theory
3. Enhance the likelihood that consumers will repeat an already learned behavior 4. Here the behavior of model acts as discriminative stimulus to tell consumers when behavior is appropriate.

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