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Psychological Processes

What are these processes?

This refers to the psychological processes
that govern buying behaviour of individuals
and groups
• Information Processing
• Learning
• Influencing attitudes and Behaviour
Information Processing
• Exposure – achievement of proximity to a
stimulus to activate the senses
• Attention- allocation of processing capacity to
• Comprehension – interpretation of stimulus
• Acceptance – persuasive impact of stimulus
• Retention – transfer of stimulus interpretation to

Given exposure to a stimulus of

sufficient strength, a person’s sensory
receptors are activated and a message is
sent to the brain. This is called a sensation,
which happens after crossing a threshold
Threshold levels
• Lower/absolute threshold – stimulus
intensity below which sensation would not
• Terminal threshold – above which
additional doses of stimulus intensity has no
effect on sensation
• Difference threshold – smallest change in
stimulus intensity that would get noticed
Weber’s Law
• The change in stimulus intensity required to
be noticeable is not on the amount but on
the percentage change from the original
K = Δ I/I
where K is a constant
ΔI = change in stimulus intensity
I = original stimulus intensity
• Preattentive processing – limitation of
processing capacity. 1st stage
• Attention – allocation of processing
capacity to stimulus. 2nd stage
Personal determinants of attention

• Need/Motivation
• Attitudes
• Adaptation level
• Span of attention
Stimulus determinants of attention
• Size • Directionality
• Colour • Movement
• Intensity • Isolation
• Contrast • Novelty
• Position • Learned ‘stimuli’
• Attractive

The interpretation of the stimulus.

To derive meaning from the stimulus.
How does this happen?
• Stimulus categorization – classifying
stimulus using concepts stored in memory
• Stimulus elaboration – integration between
new knowledge and knowledge stored in
• Stimulus organization – how people
organize and rearrange stimuli into a
meaningful whole (Gestalt psychology)
Personal determinants of Comprehension

• Linguistics • Motivation
• Order effects • Hunger
• Context • Expectation or
• Miscomprehension perceptual set
• Stimulus determinants

This is the persuasive impact of the

Acceptance depends on
• Cognitive responses – SAs and CAs
• Affective responses - feelings that are
elicited by the stimulus

Transfer of stimulus interpretation

and persuasion into long term
Methods for enhancing retention
• Interrelation between stimulus elements
• Use concrete words rather than abstract
• Encourage self referencing
• Mnemonics – jingles, rhymes, music,etc.
• Repetition
Memory is space allocated in the brain to store
processed information and retrieve it as when
Our brain consists of two hemispheres
• Left brain – logical, abstract and conceptual
• Right brain – creative, intuitive, imaginal
• The connection is through the corpus callosum
Normally people are ‘left’ or ‘right’ brain
Memory consists of
• Sensory memory – iconic (visual), echoic
(auditory) – 0.25 sec
• Short term memory - < 30 sec
• Long term memory

This is the process by which

experience leads to changes in
knowledge , attitudes and behaviour.
Learning takes place through
• Cognitive learning – from changes in
knowledge and information processing
• Behavioural learning – observing behaviour
and changes in behaviour

Most consumer behaviour is learned behaviour

Cognitive learning
• Rehearsal – mental repetition of
• Elaboration – the degree of integration
between the stimulus and existing
knowledge that occurs during information
processing. It is influenced by the
motivation and ability of the individual

When you are unable to retrieve or

access information stored in long
term memory
Types of forgetting
• Decay – memory trace will fade with
passage of time
• Interference – caused by learning new
information over time.
• Retroactive inhibition – recently learned
information prevents retrieval of previously learnt
• Proactive inhibition – prior learning prevents
hinders retrieval and learning of new information
• Momentary forgetting – when information is
present but retrieval is difficult because of
limitations in accessibility
Determinants of information accessibility

• Amount of information stored in memory within

the same ‘content’ domain
• Particular retrieval cues available at that time eg.
Pops, jingles, key words,etc.
Measures of Cognitive learning
• Recognition – from multiple choice
• Recall – qualitative answers
Measures of cognitive learning
• Aided recall
• Unaided recall
• Day after recall (DAR)
Behavioural learning
• Classical conditioning
• Operant conditioning
• Shaping
Classical conditioning

Unconditioned Unconditioned
stimulus response

Conditioned Conditioned
stimulus Response
Determinants of Classical Conditioning

• Strength of unconditioned stimulus

• No. of pairings or strength of association

When the conditioned stimulus is

unable to evoke the conditioned
response. This will happen if the
association with the US is broken
with the CS

When for an existing stimulus –

response relationship, a new stimulus
similar to the stimulus is used to
bring about the same response
The process by which an individual
learns to emit a response to one
stimulus but avoids making the same
response to a similar response
Operant Conditioning

Instrumental learning concerned with

how the consequences of a behaviour
will affect the frequency or
probability of the behaviour being
Operant conditioning can take place through

• Positive reinforcement
• Negative reinforcement
Applications in Marketing
• Sampling
• Trials
• Demonstrations
• Test drives
Research has proved that there is 60% more
penetration when free sampling is done.
The process which encourages marketers to
think about what behaviours must precede
the ultimate act of purchase and how these
prerequisite behaviour can be encouraged
through appropriate reinforcements
Vicarious learning

This is the process of learning through

observing the action of others and the
consequences of those behaviours. It
includes elements of both cognitive and
behavioural learning.