Learning and Memory

Behavior learning theories assume that learning takes place as a result of responding to an external stimulus. Psychologists who adopt this view do not focus on the internal mental process, the focus on the mind as a “black box”(109). There are two major approaches to learning that represent this view; classical conditioning, and instrumental conditioning. As we go through life the feedback we take from various things directly shapes how we experience our life. Marketers capitalize on this ability to create stimuli in an attempt the garnish a wanted response and experience. For example, PepsiCo launched a “Throwback”(108) campaign in an attempt to capitalize on the nostalgia that is connected to the childhood of now older consumers.

        Classical conditioning occurs “when a stimulus that elicits a response is paired with another stimulus that initially does not elicit a response on its own”(109). Over an amount of time this second stimulus now garners a similar response because we associate it with the first stimulus. There are different types of stimulus; “unconditioned stimulus is something that is naturally capable of garnishing a response on its own, conditioned stimulus which is something that takes a certain amount of conditioning to garnish a wanted response. A conditioned response is a response that has been conditioned to occur, does not naturally happen. Repeated exposures to a stimulus, or “repetition”(110), increase the strength of the stimulus as well as preventing the decay or response of the stimulus.

        Stimulus generalization “refers to the tendency of stimuli similar to a CS to evoke similar conditioned responses”. Marketers have to think about a multitude of things when creating a marketing strategy such as the most effective form of reinforcement of a stimulus. This decision “relates to the amount of effort and recourses the must devote when they reward consumers who respond as they hope to their requests”(117). “Gamification” turns routine actions into experiences as it adds gaming to tasks that might otherwise be boring or routine. This is a common use of marketers towards younger generation as they have grown up playing games, and in in a ploy to capitalize on that marketers have created stimulus that will attract users to their product and or platform. At its most basic gamification is simply about providing rewards to customers to encourage them to buy even more.

        Unlike behavioral theories of learning, “cognitive learning theory” approaches stress the importance of internal mental process. This perspective views people as problem solvers who actively use information from the world around them to master the environment. Our brains remember these things and gain information in different ways. Marketers employ different techniques to change how our brain encodes, stores and retrieves information. Different types of memories are retained and related to different things. Episodic memories have to do with things that are personally relevant and as a result these memories tend to be strong. A “narrative” or description of a product that is written as story is often a good way for marketers to convey product information because they can often relate to personal memories. Marketers use various things to play on ways our minds retain and understand information in an attempt to sell the product and or good as well as create some sort of mental connection between the consumer and the brand

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