Consumer Behavior Learning and Memory

This week during class we went over Chapter Four, which goes into detail about learning and memory, along with how it coincides with the topic of consumer behavior. On Tuesday, February fifth our class lesson specifically targeted the learning aspect of the chapter. We discussed many subject matters, like, behavior learning theories and gamification. However, on Thursday, February seventh the class focused on memory.

In preparation for Tuesday’s class we watched Professor Chew’s video on learning, which dives into the topic of constructive studying methods. In the video he goes over the “10 Study Strategy Principles” :

  1. Principle 1 – Your level of understanding is a direct result of how hard you prepare.
  2. There are effective and ineffective ways to prepare.
  3. You have to master the basics before moving on to more complex skills.
  4. Overconfidence should be avoided at all costs.
  5. Effective preparation requires your total focus.
  6. Successful learning requires planning ahead.
  7. Feedback helps you get better.
  8. Recognize and take advantage of prime learning opportunities.
  9. Improvement involves dealing with challenges, difficulty, and uncertainty.
  10. Find the value in what you are studying in order to do your best.

An important takeaway from the video is Principle Four, while addressing this principle Chew mentions the word “Metacognition” which is defined as awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes. We reflected upon this word at the beginning of class. How do we learn? Our textbook defines learning as “a relatively permanent change in behavior caused by experience” (Consumer Behavior, Solomon). As our class discussion continued, we started to look into behavioral learning theories, which “assume that learning takes place as the result of responses to external events” (Consumer Behavior, Solomon). Two major approaches to this theory are classical conditioning and instrumental conditioning. Classical conditioning is a learning process that “occurs when a stimulus that elicits a response is paired with another stimulus that initially does not elicit a response on its own. Over time, this second stimulus causes a similar response because we associate it with the first stimulus” (Consumer Behavior, Solomon). Classical conditioning is just associated in your brain, responses are controlled by the autonomic and nervous systems. Marketers use classical conditioning to create a memorable feeling and connection with a brand or product. On the other hand, instrumental conditioning is a learning process that “occurs when we learn to perform behaviors that produce positive outcomes and avoid those that yield negative outcomes” (Consumer Behavior, Solomon). Unlike classical conditioning where responses are involuntary, instrumental conditioning responses are more complex and deliberate. Marketers use instrumental conditioning by giving incentives as a positive reinforcement for consumers. We also glimpsed over gamification, which is a strategy that “turns routine actions into experiences as it adds gaming elements to tasks that might otherwise be boring” (Consumer Behavior, Solomon). Although the textbook goes more in depth into the subject of learning, Tuesdays class clearly expressed how we learn to be consumers.

On Thursday we discussed memory which is the “process of acquiring information and storing it over time so that it will be available when we need it” (Consumer Behavior, Solomon). Just like a computer our brains encode, store, and retrieve information. “The way we encode, or mentally program, information helps to determine how our brains will store this information. In general, it’s more likely that we’ll retain incoming data when we associate it with other things already in memory” (Consumer Behavior, Solomon). Along with encoding we reviewed different types of memory. One type of memory that we focused on is episodic memory which “relate to events that are personally relevant. As a result, a person’s motivation to retain these memories will likely be strong” (Consumer Behavior, Solomon). An important part of memory is associative networks which kind of works as a web diagram, connecting similar things or things can can be associated with one another. For example perfume, what do we associate and connect with this product? Some may connect brands, objects, people, or even words with a product. We also learned how ads can impact one’s memory and how that can affect one’s behavior. Marketers hope consumers can recall an ad and make a positive relationship with it. Although we went over the positive aspects of memory, we also touched on the negative ones as well. Some problems with memory measures are Response biases; Memory lapses – omitting, averaging, telescoping; and Illusion of truth effect.

This weeks lessons helped further our knowledge on how one’s mind can greatly impact consumer behavior. An individual’s mind plays a big part in how we associate products and/or brands with feelings or memories. Learning and memory not only helps marketers advertise to consumers, but it also helps consumers be aware of how products and brands can resonate with us.

Works Cited

Solomon, Michael R., et al. Consumer Behaviour: Buying, Having, Being. Pearson Australia, 2013.

By: Kendall Johnson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *