Perception of the World

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Our perception approximates reality. Our brain attempts to make sense out of the stimuli (agents, action or conditions that elicit a response) that is being received and exposed to. Sometimes through trickery and manipulation but often just by presenting themselves in the best possible light.  


The role of perception in consumer behavior is about recognizing how consumers perceive a company’s products or services. The consumer’s motivation for purchasing a product or service often comes down to the image or any of the five senses that are triggered. Marketers use perception to target people wants and need to fit in and be part of a larger group of discerning consumers.  

Stages of Perception  

Exposure: Occurs when a stimulus comes within the range of someone’s sensory receptors. Consumers concentrate on some stimuli, are unaware of others, and even go out their way to ignore some messages.  

Attention: Attention always precedes perception. Attention is their central process and perception is not all possible without attention. The process of attention serves the various in the organization of our perception and other cognitive functions.

Interpretation: Refers to the meanings we assign to sensory stimuli. Just as people differ in terms of the stimuli that they perceive, the meanings we assign to these stimuli vary as well. Many of these meanings depend on our socialization within a society: Even sensory perception is culturally specific.

Factors Leading to Adaptation

Personal Factors: Perceptual vigilance means we are more likely to be aware of stimuli that relate to current needs. Also, perceptual defense means that we tend to see what we want to see. Adaptation occurs when we no longer pay attention to a stimulus because it is so familiar.

Intensity: Soft sounds or dim colors

Discrimination: simple stimuli habituate because they do not require attention to detail

Exposure: Frequently encountered stimuli as the rate of exposure increases

Relevance: Stimuli that are irrelevant or unimportant fail to attract attention

Stimulus Selection Factors

Characteristics of the stimulus itself play an important role to determine what we notice and what we ignore. Also, researchers use infrared eye-tracking equipment to measure what advertisement consumer look at, studies found that visually complex ads.  

Size:  helps to determine if it will command attention

Color: color is a powerful way to draw attention to a product or give it a distinct identity

Position: We as a consumer stand a better chance of noticing stimuli that are in places were more likely to look.  

Subliminal perception

Refers to a stimulus below the level of the consumers awareness. A survey of U.S. consumer’s found that two-thirds believe in the existence of subliminal advertising. On the contrary, more than one-half are convinced that this technique can get them to buy things they do not really want. For example, ABC broadcast rejected KFC. KFC argued that they were not using subliminal advertising. ABC found by slowly replaying the ad you find a secret message.  


Perception is the process by which physical sensations, such as sights, sounds, and smells, are selected, organized, and interpreted. The eventual interpretation of a stimulus allows it to be assigned meaning. A perceptual map is a widely used marketing tool that evaluates the relative standing of competing brands along relevant dimensions.


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