Learning & Memory
Learning is any change in the content
or organization of long-term memory
or behavior caused by experience
Consumer behavior is largely learned
Cognitive vs. Behavioral Learning
Behavioral Learning: things in the environment influence learning
2 approaches:
- Classical conditioning
- Pavlov
- passive, reaction focused (if this stimulus, then this cognition & response)
Operant conditioning
- Skinner
- Active (if this behavior, then this cognition & response)
Cognitive Learning:
involves processing information
purposeful learning or learning through experience
e.g., iconic, reasoning, vicarious
Behavioral Learning: Classical Conditioning
• association of stimuli whereby “natural” responses of one stimulus are
transferred to a “neutral” stimulus
Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS)
(meat, popular music)
Conditioned Stimulus (CS)
(bell, pen)
Unconditioned Response (UCR)
(saliva, positive emotion)
Conditioned Response (CR)
(saliva, positive emotion)
Occurs based on the learning of the association
between the bell and the meat
Requirements for CC:
1. CS must precede UCS: show product prior to UCS
2. Product must be paired consistently with UCS (repetition)
3. CS and UCS must be relevant to the consumer
The Classical Conditioning Framework
Positive Affect
Paired via Advertising
Brand that is paired
with the Olympics
Positive Affect
Food Conditioning
• Preschool children
• Specific location with rotating light and song for snack
• Eventually associated the light and song with snack time
and eating
• After lunch one day, turned the light on and played the
• Children started eating again
How does this relate to healthy eating behavior?
Food conditioning issues?
reward, guilt, punishment, comfort
Behavioral Learning: Operant Conditioning
Operant/Instrumental Conditioning
Concerned w/changing the frequency of a behavior by changing the
consequences associated with the behavior
Positive Reinforcement – reward strengthens response
Negative Reinforcement – removal of negative event avoids negative outcome
Extinction – positive event removed and weakens response
Punishment – negative events follow a response
Cognitive Learning
Iconic Rote Learning: Learning a concept or the association between
two or more concepts in the absence of conditioning. Repetition is
critical to “getting” the link.
Observational/Vicarious Learning/Modeling: Involves observing
the outcomes of others’ behaviors and adjusting behavior accordingly.
Consumers can also use imagery to anticipate the outcome of various
courses of action “Imagine yourself on the beach of this secluded island
 Fear Appeals: “This could happen to you …”
Analytical Reasoning: The most complex form of cognitive
learning. Individuals engage in creative thinking to restructure and
recombine existing information as well as new information to form new
associations and concepts. Information from a credible source that
contradicts or challenges one’s existing beliefs often triggers reasoning
 If you let me play …
Role of Memory in Learning
Memory – process of acquiring information
and storing it over time so that it will be
available when we need it
Role of Memory in Learning
STM: Miller’s Law: 7+/- 2 chunks
• What’s a “chunk” of information?
– It is possible to retain more information in short-term memory if it can be
categorized in a meaningful way.
• For example, try to remember the following letters:
Now, let’s rearrange those letters into more meaningful “chunks”:
How easy it to remember this information now?
Building links in the consumer’s memory
Schematic (semantic or associative) Memory Networks
What are the first three things that come to mind when you see this logo?
- For each of these things, name three things that come to mind.
What comes to mind now?
What are the first three things that come to mind when you see this logo?
- For each of these things, name three things that come to mind.
How many ads do you remember seeing in the last week?
Von Restorff Effect:
A unique item in a
homogenous array is
more easily remembered
Response Environment:
Memory is enhanced when
recall conditions match
learning conditions
How do you
minimize forgetting?
Zeigarnik Effect:
Occurs when somebody
involved in a task is
People recall more
information when in
a good mood
• Marketers often evoke memories of the “good ol’
days” by marketing products with nostalgic
images. Though it seems this strategy targets only
middle-aged or older consumers, it can be used
toward college students.
• What “retro brands” are targeted to you? Were
these brands that were once used by your parents?
• What newer brands focus on nostalgia, even
though they never existed before?

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