Memory, Learning, and Perception

Memory, Learning, and Perception: A simple, memorable ad campaign
The “got milk?” campaign features messages which provide information about the benefits of milk, yet these messages are easy to comprehend

An ad with a complex message
This ad, for a heartburn medication, provides consumers with a lot of information which requires extensive processing to comprehend.

Getting Information Into Memory
A message is encoded into signs, symbols, words
It is available to be noticed in a message channel, such as TV
If received, it is decoded into meaning for the receiver
If learned, it may be retrieved from memory

Systems of Memory
Sensory memory - temporary, like the smell of good coffee
Short-term memory - held for a limited period of time - like a phone number; chunking into bits which can be remembered
Long-term memory - retrieval available for future use
Where is the info from this course going???

Behavioral Learning Theories
Cognitive Learning
Classical Conditioning
Operant Conditioning

Classical Conditioning
Meaning transfer can occur from pairing two objects together in an ad
What happens when you hear the Mr.Softee jingle? When consumers in the past saw the “blue light” at KMart?
When today’s consumers see the “fresh doughnut” sign at Krispy Kreme?
It occurs when a stimulus that elicits a response is paired with another stimulus that initially does not elicit a response on its own (Pavlov)
What happens when it’s time for class to be over???

Uses of Classical Conditioning
Brand names and brand associations to create brand equity = strong positive association
Product line extensions - positive carryover
Repetition of a message, frequency marketing
Generalization through look-alike products, family branding, line extensions, etc.
Negative side:  violent video games - conditioned to accept shooting?

Brand names and brand associations
Repetition of a message, frequency marketing - rewards
Endorsements and Spokespersons
Generalization - look-alike products
Differentiation - pointing out differences
Desire to learn info in a simple way
Closure (filling in)
Figure-ground reversal (like text)
Psycholinguistics - we know that people process different kinds of sentence structures in various ways - e.g. negative words are less easily comprehended

Operant Conditioning
The individual learns to perform behaviors which produce positive outcomes and to avoid those that yield negative outcomes (BF Skinner) – “Shaping”
Positive reinforcement:  rebates, congratulatory letters, benefits
Negative reinforcement:  punishment, embarrassment, product failure…
Principles of reward and punishment are used

Uses of Operant Conditioning
Endorsements and Spokespersons
Rewards - what will the consumer view as a reward? Coupons? Rebates?
Intensity of punishment - negative effects
Products in movies, game shows = your product is the reward, what is desired
Generalization – tendency to respond in similar ways to similar stimuli – a new product looks very similar to your “old” brand

Cognitive Learning Theory
Oreck vacuum cleaner ads
Rehearsal (quiz), Elaboration (project), Interrelationships among ideas (projects), reference to self
Use of recognition and recall
Mental processing, understanding
Conscious vs. unconscious
Observational learning - watching, conspicuousness

How motivated are consumers to learn?
Strategies for market leaders (top dogs)
Reinforcement – if highly motivated but unfamiliar
Blocking – motivated and familiar – blocks exposure to evidence – e.g. that competitor is better
Strategies for market underdogs
Disruption – familiar but uncertain – present new information – perhaps your brand is not the best
Facilitating trial – unmotivated – try by experience – free samples

1947 – introduction of kitty litter
The bag showed a smiling cat and the words:  “Ask kitty. She knows.”
Many new consumers complained:  “I’ve tried everything. I’ve put milk on it, I’ve put cream on it, but my cat just won’t eat the stuff.”
Stimulus generalization?
Stimulus discrimination was needed.

Retrieval and Response Bias
Recognition vs. recall
Confusion in retrieval if info learned incorrectly
Response bias: people tend to answer “yes,” pick “c” in multiple choice
People may want to “please” the interviewer
Unaided (free) recall does not contain any retrieval cues
Aided (cued) recall provides cues to help someone remember
Brand recognition focuses on more than just the name
Showing the packaging in an ad helps recognition when in the store

Topics regarding exposure:
Thresholds - is the stimuli below your threshold?
Subliminal perception
Weber’s law - just noticeable difference - when is a change in a product likely to be noticed by the consumer? pricing, design, recipe?
Applications - how heavy can an appliance be for an elderly consumer?

So – what will you remember from this course?
Cognitive learning occurs when information processed in short-term memory is stored in long-term memory
Rehearsal involves the mental repetition of information  or, the recycling of information through short-term memory
Elaboration: the degree of integration between the stimulus and existing knowledge
Retrieval: the activation of information stored in long-term memory that is then transferred into short-term memory

How can we use this in consumer research?
Many companies focus on what consumers remember about their advertising messages, rather than on how many remember seeing it
If consumers don’t remember the brand, then the other things they do remember will not be linked to the brand in memory
If consumers are confused about which brand was in the ad, they might link the ad claims to another brand

How Companies Can Help Consumers to Remember - Reminders
Advertising reminds consumers to buy a product
Post cards remind consumers to make an appointment
Retrieval cues placed on packaging and at the point of purchase enhance ad effectiveness

Companies rely on repetition (showing ads over and over again) to enhance rehearsal of the ad
Learning plateaus after a certain number of repetitions, and negative responses may result from seeing an ad too often
Repetition may be used within an ad

Encourage elaboration
Self-referencing: involves relating a stimulus to one’s own self and experiences
The number and strength of potential linkages between new and stored information are enhanced
Research supports the potential for encouraging self referencing through advertising copy

Perception can be defined as the process by which an individual selects, organizes, and interprets stimuli into a meaningful and coherent picture of the world.
It is a process through which incoming stimuli are given meaning; a process through which we make sense out of the world.
What can be done to help you notice and remember?

What do the words below say?

Information Processing (What do you perceive?)
Selection, organization, and interpretation of stimuli
Selective perception – what did you choose to pay attention to?
Identical advertisements, packages, or products may be perceived very differently by consumers

Getting consumers’ attention in a world of messages
How many commercial messages were you exposed to today?
Figure-ground reversal (textbook)

The process of selective perception
Selective exposure – which radio stations you listen to
Selective attention – greater awareness of things you’re interested in
Selection comprehension – interpreting information
Selective retention – what do you remember?

Factors Affecting Sensory Perception
Stimulus factors
Visual cues: color, shape, and size
Aural cues: tempo and pitch
Olfactory cues: sweet, bitter, and floral
Tactile cues: soft, coarse, and silky
Individual Response Factors
Sensory acuity: the capacity to recognize and differentiate among certain sensory cues
Sensory preferences: sensory product features are perceived and evaluated based on consumers’ preferences
Consumer expectation: it affects how certain product features are likely to be perceived and evaluated

Reality . . .
Is a totally personal phenomenon, based on that person’s needs, wants, values and personal experiences
It is the individual’s perception of “what’s out there”
It is not what actually IS so, but what consumers THINK IS SO, that affects their actions, their buying habits, their leisure habits.

Stimulus Factors Influencing Gestalt Perception
Color and contrast
Position – proximity
Closure – need to fill in and complete
Outstandingness – figure and ground
Stimulus generalization – e.g. look alike products
Stimulus discrimination – Perdue chickens
Context or setting
Frequency – how often is it seen?
Movement – is it different?

What do the words below say?
Individual Factors Influencing Gestalt Perception
Cognitive set
Ability to perceive

What Do You Perceive?

Stages of Information Processing
Exposure - people are eligible to perceive - are your customers exposed to your messages?  Let’s consider the website, this class, what do you select to remember?
Attention - engagement of processing capability - do your customers pay attention to your messages?
Comprehension - organization of stimuli - do they understand your messages?
Acceptance - persuasion? Do your messages convince your customers of what you are saying?
Retention - do they remember them?
Sensory memory – short-term & long-term memory

How will individuals learn to choose your remodeling firm?
Which firms have they heard of?
Which firms have their friends used?
Which are in the phone book?
Which are on the web?
Whose signs have they seen?

What can my firm do to increase the chance of selection?

Using the Information Processing Model to Analyze the Problem
Exposure - how can we send messages to potential donors and potential shoppers - e.g. tv ads, print + coupons, direct mailers
Attention - how keep attention – community activities – sponsor a team?
Comprehension – what do people know about remodeling?
Acceptance? Will they give us a call? Email?
Retention – will they use us and refer us to others?

Grabbing the consumer’s attention?
Cutting the clutter - ads in text - is it hard to find the topics that are important
Leaving the television viewing area during commercial breaks - zipping through recorded tv programs
How apply this concern to web ads that are ignored?
Size - what stands out? extremes
Color - will variations in color grab attention? -provided you can see it!
Intensity - loudness, etc. - can you hear it?
Contrast - differences
Position (proximity)

How Consumers Interpret Perceptions
Categorization: the psychological process through which a consumer compares the perception of a product with a mental representation of that product in memory
Analytic versus non-analytic
Marketing implications for new products or innovations