Outline. Definition of perception Sensation Absolute and differential thresholds Consumer behavior applications Attention Selective and intensive aspects of attention Consumer behavior applications Comprehension Categorization and inference making Schemas and comprehension
Outline • Definition of perception • Sensation • Absolute and differential thresholds • Consumer behavior applications • Attention • Selective and intensive aspects of attention • Consumer behavior applications • Comprehension • Categorization and inference making • Schemas and comprehension • Consumer behavior applications
Perception the process by which stimuli in the external, physical world are translated into internal, mental representations; three stages: • sensation: registering stimuli through the five senses (vision, sound, taste, smell, touch); • attention: allocating processing resources to certain stimuli; • comprehension: interpreting stimuli that have been attended to;
Sensation • sensation refers to the process of registering external stimuli through the sensory receptors (i.e., the sense organs); • sensation is subject to sensory thresholds: • absolute thresholds: minimum amount of stimulation or smallest intensity of a stimulus that can be detected by a sensory receptor (cf. subliminal perception); • differential thresholds: minimum amount of change in stimulation or the smallest difference between two stimuli that can be detected by a sensory receptor (also called the just noticeable difference or jnd);
Subliminal persuasion • notion that certain stimuli, even if presented below the threshold of conscious awareness, may influence consumers’ behavior subconsciously; • types of subliminal stimuli: • very briefly (tachistoscopically) presented visual stimuli • subaudible messages • embedded stimuli • little evidence of direct behavioral effects and enormous practical difficulties in applying these principles in typical marketing contexts (due to threshold differences, lack of control, masking by supraliminal material, etc.);
Differential thresholds and Weber’s law • according to Weber’s law, the greater the intensity of a stimulus, the more the stimulus has to change for a change to be noticed; thus, jnd = k x Iwhere jnd is the just noticeable difference, I is the intensity of the stimulus, and k is a constant that differs for different sensory modalities; • applications: • marketers want consumers to notice a change • marketers do not want consumers to notice a change;
Attention the allocation of processing capacity to a stimulus; two aspects of attention: • selective aspect: question of which stimuli are selected for processing; • intensive aspect: question of how much processing capacity is allocated to a stimulus;
In-class exercise: Attention-getting marketing stimuli During one of your shopping excursions (e.g., a trip to the grocery store, a mall visit), carefully observe all the marketing stimuli present in the store environment (products, ads, promotions, etc.) and think about what makes (some of) them attention-getting. List at least five characteristics that are attention-getting for you.
Selective aspect of attention metaphor of attention as a filter screening informational inputs for further processing; two sets of factors influence selectivity: • external factors: aspects of a stimulus that help it break through the clutter (environmental prominence);arousal potential of a stimulus is a function of: • psychophysical properties • ecological properties • collative properties • internal factors: • cognitive (e.g., prior knowledge), • affective (e.g., mood), • motivational (e.g., involvement)
Intensive aspect of attention • continuum of levels of attention ranging from preconscious to focal; • intensity of attention is strongly influenced by motivational factors (cf. Celsi and Olson); • some tasks require more attention than others: • controlled processes: processes that aren’t highly practiced and require attention and conscious control; • automatic processes: processes that are highly practiced and require no or little attention and conscious control;
Comprehension • process of interpretation, or assignment of meaning, to a stimulus; • comprehension if often conceptualized as varying on a continuum ranging from superficial or cursory to thorough or detailed; motivational factors are an important influence on the depth or elaborateness of processing (cf. Celsi and Olson); • two important steps are involved in comprehension: • categorization • inference making
Involvement, attention and comprehension (Celsi and Olson) • Ss were asked to look at 6 ads for 2 tennis shoes, racquets, and strings as if they were seeing them in a magazine; • Ss in the high situational involvement (SI) condition were told that they could win one of the products described in the ads; Ss in the low SI condition were told nothing; • Ss were classified into low, moderate, and high intrinsic involvement (II) conditions based on their scores on the Personal Involvement Inventory for tennis; • Ss looked at two ads for, say, tennis shoes and then engaged in a thought listing task, etc.; • ad processing time was used as a measure of attention; proportion of product-related thoughts as a measure of focus of attention; number of cognitive responses as a measure of comprehension effort; and inferential thoughts as a measure of elaboration; • at the end, domain knowledge was assessed with a paper-and-pencil test;
Involvement, attention, and comprehension (cont’d) % product thoughts Focus of attention time Attention high SI high SI low SI low SI I I I I low moderate high low moderate high Comprehension effort % product inferences Elaboration total thoughts high SI high SI low SI low SI I I I I low low moderate high moderate high
Top-down vs. bottom-up processing • comprehension is influenced both by what people already know about a stimulus and by the actual characteristics of the stimulus: • top-down (or theory-driven) processing: instances where comprehension is strongly influenced by people’s prior knowledge of the stimulus; • bottom-up (or data-driven) processing: instances where comprehension is heavily influenced by the actual characteristics of the stimulus; • top-down processing depends on the schemas that are activated during perception;
Schemas • schemas are cognitive structures that represent people’s knowledge about people, objects, or events: • person schemas • object schemas • event schemas (or scripts) • schemas facilitate theory-driven processing, and schema-based comprehension emphasizes the constructive nature of perception;
The role of schemas in comprehension • schemas affect the encoding and retrieval of information; often, there is a bias toward perceiving only schema-consistent information, although the schema may also point to schema-inconsistent information; • schemas allow people to draw inferences (which may be misleading; see Harris); • schemas may be helpful in evaluating new stimuli (i.e., by categorizing them and then referring to the category affect to make the judgment; see Sujan);
Pragmatic implication in advertising (Harris) • ads may lead consumers to believe something that is neither explicitly stated nor logically implied; • 180 Ss listened to 20 fictional ads on a tape recorder; in 10 ads a critical claim was directly asserted (e.g., taking Eradicold Pills will get you through a whole winter without colds), in 10 it was pragmatically implied (e.g., get through the winter without colds; take Eradicold Pills); • Ss were asked to rate two test sentences per commercial as true, false, or of indeterminate truth value, based on what they had heard (one was the critical test sentence, the other a false or indeterminate filler); the immediate group provided these ratings after each commercial, the concurrent group received a written transcript of each ad, and the delayed group heard all the ads and then provided ratings; • half of the Ss were specifically warned about pragmatic implication;
Listerine commercial “Wouldn’t it be great,” asks the mother, “if you could make him coldproof? Well, you can’t. Nothing can do that. [Boy sneezes.] But there is something that you can do that may help. Have him gargle with Listerine Antiseptic. Listerine can’t promise to keep him coldfree, but it may help him fight off colds. During the cold-catching season, have him gargle twice a day with full-strength Listerine. Watch his diet, see he gets plenty of sleep, and there’s a good chance he’ll have fewer colds, milder colds this year.”
In the assertion condition, Ss were told: Taking Eradicold pills will get you through a whole winter without colds. • In the implication condition, Ss were told: Get through the winter without colds. Take Eradicold pills. • The test sentence was: If you take Eradicold pills as directed, you will not have colds this winter.
Pragmatic implication (cont’d) • Results: • using the number of statements rated as true as the dependent variable, temporal condition interacted with claim type and instruction type; Type of claim Temporal condition Assertion Implication Immediate No instructions 8.80 7.80 Instructions 7.27 5.33 Concurrent No instructions 9.67 8.17 Instructions 8.10 5.40 Delayed No instructions 8.13 8.07 Instructions 8.10 7.43 • one of the ads was for Listerine; the number of trues overall was 74 and 83 out of 90 for implications and assertions, respectively;
Corrective advertising (Wilkie, McNeill, & Mazis) • in the 1970s the FTC ruled that Warner-Lambert’s 50-year old campaign for Listerine mouthwash had been deceiving customers into thinking that Listerine was able to prevent sore throats and colds or to lessen their severity; • the company was ordered to run a corrective advertising campaign, mostly on TV, for 16 months at a cost of $10 million; the argument that corrective advertising violates the advertiser’s First Amendment rights was rejected by the courts; • interestingly, after the corrective campaign was run, 42% of Listerine users still believed that mouthwash was being advertised as a remedy for sore throats and colds, and 57% of users rated cold and sore throat effectiveness as a key attribute in purchasing the brand;
In-class exercise: Inferences Collect some examples of brand names, brand symbols, package designs, product features, advertising claims (e.g., about nutritional content), promotional tactics, etc. that invite consumers to draw inferences about a product. Which of these inferences may not accurately characterize the product in question and could therefore be called misleading?
Category-based vs. attribute-based evaluative processing (Sujan) • Ss were asked to look at a simulated print ad and form an impression of the advertised product; • the product was referred to as either a 35mm SLR camera or a 110 camera and described with attributes that were typical of these types of cameras; Ss received information that was either consistent with (match) or discrepant from (mismatch) category knowledge; • a 15-item multiple-choice test was used to classify Ss as expert or novice consumers; • cognitive responses, response times, and product evaluations served as dependent variables;
Category-based vs. attribute-based evaluative processing (cont’d) # of attribute- oriented thoughts # of categorization thoughts impression formation time experts novices experts novices novices experts match mismatch match mismatch match mismatch • experts preferred the description of the 35mm SLR camera (regardless of label) ; • novices rated the camera that was labeled 35mm SLR more positively (regardless of features);