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Conditioning and Learning Processes. 1. Learning Processes. 1. Classical Conditioning Process by which a neutral stimulus becomes capable of eliciting a response because it was repeatedly paired with a stimulus that naturally causes the response. 2. Instrumental or Operant Conditioning

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Learning Processes

  • 1. Classical Conditioning
    • Process by which a neutral stimulus becomes capable of eliciting a response because it was repeatedly pairedwith a stimulus that naturally causes the response

2. Instrumental or Operant Conditioning

Process of altering the probabilityof a behavior being emitted by changing the consequences of the behavior

  • 3. Vicarious Learning (Modeling)
    • Processes by which people change their behaviors because they observedthe actions of other people and the consequences that occurred

Classical Conditioning















Learns to associate an unrelated stimulus

with a particular behavioral response that

has previously been elicited by a related stimulus

Emphasis: Association through repetition and contiguity


Classical Conditioning Key Points

1. Can be accomplished not only with unconditioned stimuli, but also with previously conditioned stimuli

2. Classically conditioned behaviors are controlled by stimuli that occur before the behavior

3. Behaviors influenced by classical conditioning are assumed to be under the control of the autonomic nervous system (involuntary)

4. Affective responses often follow the principles of classical conditioning


Classical Conditioning Key Points (cont.)

5. Marketers must carefully choose events, persons, and objects to pair with their brands so that the right meanings and feelings rub off on customers.

6. Pairings should be repetitive and frequent.

7. More likely to occur in low involvement decision situations.


Stimulus Generalization

Response to stimulus is elicited by a similar but distinct stimulus

Family Branding - People generalize the feelings and thoughts about all the products with the same family name.

Me Too Packaging (store brands, copycat products) – Similar packaging to elicit stimulus generalization

Limits of Generalization – Plausibility of the stimulus


Stimulus Discrimination or

Stimulus Differentiation

Process of learning to respond differently to similar but distinct stimuli

Relevant to brand image and brand positioning – establishes competitive advantage.


Increase or Decrease in

Probability of Response

Reward or Punishment

Operant Conditioning

Learns to associate a stimulus with a response when

given a reinforcement for responding to the stimulus


Emphasis: Reinforcement; dependence of outcome on learner’s actions


Operant Conditioning Methods

Present positive consequences

Positive reinforcement

Increases the probability of behavior

Increases the probability of behavior

Remove aversive consequences

Negative reinforcement

Decreases the probability of behavior

Neutral con-sequences occur


Decreases the probability of behavior

Present aversive consequences


Operation performed after behavior




Operant Conditioning Key Points

  • Trial and Error learning

2. Under the conscious control of the individual

3. Although classically conditioned behaviors are elicited by stimuli that occur before the response, operant behaviors are emitted because of the consequences that occur after the behavior

4. Operant conditioning has occurred when the response hierarchy (ordered probability of occurrences) is changed

5. If neutral consequences occur repeatedly, the response will diminish in frequency (Extinction)


Reinforcement Schedules

The rate at which rewards are offered are called reinforcement schedules

Continuous Reinforcement Schedules

Desired Behavior Reward given following behavior

Product Purchase Trading stamps, cash bonus or rebate, prizes, coupons


Fixed and Variable Reinforcement Schedules

Desired Behavior Reward given following behavior

Product Purchase Fixed - Prize for every third, fourth, etc. purchase

Variable - Prize to some fraction of people who purchase


Vicarious Learning

Observer sees modeled behavior and consequences

Observer performance of modeled behavior may increase or decrease, depending on the modeled consequences

Model performs behavior and experiences consequences


Strategies Designed to Influence Overt Consumer Behavior

Affective Consumers’ emotions Classically moods, feelings conditioning evaluations emotions to products

Type of StrategyStrategic FocusSample Strategies

Cognitive Consumers’ Providing info knowledge, highlighting meanings, beliefs competitive advantages

Behavioral Consumers’ Positive overt reinforcement; behaviors Modeling desired behaviors


Discriminative Stimuli

Reward Signal


Desired Behavior


The mere presence or absence of certain stimuli (Discriminative Stimuli) can change the probabilities of behavior

Entry into store Store signs 50% off sale

Store logos Kmart’s big red K

Brand purchase Distinctive Levi’s tag,

brandmarks Ralph Lauren polo player


Shaping (Prompting Behavior)

Consequences following approximation

Approximation of Response

Final response desired

A process of arranging conditions that change the probabilities of certain behaviors not as ends in themselves, but to increase the probabilities of other behaviors

Opening a charge account

Trip to point of purchase

Entry into store

Product trial

Prizes, etc for opening account

Loss leaders, entertainment, or event at the shopping center

Door prize

Free prize and/or some bonus for use

Expenditure of funds

Purchase of products

Purchase of products

Purchase of products



Drive state created by interests and needs

  • Motivational involvement
  • High Involvement – Think before you act
  • Deliberative Search
  • Lengthy Consideration
  • Low Involvement – Act before you think
  • Passive, haphazard, unintentional, unfocused learning
  • Repetition
  • Attention-getters
  • Location – out of sight, out of mind
the foote cone belding grid for analyzing consumer product relationships
The Foote, Cone & Belding Gridfor Analyzing Consumer–Product Relationships

Approach/Avoidance Motivational Conflict

Approach – Avoidance – Negative and positive consequence

Approach – Approach – More than one, approximately equal need (have your cake and eat it too)

Avoidance – Avoidance – Two negative consequences (double trouble)


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Self Actualization

Self-Fulfillment, Enriching Experiences

Ego Needs

Prestige, Status


Love, Friendship


Security, Protection, Shelter


Water, Sleep, Food