Classical Conditioning

Good Essays
“Evaluate the role of Classical Conditioning
In modern consumer behaviour”
Learning is a relatively permanent change in behaviour which comes from experience. “Learning occurs when new behaviours or changes in behaviours are acquired as the result of an individual’s response to stimuli.” (www.my-ecoach.com).
There are three types of behavioural learning theories. These include contiguity, classical or respondent conditioning and operant conditioning. “In classical conditioning, a secondary stimulus is paired with a primary stimulus that already elicits a particular purpose. As a result of this pairing, an association is formed. Eventually, the secondary stimulus will elicit the same reaction as the primary stimulus” (Assael, H. 1987; 63)
So, classical conditioning is simply learning by association. The term “classical” suggests that classical conditioning was the first type of learning to be discovered and studied by theorists. Many theorists used animals and rats to experiment with learning behaviours. However, there is much evidence to suggest that classical conditioning can also be used by marketers on consumers. As a result of this type of conditioning consumers can recall a certain product when alerted by a certain stimulus. Consequently, marketers can associate their products/services with positive role models, songs/jingles, colours etc. and in general create a positive image of their product in the consumer’s mind.

The three basic concepts which originate from classical conditioning are extinction, stimulus generalisation and stimulus discrimination. These three concepts are important to the strategic application of consumer behaviour (Schiffman, G, L. and Kanuk, L, L. 2004: 212)
For the purpose of this essay classical conditioning will be discussed and its effects in modern consumer behaviour will be evaluated.

Firstly, to understand the theory of classical conditioning in modern consumer behaviour lets look at Pavlov’s experiment.

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