بررسی انتقادی از اثرات شرطی کردن کلاسیکی بر رفتار مصرف کننده
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|1836||2012||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Australasian Marketing Journal (AMJ), Volume 20, Issue 4, November 2012, Pages 282–296
This paper reviews extant research in classical conditioning effects in consumer behavior and advertising contexts to determine whether they are real or illusory. The empirical results reveal that in cases where classical conditioning effects were found, they could be countermined by the deficiencies in research methodologies, demand artifacts, the mediating role of contingency awareness, or some alternative mechanisms. In cases where the effects were not observed, the failure could be attributed to violations of the conditions for classical conditioning to occur or absence of contingency and demand awareness. It is concluded that thus far there has been no convincing evidence for classical conditioning effects on consumer behavior. Suggestions for future research in this area are presented.
Inspired by classical conditioning principles, many ads show the advertised product together with celebrities or pleasant stimuli (objects, scenes, persons, and so forth) once or several times with a hope that positive feelings from those stimuli will transfer to the product and thus inducing its liking. Classical conditioning has been generally accepted in consumer behavior literature as a mechanism producing advertising effects (Schiffman and Kanuk, 2010), as a possible mechanism in the peripheral route of persuasion (Edell and Burke, 1984 and Petty et al., 1983), and as pertinent in passive consumption context (Gorn, 1982 and Greenwald and Leavitt, 1984). According to the classical conditioning model of learning, which is based on Pavlov’s (1927) work, an unconditioned stimulus (hereafter referred to as US or USs for the plural form) is a biologically significant stimulus such as food, pain, electric shock that generates a response (for example, salivation when seeing certain foods) from the start; this response is referred to as an unconditioned response. Repeated pairings of a conditioned stimulus (hereafter referred to as CS or CSs for the plural form, for example, the ring of a bell) with an US (for example, meat paste) will enable the CS to elicit a conditioned response (for example, salivation) in an unconscious and automatic manner. When the US is an affect (Razran, 1938), for instance, music and humor, the conditioning may be referred to as affective conditioning.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study reviews empirical research regarding classical conditioning effects on consumer behavior. The majority of the reviewed studies reported significant results supporting classical conditioning effects. This is not surprising given the fact that studies with significant findings have a higher chance to appear in international refereed journals than studies with null effects. The review shows that in cases where classical conditioning effects were found, the results were rather dubious due to deficiencies in methodology and/or possible demand artifacts. In most of these studies, CS–US contingency awareness was necessary for classical conditioning effects to emerge. Alternatively, the effects could be explained by some other mechanisms such as the mere exposure effect and pseudoconditioned responses if no proper control procedures were employed. In cases where classical conditioning effects were not supported, the non-significant results could be attributed to violation of the conditions for classical conditioning to occur, absence of CS–US contingency awareness and demand awareness, or lack of statistical power due to a small sample size. Based on the above evaluation, it seems legitimate to conclude that to date, not much convincing evidence exists for classical conditioning effects in consumer behavior and advertising contexts. Whether this is because (i) the theory itself is false (although a theory cannot be falsified by lack of evidence), (ii) the theory is valid but cannot be extended to affective responses in consumers who are far different from animals on which the theory is based, (iii) the methodology for testing and measuring classical conditioning effects on consumer behavior has not been up to the task, or (iv) classical conditioning effects on humans may occur under specific boundary conditions only, remains to be uncovered. As raised by Janiszewski and Warlop (1993), one reason underlying the inconsistencies in consumer conditioning literature is the flexibility in human learning mechanisms. Humans are very sensitive to the procedures employed to communicate information and the measures of the effect of these communications. Small procedural changes can significantly affect the learning that is obtained in a session. The findings of each study thus depend on the selection of the CS and the US, the strength of the unconditioned response, inter-trial interval, temporal priority of the CS and the US, number of trials, training environment, test environment, test distracters, CS consistency, control conditions, subject populations, and so forth. Even though classical conditioning effects might really exist, they might not provide much usefulness in marketing given that the affective response changes in consumers do not necessarily lead to actual purchases and the ideal conditions for classical conditioning effects to occur are rather difficult to meet in real life. Specifically, the advertised brand (the CS) will have low predictiveness of the US and thus low chance to elicit the desired unconditioned response if (i) both the CS and the US are presented simultaneously (which is the case in print ads and even in some television commercials); (ii) the CS is presented constantly, followed occasionally by the US (consumers are likely to encounter the brand many times in real life without the presence of the US portrayed in the ad); and (iii) either the US or the CS is frequently encountered alone (which is usually the case in consumers’ daily life). Marketers who are keen to utilize a classical conditioning procedure to elicit certain consumer responses should therefore be aware of its limited chance of success in real marketplace. Most studies reviewed shared the following weaknesses: (i) using familiar CSs and USs, thus constituting the CS lacking predictiveness of the US, the blocking effect, the US pre-exposure effect, and the latent inhibition effect; and (ii) lacking any pretest to ensure that the CS and the US match each other logically and perceptually. Some studies (e.g., Feinberg, 1986 and Gorn, 1982; the mood induction experiment of Groenland and Schoormans, 1994 and Lie et al., 2010) employed a single pairing of CSs and USs and yet found significant classical conditioning effects. While classical conditioning might occur after one trial, it usually entails a very strong US such as an intense shock or a nauseating drug, which has hardly been used in classical conditioning research in consumer behavior for ethical reasons. Given the prevalent methodological deficiencies and strong demand artifacts of past studies, future research testing classical conditioning effects on consumer behavior should try to improve all of the following aspects within the same experiment to increase internal validity of the research: (i) Making sure that the CS predicts the US by using unfamiliar CSs and USs and by having the CS precede the US. (ii) Pretesting that the CS and the US match each other logically and perceptually. (iii) Using striking CSs and USs and allowing longer inter-trial intervals. (iv) Including various filler materials to reduce participants’ hypothesis guessing. (v) Including a random control group, which is exposed to the same number of CSs and USs as the experimental group but these stimuli are presented randomly with respect to each other. (vi) Including a demand-artifact-checking group, which does not receive the same treatment as the experimental group but merely reads the description of the treatment, in order to compare the results with the experimental group. (vii) Measuring CS–US contingency awareness and hypothesis guessing in every group. (viii) Using both negative and positive USs to see whether classical conditioning effects are present in both. (ix) Manipulating the number of CS–US pairings and the inter-trial intervals to see at what levels classical conditioning effects can be observed. Once studies with more valid methodology have been conducted and enough supporting evidence has been accumulated, future research can then proceed to examine the boundary conditions for classical conditioning effects to emerge and not to emerge. Cross-cultural experiments may also be conducted to investigate whether cultural upbringing prompts people to respond differentially to classical conditioning procedures.