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Learning occur intentionally, when a problem is recognised and information is acquired about

products which might solve the problem. Consumer learning also can occur unintentionally.
One benefit of the learning mechanism is that consumers are able to adapt to a changing
environment. Appreciation of learning and memory processes can aid our understanding of
how frequently to repeat advertising messages.

Learning can be viewed as a relatively permanent change in behaviour occurring as a result


of experience. The term behaviour is used to refer to non-observable cognitive activity as
well as to overt actions. Learning results in relatively permanent changes in behaviour. The
different types of learned behaviour include: Physical behaviour, symbolic learning and
problem solving, and affective learning. The principal elements of learning include four
elements which seem to be fundamental to the vast majority of situations: Motive, Cue,
Response, and Reinforcement. Motives arouse individuals, thereby increasing the readiness
to respond. I cue is a weak stimulus not strong enough to arouse consumers, but capable of
providing direction to motivated activity. Response is a mental or physical activity the
consumer makes in reaction to a stimulus situation. Reinforcement is anything that follow the
response and increases the tendency for the response to reoccur in a similar situation. One
important type of reinforcement is achieved through reducing motive arousal. Our behaviour
can be reinforced so subtly that we may not even be aware that it has occurred.

Learning involve the development of connections between a stimulus and some response to
it. The association of a response and a stimulus is the connection that is learnt. A portion of
this group minimises the importance of reinforcement, while others stress its crucial role.
Reinforcement is employed with the help of two fundamentally different methods of learning
connections: Classical and instrumental conditioning. Classical conditioning pairs one
stimulus with another that already elicits a given response. Over repeated trials, the new
stimulus also elicits the same or a very similar response. Certain types of habitual behaviour
can be explained through classical respondent conditioning. Instrumental conditioning also
involves developing connections between stimuli and responses, but it requires the learner to
discover an appropriate or correct response, which will be reinforced. Classical conditioning
involves an already established response to another stimulus. Its outcome is not dependent on
the learners actions. It influences development and changes in opinions, tastes and goals.
Instrumental conditioning requires no previous stimulus response connection. Its outcome is
dependent on the learners actions. It influences changes in goal directed behaviour

Instead of viewing learning as the development of connections between stimuli and


responses, cognitive theorists stress the importance of perception, problem solving and
insight. It is useful to have alternative learning concepts since the nature of what consumers
learn influences the method they used to learn it. It can explain how consumers learn about
existing products for which they have developed a recent interest or need.

Stimulus generalization is a process when a given response to stimulus has been learnt, and it
tends to be elicited not only by the original stimulus but also by stimuli that are similar to it.
The gradient of generalisation relates the degree of similarity between two stimuli to the
likelihood that both will generate the same response. Conversely, the more dissimilar two
stimuli are, the smaller the likelihood of stimulus generalization occurring. Learning of all
but the simplest tasks appears to follow a pattern which has become known as a learning
curve. The term distributed practice refers to learning sessions with rest periods, while
learning without rest is known as massed practice. The unlearning process is termed
extinction, which takes place when no reinforcement takes place after responses made to a
stimulus. Forgetting can be defined as the loss of retained material due to non-use or
interference from some other task.

Memory processes are of considerable importance to the understanding of consumers. The


cognitions are stored in memory and they influence how incoming stimuli are interpreted.
The multiple store approach is a memory structure which views memory as being composed
of three distinct storage registers: Sensory, short term and long-term. Information is first
received by sensory memory. Input is in the form of sensations that have been produced by
sensory receptors. Short term memory can be viewed as the workspace for information
processing. The duration of this memory register, though considerable a longer than that of
sensory memory, still lasts less than one minute. The process of coding is used to organise
information into a more easily handled format. This method is known as chunking. To
employ the chunking process, and individual must be prepared to receive the incoming
information. Long term memory is like a permanent store house for information that has
undergone sufficient processing. It has the capacity to store unlimited amount of information.
A predominant key to coding material for storage in long term memory is meaningfulness.

The various methods of long term memory coding can be grouped into three general
categories which interact with each other: Episodic memory, procedural memory, and
semantic memory. In episodic memory, events are stored according to the time order in
which they occurred. Procedural memory holds knowledge about skills and methods.
Semantic memory contains general knowledge we have about the world. Long term memory
is organised into numerous groupings or packets of information. It is an interconnected
system of nodes representing the information. Each concept in memory is integrated into an
organised structure involving one or more other concepts. It is possible for memory to
contain more than what was actually received from the environment. Several factors are
important influences on the process of retrieval: Extent of original learning, goals involved in
the original learning situation, and context of the situation. Retrieval typically involves
bringing and interrelated packet of information to consciousness.

Numerous memory concepts have significant implications in the field of advertising like:
Messages with unique aspects have greater potential for being remembered, Messages that
encourage immediate rehearsal of material stimulates its retention, more information can be
retained if it is chunked, memory is cue-dependent, and presentation of relevant cues will
stimulate recall, meaningful material is learned more quickly and has greater chance of being
retained. Methods for accomplishing retention include visual material, interactive imagery,
showing mistakes, incomplete messages, and mnemonic techniques.