Behaviourist and cognitive approaches to consumer learning theory

Essay by maddenUniversity, Bachelor'sB, February 2004

download word file, 6 pages 2.5

'Describe behaviourist and cognitive approaches to consumer learning theory and discuss the implications of these theories for marketing practice'

Learning is one of the major determinants of human behavior. Psychologists are of the opinion that all human behavior involves some form of learning. Human beings are not born with the knowledge or skills that could be used as guidelines of how to behave for their daily life. Knowledge or skills are obtained from learning. Learning is an unconscious activity that occurs frequently. Most of us learn something everyday. The casual, unintentional acquisition of knowledge is known as incidental learning. Learning is an ongoing process. The concept of learning covers a vast amount of ground, ranging from a consumers simple association between a stimuli such as a product logo (E.g. Coca-Cola) and a response (e.g. 'refreshing soft drink') to a complex series of cognitive activities. (E.g. just what I am doing now, writing an essay.

I hope I am learning from thisļ!!). All this information can be closely associated with an important aspect of consumer behaviour.

Psychologists have studied learning using a variety of approaches, and have tried to explain learning with a variety of different accounts. On the modern scene, these different approaches can be roughly organized into two broad categories, behavior theory or learning theory, and cognitive theory. These two approaches to learning are often regarded as quite separate from each other. Each has its own complexities, emphases and methods. They were concerned with entirely different problems and topics.

A few definitions from different sources.


"Knowledge or skill acquired through experience or study or being taught." (Concise Oxford English Dictionary. 2003)

"a process in which behavior capabilities are changed as the result of experience, provided the change cannot be accounted for by native response tendencies, maturation, or temporary...