Use of Classical Conditioning in Advertising

 
 
 
 
The use of classical conditioning in advertising has long been used as a means for those who sell products and services to influence consumers to purchase from them instead of competitors. Classical conditioning involves four main components: unconditioned stimulus (UCS), the unconditioned response (UCR), the conditioned stimulus (CS), and the conditioned response (CR). In classical conditioning there is an association which is developed between the unconditioned stimulus and the conditioned stimulus that prompts the conditioned response. If we use the famous experiment carried out by the founder of classical conditioning, Ivan Pavlov, we find that the UCS would be food in the dog's mouth, the UCR would be salivation, the CS would be the bell's tone, and the salvation associated with the bell's tone is the CR.

Classical conditioning is a form of learning but it is also a form of behavioral change. Advertisers have long relied on its principles to cause consumers to buy one company's products and services over those of another company by achieving a conditioned response in consumers. According to Smith, Feinberg and Burns (1998), "classical conditioning is widely used in advertising practices" (63). While a bell normally does not make an animal salivate, food in its mouth does. By associating the ringing of a bell with "dinner time", Pavlov was able to elicit an emotional response in his dogs that made them as

     
 
 
 
    

 

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