Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

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Symposium #199
International Symposium - Consumer Behavior Analysis: Empirical Extensions and the Marketing Environment of Choice
Sunday, May 28, 2006
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Gordon R. Foxall (Cardiff University)
Abstract: The behavioral economics of choice has recently been successfully extended to consideration of human consumers in natural settings. This symposium brings together detailed analyses of consumer brand choice which demonstrate the relevance to consumer behavior analysis of several additional dimensions of behavior analysis namely under-, over- and anti-matching, and interresponse intervals. In addition, it extends behavioral economics by presenting research derived from the Behavioral Perspective Model of consumer choice, namely the role of informational reinforcement in the determination of demand. Finally, the symposium draws upon that model to elucidate the environmental determinants of consumer choice by considering marketing influences in behavioral perspective.
Deviations from Matching in Consumer Choice.
GORDON R. FOXALL (Cardiff University), Sully Romero (Exeter University), Teresa C. Schrezenmaier (Cardiff Business School), Jorge Oliveira-Castro (Universidade de Brasília)
Abstract: Previous research has demonstrated that the matching law can be successfully applied to consumers’ patterns of choice with substitutable products at both individual and aggregated levels of analysis. This research aimed to clarify and generalize previous results found at an individual level using independent and complementary products. Aggregated results show that consumers behave according to the predictions of the matching law with qualitatively different reinforcers only when the data are considered on a weekly basis, i.e., as determined by a series of analogic FR schedules. For analogic VR schedules consumers showed matching independently of the degree of substitutability between the products. Further research is needed at an individual level for which the results were not conclusive, and with more extreme forms of complementarity between products.
Effects of Brand Informational Reinforcement Level upon Brand Performance.
JORGE OLIVEIRA-CASTRO (Universidade de Brasília), Roberta Pohl (Universidade de Brasília), Moema Dias (Universidade de Brasília)
Abstract: Although brand differentiation is often cited in marketing as essential to brand success, there is no theoretical agreement concerning its interpretation and measurement. The Behavior Perspective Model provides a theoretically consistent interpretation of brand differentiation. According to the model, consumer behavior is influenced by utilitarian and informational reinforcements. Utilitarian reinforcements are functional consequences intrinsic to the use of the product or service (e.g., a car provides door-to-door transportation), whereas informational reinforcements are social consequences (e.g., prestige and status) associated to the use of a product or service and are mediated by other persons (e.g., driving a Bentley provides social consequences not associated with driving a Fiat). Using a questionnaire to measure the level of informational reinforcement of different brands of supermarket products, two studies (Study 1, including 1509 observations for six products; Study 2, including 1447 observations for three products) investigated the influence of brand informational level upon market share and charged price. Regression analyses indicated that for eight of nine products increases in brand informational level were associated to increases in market share and revenue. This type of analysis may provide important information to decision makers concerning the financial returns of investing in brand differentiation within different product categories.
Post-reinforcement Pause in Grocery Shopping: Comparing Inter-purchase Time across Products and Consumers.
VICTORIA K. JAMES (Cardiff University), Jorge Oliveira-Castro (Universidade de Brasília), Gordon R. Foxall (Cardiff University)
Abstract: Reinforcement usually generates an immediate pause in responding, which is followed by an increase in response probability as time since the last reinforcement increases. Considering that human activities can be interpreted in the light of these findings, the present paper examined purchase probability as a function of inter-purchase time. Panel data, based on a sample of 80 consumers purchasing nine supermarket food products during 16 weeks, obtained from a commercial firm, were initially used. For each product category, inter-purchase time (across all consumers) was very similar for each shopping occasion and purchase probability increased as a direct function of the logarithm of time since the last purchase. A comparison (Anova) of inter-purchase times across products and consumers showed that average inter-purchase time differed across four subsets of products and across seven groups of consumers, showing also a significant interaction effect. A correlation (Pearson) between individual inter-purchase time and number of products bought on each shopping occasion indicated that consumers that shop more frequently buy larger number of products per occasion (r (76) = -.54, p < .000). The same analyses were also conducted with a larger data set. These results have several managerial implications and demonstrate the usefulness of a behavior-analytic framework to the interpretation of consumer behavior.
The Behavioral Economics of the Marketing Firm.
VALDIMAR SIGURDSSON (Cardiff University), Gordon R. Foxall (Cardiff University)
Abstract: Firms exist in order to market. Understanding their nature thus requires an account of consumer behavior as well as one of managerial response. Consumer and marketer behaviors are mutually reinforced and necessarily entail literal exchange. The marketing firm exists in order to reduce the transaction costs involved in finding and retaining consumers. The analysis portrays the complexity of the marketing firm and the marketing relationships which it facilitates. It uses behavioral economics to elucidate the ways in which behavior analytical concepts and techniques make sense of a central institution of modern economies.



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