Of Rats and Brands: A Learning-and-Memory Perspective on Consumer Decisions
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Stijn van Osselaer (1971, Ph.D. (Marketing), University of Florida 1998) is Professor of Marketing specializing in Consumer Behavior at the Rotterdam School of Management/Faculteit Bedrijfskunde of Erasmus University in Rotterdam. His research focuses on the study of basic psychological processes involved in consumer decision making. In his inaugural address he argues that even sophisticated patterns of product evaluation and choice can be explained by simple associative learning-and-memory processes similar to those found in rats, dogs, and other animals. He outlines strategic implications for brand management and public policy as well as theoretical implications for the study of human learning and memory. Prior to his appointment at Erasmus University, Van Osselaer was an Assistant and later Associate Professor at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. His research is published in scholarly journals such as the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Consumer Psychology, and the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. He has presented his work at Columbia University, Duke University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, the University of California at Berkeley, INSEAD, the London Business School, Northwestern University, and to many other audiences worldwide.
When consumers evaluate or choose products, they rely on what they have learned and can remember about those productsâ characteristics, such as brand names, ingredients, orfeatures. Severalexperimentssuggest that evenrathersophisticatedpatternsofproduct evaluation and choice can be explained by simple associative learning-and-memory processes,which show similarities to those found in rats,dogs,and other animals.Strategic implications for brand management and public policy, theoretical implications for the study of human learning and memory, and directions for future research are outlined.
Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam School of Management
- consumer behavior
- brand equity
- consumer decision making
- brand management
- brand extension
- consumer psychology
- ingredient branding
- brand name