The role of perception in consumer behaviour

Seminar Paper, 2004

15 Pages, Grade: 1,3




1. Introduction

2. What is perception?

3. How customers perceive
3.1. Vision
3.2. Hearing
3.3. Taste
3.4. Smell
3.5. Touch

4. When customers perceive stimuli
4.1. Absolute Threshold
4.2. Differential Threshold
4.3. Subliminal Threshold
4.4. Perceptual selection
4.4.1. Exposure
4.4.2. Adaptation
4.4.3. Attention

5. How do consumers perceive a stimulus?
5.1. Perceptual organization
5.1.1 Figure and Ground
5.1.2. Closure
5.1.3. Grouping
5.1.4. Proximity
5.2. The impact of symbolism in marketing messages
5.2.1. Semiotics: The study of symbolism

6. Impact on marketing activities


Interesting Websites

Table of Figures

Figure 1 The perceptional process

Figure 2 Relationship of components in Semiotic Analysis of Meaning


I chose the topic “The role of perception in consumer Behaviour” for my assignment, because I thought it might be an interesting one. And I have to say that it is really an interesting topic. But the problem was that every time I thought I was finished, I found something new, which I wanted to add. That’s why this essay is rather long for a continuous assessment. But nevertheless it gives only a short overview over the whole topic. By doing this exercise I gathered a lot of interesting information and also discovered some nice websites. I hope you will enjoy reading this essay.

1. Introduction

Our modern world is very complex, and so is the business world. There are many things that influence the behaviour of the consumer. These influences can be religion, ethnic group, social class, age, gender, values, etc. But what is even more important than the different stimuli itself is how consumers perceive, process, interpret and store the stimuli. This work will describe what perception is, how consumers perceive and how this scheme can be used by marketers.

2. What is perception?

In general, perception is gathering information through our senses, which are seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling and sensing. Through these senses we can perceive things, events or relations. But as there are so many different stimuli only a small portion of them are noticed and an even smaller amount can really reach our attention. And that’s were it is necessary to talk about the difference between Sensation and perception. Although the distinction between sensation and perception is not that easy as it was believed in former times, a rough distinction can be made.

Sensation is the immediate response of our sensory receptors to such basic stimuli as light, colour, etc.

Perception is the process by which these stimuli are selected, organized and interpreted. Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1 The perceptional process

When talking about perception we always have to keep in mind that we perceive the world not as it is, but as we think it is. That means that there are innumerable perceived worlds out there. This statement is based on the fact that every human being relates the observed world to its past experiences, its values, etc. Perception is more than just gathering information about a certain event at a certain time. It involves, recognizing stimuli, processing and storing them. The major challenge for the marketer is to identify the target customer and to find out, how this customer perceives the world. That will help to adjust all marketing activities to the target customer.

3. How customers perceive

I will introduce this chapter with a short Statement by Daniel Yankelovitch, President, Daniel Yankowitch, Inc, New York, NY.

“Perception is seeing. Apperception is seeing in the light of experience. Apperception involves expectation, foreknowledge. Apperception is an idea, already in the mind, that influences the interpretation of what is newly seen. Psychologists tell us that “people tend to see what they expect to see.” This is apperception.”

This statement underlines that perception is a highly subjective matter and that people try to make sense out of what they see, hear, etc.. For marketers that mean that they can try to use this desire of the consumer to get him involved in the advertisement and therefore involved in the product. The following chapter will describe the basics of human perception and give ideas, how marketers can stimulate human perception.

3.1. Vision

When examining perceiving through vision, colour is an extremely important factor. Some researchers suggest that colour determines, whether we see stimuli at all.

Colour can be described according to its hue, saturation and lightness.

Hue refers to the pigment contained in the colour. We can distinguish between so called warm colour like red, orange and yellow and cool colours, like blue and violet.


Excerpt out of 15 pages


The role of perception in consumer behaviour
Galway Mayo Institute of Technology
Consumer Behaviour
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
539 KB
Consumer, Behaviour
Quote paper
Marco Erlenkamp (Author), 2004, The role of perception in consumer behaviour, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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