Element of Perception: Sensation: Response to Stimuli

Sensation is the immediate and direct response of the sensory organs to stimuli. A stimulus is any unit of input to any of the senses. Examples of stimuli (i.e., sensory input) include products, packages, brand names, advertisements, and commercials. Sensory receptors are the human organs (the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and skin) that receive sensory inputs. Their sensory functions are to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. All of these functions are called into play, either singly or in combination, in the evaluation and use of most consumer products. Human sensitivity refers to the experience of sensation. Sensitivity to stimuli varies with the quality of an individual’s sensory receptors and the amount of the stimuli to which he or she is exposed. For example, a blind person may have a more highly developed sense of hearing that the average sighted person and may be able to hear sounds that the average person cannot.

Sensation itself depends on energy change within the environment where the perception occurs. A perfectly bland or unchanging environment, regardless of the strength of the sensory input, provides little or no sensation at all. Thus, a person who lives on a busy street in midtown Manhattan would probably receive little or no sensation from the inputs of such noisy stimuli as horn honking, tires screeching, and fire engines clanging, because such sounds are so commonplace in New York City. In situations in which there is a great deal of sensory input, the senses do not detect small changes or differences in put. Thus, one honking horn more of less would never be noticed on a street with heavy traffic.

As sensory input decreases, however, our ability to detect changes in input or intensity increases, to the point that we attain maximum sensitivity under conditions of minimal stimulation. This accounts for the statement, “It is so quiet I could hear a pin drop.” The ability of the human organism to accommodate itself to varying levels of sensitivity as external conditions vary not only provides more sensitivity when it is needed but also serves to protect us from damaging, disruptive, or irrelevant bombardment when the input level is high

One researcher pointed out the 83 percent of all communications today appeal to sight; also that smell, not sound, is the second most important sensory input. This study also reported that consumers preferred shoes and belts presented in a scented room rather then a non sented room, and were also willing to pay higher prices for these products. The importance of smell in communication was strongly supported by two Americans who developed a scientific explanation as to how people associate memories with smells and other studies demonstrating the impact of fragrance on product and store choices. Read the articles listed below for information on this topic.

This is from the book "Consumer Behavior." It's by Leon G. Schiffman and Leslie Lazar Kanuk. If you want to really know in depth information about consumer behavior, get the book.

Articles Related to Above Topic. Read in Order.

Definition of Perception. Relevance to Marketers and Advertisers

Element of Perception: Sensation: Response to Stimuli

Absolute Threshold of Sensation: Adaption to Advertising: Getting Used To Something

Sensory Adaption: Changing Advertising Campaigns To Reduce

Weber's Law: Just Noticeable Difference: Differential Threshold

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