Cognitive Appraisals Relevant to Consumer Behaviors

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  • 0:00 Cognitive Appraisal Theory
  • 0:44 Outcomes Appraisal
  • 1:38 Anticipation Appraisal
  • 2:09 Agency Appraisal
  • 2:48 Equity Appraisal
  • 3:18 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: David Whitsett

David has taught computer applications, computer fundamentals, computer networking, and marketing at the college level. He has a MBA in marketing.

Cognitive appraisal theory says that our perception of an event controls our emotional response. In this lesson we'll examine how specific types of thoughts, assessments, and/or feelings can contribute to specific types of consumer behavior.

Cognitive Appraisal Theory

It's possible for one event to cause completely different emotions from the people involved. Think about playing in a football game and how you'd feel in the winner's locker room versus being in the loser's locker room.

Outside of a purely physical response, we decide how an event makes us feel through our interpretation of the event. The two things we look at initially are whether the event was good or bad for us and what caused the event: cognitive appraisal theory.

There are four types of cognitive appraisals that have direct applications to understanding consumer behavior:

  1. Outcomes Appraisal
  2. Anticipation Appraisal
  3. Agency Appraisal
  4. Equity Appraisal

Outcomes Appraisal

Outcome desirability (aka, outcomes appraisal) is the initial good or bad interpretation part of assessment. The question is: What benchmark are we using to determine good or bad? In the football game example before, if we're on the winning team and our goal was to win, the probable result is that we would feel good about the game. We met our goal! So, if we're making a major purchase and we come across a deal that satisfies our objectives, we're likely to feel fulfilled and that our goals were met.

In addition to evaluating an event relative to a goal, we can evaluate an event in terms of being pleasant or unpleasant. Valence is a psychological term used to explain the negative or positive emotions we assign to an event, person, goal, or object, based on its attractiveness. For example, some people have a negative association with car shopping, from either past experiences or because of stereotypes.

Anticipation Appraisal

The anticipation appraisal, as the name implies, focuses on the future. How do we feel about an upcoming event? If we have a dentist appointment scheduled, we might have a feeling of dread associated with this event. If there's something good on the horizon, like a graduation, we may be looking forward to it.

Marketers use our anticipation response to hype the release of a new product. Think of the furor that Apple creates surrounding the release date of their new iPhones, or how movie trailers get people excited about the release of a new film.

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