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Psychological Factors Influencing Purchase

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Psychological Factors Influencing Purchase

In a very real sense, psychology plays a major role in consumer purchasing decisions. The four major factors that influence purchase decisions are motivation, perception, learning, and beliefs and attitudes (Shah, 2010, para. 16). According to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, the needs of human beings, from most foundational to highest, are physiological, security, social, esteem, and self-actualizing (Cherry, 2012, para. 7-11). Motivation is the result of one's desire to satisfy a particular need. According to consumer behavior researcher Asifo Shah (2010), perception involves "[S]electing, organizing, and interpreting information in a way to produce a meaningful experience of the world" (para. 18). Three different perceptual processes exist: selective attention, select distortion, and selective retention. Selective attention describes the attempts of marketers to solicit a customer's attention. Selective distortion involves customers' attempts to interpret information in a manner that supports their preconceived notions and beliefs. Finally, selective retention involves the effort of marketers to retain information that supports their beliefs. Both selective distortion and selective retention are forms of confirmation bias.

Learning and beliefs and attitudes also play a monumental role in influencing consumer purchasing decisions. While learning involves the acquisition of new information, beliefs and attitudes represent a priori (pre-experiential) or a posteriori (post-experiential) bias toward a particular product or service. Because consumer buying behavior is greatly affected by attitudes and beliefs, marketers are interested in them. Marketers create special campaigns to accentuate particular products and services in the minds of consumers (Shah, 2010, para. 19).

Which of these psychological factors exert the most influence on iPad consumers? In any given season, upon the release of the newest iPad, visions of how the sleek new mini-computer will revolutionize their lives fill the heads of Apple's neophiliac and early-adopter customer base. According to Time Magazine Correspondent Susan Whitbourne, "[P]sychology researchers have shown that each of us has our own level of craving for new things. They call this 'novelty-seeking,' or, the sexier alternative, 'neophilia'" (Whitbourne, 2012, para. 2). Although the level of neophilia varies in consumers, it is heightened when consumers' selective distortion based upon their positive experiences with previous Apple products comes into play, if they enjoyed such experiences. Ultimately, Apple iPad consumers' beliefs and attitudes toward the company provide the foundation for their perception and motivation. While these factors may not have the same carrying power in all iPad consumers, the factors are clearly evidenced in the majority



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