Stimuli and Sensation – Psychology Report

Stimuli and Sensation – Psychology Report

Marketing often involves trying to understand how consumers make their decisions on what to buy. Such understanding may give manufacturers an edge in influencing consumers to buy their products. This article is a brief summary of how a stimulus triggers a sensory response. A marketing approach is taken for this topic.

Stimuli and Sensation

For effective marketing to be carried out, one needs to understand how people make purchase decisions. The decisions are often influenced by some “conscious and cognitive processes” (Dobney, 2012, p. 1) which rely on “major and secondary senses” (Dobney, 2012, p. 1). Having a good understanding of the stimuli-sensation process is important for effective marketing. It is known that a stimulus leads to a response. Before a response is chosen, the brain is engaged in choosing the most appropriate and relevant response. The process of choosing the appropriate and relevant response is subconscious.Stimuli and Sensation – Psychology Report

As seen in the diagram above, the final process is arrived at after some stages of hidden feelings are processed. It is argued that even the individual making a decision is often not aware of some of the stages that take place in his or her brain. The first stage in the stimuli-sensation process starts with our senses. Senses in this context span out of the five common senses known and involve such senses as “a sense of our own mood, of time and of place among others” (Dobney, 2012, p. 1). The activation of the senses leads to the stimulation of emotions whereby only feelings are involved and later thoughts come in.


The sensory-emotional process described above has been shown to be filled with vast connections to an individual’s past. This may include childhood memories or specific special events which occurred in a person’s life. A product that will help a person to connect with his or her past will somehow appear more attractive than one that does not (Dobney, 2012).

Moods are also pointed out to be very significant in making decisions on what is to be bought. Though in many cases we seem to be concerned about the quality and price of a product, there are cases whereby moods rule what we buy. For instance, restaurants which offer comfort often sell their products costly but still, customers prefer them because of the relaxing mood they create. It is also noted that more often than not moods expected in future lead people to buy certain products. For instance, people often buy special clothes and foods for upcoming parties and celebrations (Dobney, 2012).Stimuli and Sensation – Psychology Report

The understanding of how senses are stimulated into making decisions is often used in real world marketing in what is referred to as sensory branding. Sensory branding applies various techniques to appeal to consumers. A scent, sound, or texture may be used to help a customer connect with his or her past. This, however, calls for a proper understanding of what triggers consumers (Dixon, Stone & Zednickova, n.d).


A decision to purchase a product is arrived at after senses are stimulated and through several stages, a final response is made. This final response is often arrived at after many subconscious stages are processed. Connections to the past and moods are two of the factors which have been pointed out to affect a response arrived at when senses are stimulated.


Dixon, P., Stone, R, & Zednickova, J. (n.d). Engaging Customers through Sensory Branding. Lippincot.

Dobney. (2012). Sensory-emotional research. Dobney.Stimuli and Sensation – Psychology Report

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