Individual Determinants

Major individual determinants of consumer behavior are portrayed in the inner ring. These variables potray how the consumer proceeds through a decision regarding products and services. The decision process itself is always at the center. The external environment into individual determinants demonstrates that environmental stimuli do not directly influence consumers. Instead, the stimuli are modified by internal influences such as learning personally attitudes, information processing, and motives. The opened circle between the decision process and these variables denotes the great influence they have on the decision process. The opened partitions between the individual determinants themselves represent the influence they have on each other.

There are five major groups of individual determinants: personality and self concept, motivation and involvement, information processing, learning and memory, and, attitudes.

Personality and self concept provide the consumer with a central theme. That is, they provide structure for the individual so that a consistent pattern of behavior can be developed. Several major personality theories are examined for their usefulness in understanding consumers. How the self concept develops, its role in influencing purchase decisions and the practical relevance of the subject to the marketer are reviewed.

Motives are internal factors that energize behavior and provide guidance to direct the activated behavior. Involvement describes the per6sonal relevance or importance that the consumers perceives in a given purchase situation. High involvement will lead to a motivated state. Various types of involvement and motive situation factors that influence them, and their influence on the behavior of consumer

The term information processing refers to the activities that consumers engage in when acquiring integrating and evaluating information. These activities involve actively seeking information or passively receiving it, attending to only certain parts of the information, integrating that which has been attended to with information from other sources, and evaluating the information for the purposes of making decisions. Such activities are varied and occur at all stages of the decision process. They also strongly involve some individual factors, including motivation, learning and attitudes. Information processing, introduces these issues and also discuss several marketing strategy areas in which an understanding of the progress can be of considerable benefit to the marketer. However, because of their importance, treatment of these issues is not within the scope of this article.

What consumers learn, how they learn, and what factors govern the retention of learned material in memory are all issues of considerable importance for understanding consumers. Not only do consumers acquire and remember product names and characteristics, but they also learn standards for judging products, places to shop, problem solving abilities, behavior patterns, and tastes. Such learned material stored in memory significantly influences how consumers react to each situation that they confront.

Attitudes guide our basic orientation toward objects, people, events, and our activities. As such, attitudes strongly influence how consumers will act and react to products and services, and how they will respond to communications that marketers develop to convince them to purchase their products. After a review of the nature and function of attitudes, attention is turned to how attitudes are formed and how they are related to purchase behavior.