The purpose of this paper is to bring forth the limitations of some important models of cognition and behavior adopted by social marketers and present important findings from recent lines of research that contribute to a fine‐grained understanding of human behavior.
This is a conceptual paper that presents a review of several theoretical approaches to human cognition and behavior and their implications regarding social marketing campaigns.
It is concluded that the assumptions underlying traditional models of behavior need to be revised, especially the assumption that human beings are rational decision makers – the prototypical homo economicus. Behavioral science has revealed that people are far from being rational and are prone to be influenced by myriad factors, some deemed irrelevant under rational models. Social marketing interventions have greater probability of success when they rely on more realistic assumptions of human behavior.
Social marketing needs to embrace the contributions of the several disciplines and lines of research centered on the study of all facets of human behavior, such as behavioral economics and dual‐system framework.
The main implications are: the recommendation to assume people are running on their System 1 when they are in contact with social marketing campaigns, the need to consider the interplay of systems and selves over time, the recommended emphasis on place strategies, and the need to avoid cash incentives and silver bullets.
The value of this paper is in contrasting the assumptions of traditional models of cognition and behavior widely used in social marketing with the evidence from several lines of research portraying influences in human behavior not accounted by those models.
Coimbra Carvalho, H. and Afonso Mazzon, J. (2013), "
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