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The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Consumption and Consumer Studies by J. Michael Ryan, Daniel Thomas Cook

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Experiential Consumption

MORRIS B. HOLBROOK

Columbia University, USA

ELIZABETH C. HIRSCHMAN

Rutgers University, USA

DOI: 10.1002/9781118989463.wbeccs111

In the 1960s and 1970s, most consumer researchers – following the formulations of such influential thinkers as Howard and Sheth or Bettman – embraced an essentially rational model of the buyer as a decision maker who processed various informational inputs (cognitions or C) to produce brand preferences (affect or A) that resulted in purchase commitments (behavior or B). These C-A-B formulations drew heavily on the work of attitude researchers (e.g., Ajzen and Fishbein) and emphasized the role of tangible brand attributes (features or F) in shaping beliefs (perceptions or P) that led to likes and dislikes (affect or A). Such F-P-A approaches were kissing cousins of the ubiquitous C-A-B models insofar as they hinged on the rational economic aspects of buying choices.

During the early 1980s – reflecting the work of such earlier pioneers as Abbott, Alderson, Dichter, Levy, Kotler, Jacoby, and Woods – Holbrook and Hirschman (1982) proposed an expansion of the C-A-B scheme to include aspects of what they called an “experiential view” that focused on fantasies (not just cognitive beliefs or perceptions but also various dreams, daydreams, unconscious material, symbolic meanings); feelings (not just affect in the form of likes and dislikes but also various emotions such as love, hate, joy, sorrow, anger, fear, acceptance, disgust); and fun ...

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