Functionalism and Consumer Behavior Research

Charles Pickett, Mattel Corporation
George M. Zinkhan, University of Houston
Scot Burton, University of Houston
ABSTRACT - The New Functionalism arose as a philosophy of psychology in the mit-1960's and has become an increasingly important philosophy of science for that discipline. Generally, the New Functionalists view mental states in terms of their causal roles in relation to sensory stimulation, behavioral outputs, and other mental states. Emphasis is placed on the causal role of mental stages in the mental life of an organism. Several features of the New Functionalism, including ontological neutrality and the avoidance of teleological explanations and normative claims, make it quite appropriate for theory development in consumer behavior research. Unlike more restrictive perspectives, such as Behaviorism and Physicalism, theories of consumer decision making based on the New Functionalism can incorporate relationships between environmental stimuli, mental events, and behavioral outputs. All entities which can be functionally defined are admissible in theories based on the New Functionalism.
[ to cite ]:
Charles Pickett, George M. Zinkhan, and Scot Burton (1986) ,"Functionalism and Consumer Behavior Research", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 13, eds. Richard J. Lutz, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 670.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 13, 1986      Page 670

FUNCTIONALISM AND CONSUMER BEHAVIOR RESEARCH

Charles Pickett, Mattel Corporation

George M. Zinkhan, University of Houston

Scot Burton, University of Houston

ABSTRACT -

The New Functionalism arose as a philosophy of psychology in the mit-1960's and has become an increasingly important philosophy of science for that discipline. Generally, the New Functionalists view mental states in terms of their causal roles in relation to sensory stimulation, behavioral outputs, and other mental states. Emphasis is placed on the causal role of mental stages in the mental life of an organism. Several features of the New Functionalism, including ontological neutrality and the avoidance of teleological explanations and normative claims, make it quite appropriate for theory development in consumer behavior research. Unlike more restrictive perspectives, such as Behaviorism and Physicalism, theories of consumer decision making based on the New Functionalism can incorporate relationships between environmental stimuli, mental events, and behavioral outputs. All entities which can be functionally defined are admissible in theories based on the New Functionalism.

For further information, write to:

George M. Zinkhan / University of Houston / Department of Marketing, 323-M / Houston, TX 77004

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