Overview of the BPM
DOI link for Overview of the BPM
Overview of the BPM book
The impetus for a program of consumer research that takes radical behaviorism as its initial foundation lies in the prevailing success not of that paradigm but of that of the cognitive psychology that in some respects has superseded it. Consumer research in the context of contemporary marketing-oriented economies has been, since its inception in the 1960s, overwhelmingly cognitive. Since cognitivism was also the dominant framework of conceptualization and analysis in psychology at that time, many of its underlying assumptions and methodological tenets were taken for granted in the earliest stages of the development of modern consumer psychology. The governing paradigm in any subject area is scarcely subjected to criticism with the same intellectual rigor as those schools of thought that are not in the ascendant, and many of the explanatory conventions that were adopted in the new approach to consumer behavior seemed to go unquestioned even when the empirical (and, sometimes, the logical) basis for their acceptance was shaky. The need for an intellectual agenda that would seek to establish the place and role of cognitive psychology, assuming it deserved to have them, in consumer research led to the investigations that have become known as the Behavioral Perspective Model, or BPM, research program. The choice of radical behaviorism stemmed from its minimal deployment of theoretical terms, its avoidance of cognitive terminology, and its insistence on explaining behavioral responses exclusively by reference to environmental stimuli. In establishing how far one could progress with such a
minimalist program, it would be possible to ascertain how far an alternative, cognitive explanation would have to be incorporated into any attempt at understanding consumer choice, and how this might be accomplished. Perhaps there would be no need for a cognitive framework; perhaps the need for such a paradigm would entirely eclipse the behaviorist approach; perhaps some kind of integration of the two would become necessary such that neither was overshadowed by the other but each functioned usefully on its own explanatory level.