The predictive validity of brand-related autobiographical memories on brand commitment

  • B. R. M. Nilanthi Ratnayake

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Consumer decisions are largely influenced by prior experiences via memory. Consumer research is limited in its consideration of the separate memory system conceptualisations dominant in psychology, and rather has primarily focused on semantic memory (SM). As Autobiographical Memory (AM) may equally affect one’s brand consumption decisions, it is critical to integrate AM into brand-related memory studies for a complete understanding of the consumer learning and decision-making process. The study conceptualises affective, self-relevant brand episodes as Brand-Related Autobiographical Memory (BRAM), and storage of abstract brand knowledge as Brand-Related Semantic Memory (BRSM). The conceptual review identified hypothesised relationships between BRAM, BRSM, self-brand congruence and affective brand commitment.

    Within a positivist paradigm, the study employed methodological triangulation with qualitative interviews, functional magnetic resonanace imaging (fMRI) experiment and a survey to collect data. Findings suggest that brand memories are stored in AM and SM, and brand memories that are in AM are self-relevant and emotion-laden. The construct of Specificity explains the self-brand congruence relationship while BRAM (Vividness and Affect) influence brand commitment. No relationship was discovered between BRSM, self-brand congruence and brand commitment. This is of particular significance as dominant consumer research focuses on semantic memory.

    The research contributes to marketing theory by: 1). identifying the importance of multiple memory systems in understanding consumers’ decision-making; 2). exploring how BRAM contributes towards emotional decision-making models; 3). identifying the importance of BRAM in self-brand congruence theory and brand commitment decisions; 4). demonstrating the use of nuroimaging (fMRI) methods to study consumer memories and 5). introducing the BRAM scale as a complementary measure to recall and recognition tests.
    Date of Award2012
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorAmanda Broderick (Supervisor) & Harjit Sekhon (Supervisor)


    • brand-related autobiographical memory
    • affective brand commitment
    • brand-related semantic memory
    • self-brand congruence

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