Adapt to survive … you would be lying to say you have never heard this statement before. The general idea of the statement is to make the necessary amendments in your decisions while keeping your past experiences in mind. The adaptation level phenomenon is nothing different but a more technical explanation to the statement above. Let’s find out more about this phenomenon.

Adaptation Level Phenomenon

The Adaptation Level Phenomenon, also known as the AL theory is a psychological concept. It concerns with the fact that individuals (human and/or otherwise) tend to make decisions that are influenced by their experiences in the past.

The AL theory presents a hypothetical concept which elaborates that it is a natural instinctive feature to learn from the past experiences before making any new decisions.

The individuals that have been in a similar situation in the past tend to not repeat their mistakes as those led them to subsequent failure.

Who initiated the adaptation level phenomenon?

Harry Helson, an American Psychologist, and Kansas University Professor proposed this theory in 1947. His motive was to explain that an individual’s evaluation of a decision in the present possesses influence from a decision of the past in a similar situation.

This theory sheds light on the strong connection between an individual’s past experience and the present decision-making.

In scientific interpretation, the adaptation level phenomenon can be the theory of relativity in Psychology. The basis of the hypothesis stands firmly on the connection of an individual’s subjective judgment being influenced by previous experience.


Have a look at Louis C.K’s, a famous comedian, views on how people are adapting to the rapid changes in technology and taking them for granted.

Despite the humor in the video, there is an important thing to focus on here. Being a middle-aged person, he was astonished by the amount of patience that is present in today’s generation.

He backs up his astonishment by explaining that he comes from a time where things as little as a phone call or traveling, required a great deal of hard work.
Whereas, now, the advancement of technology has made it stupendously simple.

This tells us that the adaptation levels in the current generation have gotten so much better than the constantly enhancing technological advances have become a norm and are easy to adapt and move on.


To conclude, I would say that Harry’s adaptation level phenomenon speaks directly to marketers. In actuality, it’s the marketers that should utilize this theory to adapt according to the varying situations.

This will allow them to be in control, take preemptive measures and decisions and enhance their performance. Furthermore, marketers should observe and gauge the impact of adaptation levels on different individuals. This might help their companies’ to enhance their sales performances to a great degree.

Please let me know how informative was this article for you. Did it have sufficient information that you require? Did it answer the confusion about the impact of adaptation level in marketing and in general? Comment away your feedback, suggestions, I would love to make the necessary amends to adapt and survive, haha! Have a nice day.


Pursuing my passion i.e. Graduation in Computer Science while creating exciting and informative content to satisfy my thirst of writing.

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