Julia Pounds, Ph.D.
TITLE: Research Psychologist/Air Traffic Safety Inspector
COMPANY: Federal Aviation Administration
Advisor: Dr. Richard J. Harris
Information processing of advertising: Effects of individual differences on attitudes and memory
Advertisers have long been interested in consumers' attitudes about print advertisements. The purpose of this research was to determine whether individual cognitive differences affect consumers' liking for newspaper advertisements. Three experiments were conducted. Participants in Study 1 distributed 100 points across four choices (to inform, to persuade, to entertain, to be artistically pleasing) to show what they thought to be the primary function of advertising. Results demonstrated that the four choices were sufficient to describe participants' views on the purposes of newspaper advertising. In Study 2, participants were given a list of real and fictitious store names representing retailers that carried products for both male and female college students. They rated each store name according to how familiar they were with the store and often they shopped there. From these ratings, seven real and six fictitious store names were selected. An ad was constructed with execution in three forms: copy only, picture only, and both copy plus picture. In Study 3, participants saw one form of each ad and assigned points to the four purposes for each ad, rated how much they liked each ad using a seven-point Likert scale, answered two familiarity questions for each advertised store, completed a twenty-two item Style of Processing scale, and answered three recognition test items for each experimental ad. Results showed that neither consumers' general nor specific expectations about the purpose of newspaper advertising influenced liking ratings or execution preference. However, the congruence between general and specific expectations did affect liking, with greater congruence resulting in greater liking. However, style of processing did not predict which ad execution would be preferred. Sex and style of processing interacted to predict liking. Scores on the recognition test showed no sex differences. Familiarity with the store advertised did affect liking scores. Compared to those to whom the stores were less familiar, consumers who were more familiar with the advertised store rated true statements higher in truth-value, rated false statements higher in truth-value, and rated plausible statements lower in truth-value. Results support the usefulness of employing a cognitive perspective to study individual differences in attitude about the ad and memory for the ad.
Ph.D., Psychology, Kansas State University, 1996