Advertising to Children on TV: Content, Impact, and Regulation

By Barrie Gunter; Caroline Oates et al. | Go to book overview

5
Theoretical Approaches
to Studying Children's
Understanding of
Advertisements

In chapters three and four, the research into children's understanding of advertisements was discussed. In chapter three, young children's attention and memory for advertisements, whether they could distinguish between advertisements and programs, and the early recognition of brand names was considered. Chapter four looked at more advanced forms of understanding, in particular children's recognition of the persuasive nature of television advertising as well as their attitudes toward advertising. In both chapters, many of the results from the research into children's understanding were summarized, and it was pointed out that there has not been much agreement about when children achieve different levels of awareness. As was pointed out, most of the research into children's understanding of advertising has been conducted without any theoretical framework.

This chapter suggests that the lack of a well-developed theoretical framework has weakened the research into children's understanding of advertisements. Two theoretical approaches that are referred to most frequently— Piaget's theory of cognitive development and the information processing approach to cognitive development (see Smith, Cowie, & Blades, 2003)—are the main focus though other theoretical approaches are discussed. Al

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