Advertising Exposure, Memory, and Choice

Advertising Exposure, Memory, and Choice

Advertising Exposure, Memory, and Choice

Advertising Exposure, Memory, and Choice


Theoretical research on advertising effects at the individual level has focused almost entirely on the effects of advertising exposure on attitudes and the mediators of attitude formation and change. This focus implicitly assumes attitudes are a good predictor of behavior, which they generally are not, and downplays the role of memory, in that, there is generally a considerable amount of time between advertising exposure and purchase decisions in most marketing situations. Recently, a number of researchers have developed conceptual models which provide an explicit link between two separate events -- advertising exposure and purchase behavior -- with memory providing the link between these events.

Originally presented at the eighth annual Advertising and Consumer Psychology Conference held in Toronto, some chapters in this volume present recent research on the role of inferences in advertising situations, the effects of exposure to multiple advertisements, message receptivity, drama advertisements and the use of EEG in measuring advertising effectiveness. Contributions focus on research examining the effects of advertising exposure on consumer information processing and decision making. This book will be of interest to consumer psychologists and professionals in advertising and marketing.


Over the last 20 years, considerable progress has been made in advancing our theoretical understanding of the psychological effects of advertising. Early in this period, research focused on identifying mediators of advertising exposure on attitude formation and change. This research has indicated that the number of support and counterarguments generated during exposure to an advertisement (Wright, 1973), attitude toward the ad (Mitchell &Olson, 1981), and beliefs about the advertised product (Lutz, 1975) mediate attitude formation or change.

Later research concentrated on identifying factors that may influence the psychological processes that occur during exposure to advertising and how thse psychological processes affect attitude formation and change. One of the proposed models, the Elaboration Likelihood Model (Petty &Cacioppo 1983), for instance, identified message relevance as one of these factors. According to this model, when message relevance is high, individuals will actively process and evaluate the information in the advertisement when forming or changing attitudes. When message relevance is low, individuals will not actively process the information in the advertisement, but will instead rely on peripheral message cues to form or change attitudes.

Other models have identified goals or processing sets as a factor affecting the psychological processes that occur during exposure to advertising. Examples of the different alternative goals or processing sets that have been examined include a brand or advertisement processing set (e.g.,Gardner, 1985) and a utilitarian or value expressive set (Park &Young, 1986). Most of this research examining the psychological processes that precede attitude formation or change during exposure to an advertisement is integrated in a review by MacInnis and Jaworski (1989).

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