Understanding advertising clearly develops with age and cognitive abilities. In the previous chapter, early understanding (up to the age of about six to seven years) was discussed, and it was concluded that after this age, some children begin to demonstrate a more sophisticated level of comprehension. Many studies have also investigated older children's understanding, mostly relying on verbal or written methods given older children's ability to articulate their knowledge. Studies with older children have focused on whether they can comprehend advertising, the truthfulness of advertising, and the influence of famous characters in advertisements. Most researchers would agree that with increased understanding comes more cynicism toward advertising, doubt about its veracity, and a growing dislike of advertisements. Why children develop these negative attitudes toward advertising will be addressed in this chapter.
By the time children reach the age of about 10 years, it is generally assumed that their understanding of advertising has developed enough to appreciate the persuasive intent of advertisers. Some studies place this understanding as occurring much earlier, others somewhat later, depending on the researcher's definition of understanding. Martensen and Hansen (2001) carried out a survey of 1,600 Danish children aged between eight and 18 years.