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Comprehension of print advertising: Does it mediate persuasive effects?


The research tests the mediating role of comprehension of advertising employing complex semantic structures within the theoretical framework of the Elaboration Likelihood Model (Petty, Cacioppo & Schumann, 1983). By integrating theoretical and methodological perspectives from cognitive psychology, a theoretical framework and method for accurately measuring levels of comprehension of print advertising is developed and tested. Furthermore, previous research from persuasion theory in marketing and discourse reading comprehension are integrated, providing a richer understanding of the role of comprehension in advertising research. The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) is extended by simultaneously testing prior knowledge and comprehension in the persuasion process. Finally, the entire theoretical framework is then rigorously tested using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). Results are of interest and benefit to scholars and marketing practitioners alike.