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Title:The relation between syntactic complexity and advertising persuasiveness
Author(s):Lowrey, Tina Marie
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Shavitt, Sharon
Department / Program:Communications
Discipline:Communications
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Business Administration, Marketing
Psychology, Social
Mass Communications
Abstract:Three experiments were conducted to investigate whether syntactic complexity has direct implications for the persuasiveness of advertising. Psycholinguistic research has shown that syntactic complexity can lead to lower levels of comprehension and retention. However, the relation between syntactic complexity and persuasion has yet to be demonstrated.
The first experiment was designed as a demonstration of the effects of syntactic complexity on advertising persuasiveness. The design was a 2 (complexity level) x 2 (claim strength) factorial. As hypothesized, more support arguments were generated for strong claims at low levels of complexity than at high levels, leading to reduced persuasiveness under conditions of complex syntax. Conversely, more counter-arguments were generated for weak claims at low levels of complexity than at high levels, leading to enhanced persuasiveness under conditions of complex syntax.
The second experiment was designed to investigate whether results obtained in the first experiment were due to the inability to fully process complex syntax or due to lack of motivation. To do this, an involvement manipulation was included in the design, resulting in a 2 (complexity level) x 2 (claim strength) x 2 (low/high involvement) factorial design. It was hypothesized that complex syntax would not inhibit support and counter-arguing processes as strongly for highly involved individuals. Partially supportive results were obtained.
Finally, the third experiment was designed to investigate whether syntactic complexity could affect the ability to process under time constraints. An attempt was made to induce high involvement in all subjects, and a time limit manipulation was included in the design. This resulted in a 2 (complexity level) x 2 (claim strength) x 2 (time limit) factorial design. It was hypothesized that time limits imposed on highly involved subjects would inhibit support and counter-arguing processes. Partially supportive results were obtained.
In conclusion, these experiments demonstrated that syntactic complexity does have direct implications for the persuasiveness of advertising. In addition, these experiments yielded insights into when syntactic complexity operates as an ability variable and when it operates as a motivational variable.
Issue Date:1992
Type:Text
Language:English
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/19860
Rights Information:Copyright 1992 Lowrey, Tina Marie
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9305608
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9305608


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