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The Effects of Ad Context and Gender on the Identification of Visually Incongruent Products


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  • Theodore J. Noseworthy
  • June Cotte
  • Seung Hwan (Mark) Lee


Evidence from three experiments shows that due to superior visuo-spatial elaboration, females (relative to males) have a heightened ability to identify visually incongruent products that are promoted among competing products. Females discriminate relational information among competing advertisements and use this information to identify incongruent products that would otherwise go unidentified. Consequently, they evaluate the products more favorably. Consistent with predictions of a limited capacity in working memory, we find this performance for females coincides with a reduction in ad claim recognition. Close inspection reveals the trade-off between product identification and ad recognition is the result of involuntary resource allocation from verbal processing to visuo-spatial processing. Hence, females may be able to use the advertising context to identify an extremely incongruent product, but this performance is not without a cost. Our results have important implications for research on product incongruity, gender, and advertising context.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Consumer Research.

Volume (Year): 38 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 358 - 375

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:doi:10.1086/658472

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Cited by:
  1. Michael Wood & Theodore Noseworthy & Scott Colwell, 2013. "If You Can’t See the Forest for the Trees, You Might Just Cut Down the Forest: The Perils of Forced Choice on “Seemingly” Unethical Decision-Making," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 118(3), pages 515-527, December.


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