Topics: Emotion, Cognition, Psychology Pages: 11 (3132 words) Published: October 7, 2014
The Power of Affect: Predicting Intention


This robust structural modeling study, with over 23,000 responses to 240 advertising

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messages, found that affect when measured by a visual measure of emotional

response dominates over cognition for predicting conative attitude and action. CHONGMOO WOO
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marketing and advertising profes-

require cognitive processing. Thus, one clear

sionals and researchers have been struggling with

solution to these issues would be the development


two important questions: What is more predictive

and use of a nonverbal measure of affect. A non-

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of consumer intent—thoughts or feelings? And, in

verbal measure would offer the potential for rep-

the tripartite of cognitive, affective, conative atti-

resenting attitudinal properties without cognitive

tudes does cognitive attitude dominate and does



it mediate the relationship between affect and

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Affect is clearly one component of attitude and a

For many years, there was a tendency of focusing

force in persuasion. Petty and Cacioppo (1981)

on cognitive-based attitude, suggesting that, with

have defined attitude as, “a general and enduring

advertising involvement, cognition predominates

positive or negative feeling about some person,

over affective processing and that affective reac-

object or issue.” Although this definition obvi-

tions are always mediated by cognition (Green-

ously assigns an affective component to attitude,

wald and Leavitt, 1984; Tsal, 1985). In fact, the

persuasion research has been dominated by the

derivation and strength of the attitude toward the

message learning approach, assigning the affective

ad (Aad) process is based on the relationship be-

processes a relatively minor role. This is surprising

tween attitude toward the ad and attitude toward

given the extensive use of emotional appeals in

the brand (Abd), and the determination that Abd

advertising. Thus the questions remain: Would

predicts purchase intention (Mitchell and Olson,

better prediction of behavior be achieved if more

1981; Lutz, MacKenzie, and Belch, 1983; MacKen-

emphasis were placed on the nonrational and

zie and Lutz, 1986). Fishbein (Fishbein and

emotional determinants of behavior? Would atti-

Middlestadt, 1995) also heralded the notion of cog-

tude research improve if affect were shown to be a

nitive-based attitude by suggesting that a consum-

major component of conative attitude?

er’s attitude is a function of (cognitive) beliefs and

One possible reason for this enigma might be

those beliefs predict intentions of behavior.

the measurement tools. Attitude measures rely al-

Studies examining the role and relationship of

most entirely on cognitive scales, requiring ad-

emotion as the mediator of responses to advertis-

vanced verbal skills and a cerebral analysis by re-

ing (Edell and Burke, 1987; Holbrook and Batra,

spondents of surveys. These methods rely on the

1987), however, have found that cognition can

assumption that respondents are capable of ac-

drive affect. In fact, some researchers (Brown and

cessing the individual components of attitudes,

Stayman, 1992; Cohen and Areni, 1991; Petty et al.,

judge their feelings, and translate them into re-

1991) have argued that affect can directly influence

sponses on typical Likert scales. Although verbal

attitude and that cognitive-based models fail to

measures can represent many distinct aspects of

properly measure feelings associated with the

emotion, they do not produce a true dichotomy...
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