Same-Sex Couples in Advertisements: An Investigation of the Role of Implicit Attitudes on Cognitive Processing and Evaluation

This research examined how implicit attitudes are associated with cognitive processing and self-reported evaluation of advertisements featuring same-sex couples. Hypotheses were posited using the theoretical framework of social identity theory (Tajfel and Turner 1986) and perspectives on implicit attitudes. In Study 1, participants watched and evaluated 10 television advertisements while physiological measures of cognitive and affective processing were collected. Ads varied such that half used same-sex couples as protagonists while the other half used other-sex couples. Participants demonstrated less positive responses to ads featuring same-sex couples. Physiological and self-reported responses were associated with implicit attitudes toward homosexuality Negative implicit attitudes toward homosexuality were associated with more negative affect, less attention, less positivity, and less liking for ads featuring same-sex couples. Two subsequent studies replicated these findings in nonstudent samples, indicating that participants preferred ads with other-sex couples (Study 2) and that implicit attitudes were associated with this response (Study 3). This research suggests that implicit attitudes affect processing and evaluation of ads featuring same-sex couples in ways unaccounted for by explicitly measured attitudes. Results are discussed in terms of advancing theory, furthering understanding of the dynamic processing of ads featuring in-group and out-group members, and practical implications.

Publication Date:
Apr 12 2018
Date Submitted:
Jul 22 2019
Journal of Advertising, 47, 2

Note: The status of this file is: public

 Record created 2019-07-22, last modified 2019-07-22

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