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Title: Dissonance and Mere Exposure in Direct-to-Consumer Advertising
Authors: Rhattigan, Joe
Advisors: Cooper, Joel
Department: Psychology
Class Year: 2017
Abstract: This paper investigates two psychological mechanisms that may be able to explain theeffectiveness of direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertisements. The empiricalsupport is an application of the developments in Zajonc’s (1968) mere exposure effect andFestinger’s (1957) theory of cognitive dissonance. The proposed experiment is a 2x2between subjects design with dependent variables measuring different forms ofattractiveness (i.e. overall attitude, purchase likelihood, perceived effectiveness, etc.). Theindependent variables were frequent repetition of the fictitious product name “Probalta”and no repetition of the name “Probalta” along with side effects included vs. no side effectsincluded in the advertisement. The results showed no exposure frequency effect and somesimple effects based on side effect disclosure. Consistent with cognitive dissonance theory,there was a significantly more positive change in affect and in general attitude when sideeffects were included in the advertisement. Possible alternative explanations are discussed.Keywords: mere exposure effect, cognitive dissonance, advertisements, attitudes
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Psychology, 1930-2020

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