Cultural differences in ad information processing: The influence of analytic versus holistic thinking

by Liang, Beichen, Ph.D., UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO, 2007, 164 pages; 3274141


Will Eastern Asians and Western people use different strategies to process the verbal information when reading ads with different amounts of information? Since Eastern Asians tend to think holistically and Western people tend to think analytically, I predict that Eastern Asians tend to use a holistic way to process verbal information when reading analytic ads, whereas Western people tend to use an analytic way to process verbal information when reading both holistic and analytic ads. Study 1 shows that when compared with holistic ads, analytic ads lead Eastern Asians to generate more thoughts. However, analytic ads result in less favorable attitudes by Eastern Asians because such ads are not consistent with the cultural orientation of Eastern Asians. In contrast, for Western people, there are no significant differences between these two types of ads, and Western people tend to generate more favorable attitudes toward holistic ads. Moreover, Eastern Asians generally tend to recall more information than do Western people.

Study 2 finds that the holistic way of thinking of Eastern Asians is not influenced greatly even after they have lived in the U.S. for a period of time. Study 3 indicates that the analytic-holistic dichotomy tends to be deeper when participants are exposed to high-risk products. Study 4 supports the finding in study 1 that Western people are analytically oriented by using ads with only one piece of attribute information and ads with four pieces of attribute information. Study 5 shows that Western people prefer holistic ads because such ads provide more information about the product. Study 6 excludes a possible explanation that cognitive elaboration may undermine Eastern Asian favorableness toward analytic ads. Limitations and implications also are discussed.

AdviserJoseph Cherian
Source TypeDissertation
Publication Number3274141

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