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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Measuring emotional response to television advertising Punnett, Trent Harold


The objective of this thesis is to initiate development of a valid and reliable measurement process to assess a viewer's emotional response to television advertising. The development of this measure is based on current psychological theories about the emotional process, and takes advantage of current methods available to measure emotional response. The goals for the measurement process are to provide information on emotional response to television advertising from two diverse sources, automatic real-time response, and cognitive after-the-fact responses. The selection of instruments to meet these goals first involved a review of the psychological literature on emotional theory to provide direction on defining what is an emotional response, and how the emotional subcomponents relate. This provides direction for evaluating the instruments available for measuring emotional response, and selecting two that will satisfy the above goal. The use of these measurement instruments in a pretest is then outlined, and the thesis concludes with directions for future research. The construct of emotion is complex and multidimensional, including interactions among neural hormonal systems, conscious and unconscious cognition, physiological adjustments, affective response, and expressive behavior. These dimensions suggest four categories that emotional response measurement instruments can be grouped into; cognitive, affective, psychological and behavioral. Measurement instruments in each of the four above categories have problems in their applicability as stand alone measures of emotional response to television advertisements. Of all the measurement instruments reviewed, the Beaumont Emotion Battery and the Facial Action Coding System appear to be compatible with the construct of emotion and each other. These measures can provide similar data, and capture virtually the same categories of emotional response. The usefulness of combining these two measures should be explored through a pretest. In designing the pretest, the success in capturing specific emotional responses attributable to the advertisement will depend on the setting used, the selection of advertisements and the program these advertisements are embedded in. The setting should copy a normal viewing environment to encourage normal behavior in subjects. The advertisements used should maximize the variability in emotional response, while being new to the subjects to avoid frequency biases. The program should be carefully selected to avoid content effects. When subjects proceed through the pretest procedure of watching a television program while having their facial expressions videotaped, and then responding to the Beaumont Emotion Battery after the program ends, careful attention to the environment, advertisements, and program will reduce the potential for error and bias in the pretest. To structure and delineate areas for new research, emotional response to television advertising can be approached from the viewpoint of what could impact or influence the response. This leads to the definition of the following areas of influence: the advertisement; the group of advertisements the advertisement is placed in; the program; the viewing environment; and the viewer.

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