I saw it on the radio: The allocation of attention to high-imagery radio advertisements

Paul D. Bolls, Annie Lang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


This study was conducted to explore how the level of imagery in a radio advertisement affects the allocation of cognitive resources to encoding the message into memory. A within-subjects experiment was conducted in which participants listened to 24, 60-second radio advertisements that had been coded as either high- or low-imagery messages. Secondary-task reaction time was obtained during exposure to half of the advertisements, within each level of imagery. Self-reported involvement with the message was also obtained after exposure to each advertisement. Secondary-task reaction time was faster during exposure to the high-imagery advertisements. Self-reported involvement was greater for high-imagery advertisements, compared to low-imagery advertisements. Results of this study indicate that people allocate more controlled cognitive resources to encoding high-imagery radio advertisements than may be required by the message.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-55
Number of pages23
JournalMedia Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003


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