Something for Nothing: Is Visual Encoding Automatic?

Annie Lang, Robert F. Potter, Paul D. Bolls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Two experiments tested the hypothesis that visual encoding of television messages is a relatively automatic process, whereas verbal encoding is a relatively controlled process. Subjects viewed 30 messages crossed on Production Pacing (slow, medium, fast) and Arousing Content (calming, arousing). It was argued that as pacing and arousal increased, the resources required to process the messages would increase, which would interfere with the controlled process of verbal encoding but not with the automatic process of visual encoding. As expected, visual recognition was not affected by the increased resource requirements, but verbal recognition declined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-163
Number of pages19
JournalMedia Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999


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