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Analyzing Exposure and Attention Variables in Media Effects Research
Unformatted Document Text:  Exposure and Attention 16 enough to eliminate all effect of exposure. In that case, anchoring the response scaling with a bottom score of “1", so that exposure effects are acknowledged but not adjusted upwards, makes more sense. Such a test of raw-score multiplicative interactions may at times be theoretically justified, as Eagly and Chaiken (1993) argue with respect to expectancy-value formulations of attitude. However, in the case of exposure and attention, use of raw score multiplicative interaction variables may lead to spurious inferences regarding exposure effects that may in fact be due to the influence of third variable influences such as prior knowledge on the attention variable (Chaffee, et al., 2001) used to weight the effects of exposure. The use of centered scores to create a multiplicative variable does permit more unambiguous testing of contingent relationships, as these are more commonly construed in hypothesis testing. It is instructive, for example, to consider the difference between the functions described by a multiplicative interaction of positively-valenced raw scores and centered scores. The former, as discussed above, is described by a positively-sloped, non-linear function. The centered interaction, in contrast, creates a positively-sloped function when scores are both positive or both negative–but not when one score is positive and the other is negative. In that case, the function is negatively sloped. In other words, the centered interaction more closely parallels the interaction tests of off-diagonal cells in analyses of variance. From a theoretical perspective, testing contingent relationships between exposure and attention is important. It may be that effects of exposure are highly contingent on the degree of attention to a message, or it may be that mere exposure is sufficient within the range of attention that is likely to occur in natural situations. In this case, the lack of an interaction effect in the present study suggests that there was

Authors: Aloise-Young, Patricia. and Slater, Michael.
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Exposure and Attention
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enough to eliminate all effect of exposure. In that case, anchoring the response scaling with a
bottom score of “1", so that exposure effects are acknowledged but not adjusted upwards, makes
more sense. Such a test of raw-score multiplicative interactions may at times be theoretically
justified, as Eagly and Chaiken (1993) argue with respect to expectancy-value formulations of
attitude. However, in the case of exposure and attention, use of raw score multiplicative
interaction variables may lead to spurious inferences regarding exposure effects that may in fact
be due to the influence of third variable influences such as prior knowledge on the attention
variable (Chaffee, et al., 2001) used to weight the effects of exposure.
The use of centered scores to create a multiplicative variable does permit more
unambiguous testing of contingent relationships, as these are more commonly construed in
hypothesis testing. It is instructive, for example, to consider the difference between the functions
described by a multiplicative interaction of positively-valenced raw scores and centered scores.
The former, as discussed above, is described by a positively-sloped, non-linear function. The
centered interaction, in contrast, creates a positively-sloped function when scores are both
positive or both negative–but not when one score is positive and the other is negative. In that
case, the function is negatively sloped. In other words, the centered interaction more closely
parallels the interaction tests of off-diagonal cells in analyses of variance.
From a theoretical perspective, testing contingent relationships between exposure and
attention is important. It may be that effects of exposure are highly contingent on the degree of
attention to a message, or it may be that mere exposure is sufficient within the range of attention
that is likely to occur in natural situations.
In this case, the lack of an interaction effect in the present study suggests that there was


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