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Analyzing Exposure and Attention Variables in Media Effects Research
Unformatted Document Text:  Exposure and Attention 4 Additive versus Multiplicative Approaches In the literature on political knowledge and media exposure, exposure is often viewed as a prerequisite for the effect of attention. For example, Chaffee and Schleuder (1986) statistically controlled for the effect of exposure before testing for attention effects. In this and other studies (e.g., Zhao & Bleske, 1995), both exposure and attention have been independently predictive of knowledge. In contrast to this additive approach, some studies of the effect of advertising on attitudes and behavior have operationalized the joint effect of exposure and attention as a multiplicative effect. For example, in Botvin, Goldberg, Botvin, and Dusenbury, (1993) early adolescents were asked how often they read 22 magazines that contained cigarette advertising. They were also asked how many cigarette advertisements they read in each magazine. The measure of exposure used by Botvin et al. (1993) was derived by multiplying these measures (both of which were assessed with 5 point Likert response scales) and then summing these scores across the 22 magazines. Like Chaffee and others who used an additive model, Botvin justified this multiplicative model with the proposition that both exposure and attention are necessary for attitude and behavior change to occur. The multiplicative approach has some attractive qualities from a theoretical perspective. Conceptually, it is plausible to argue that exposure and attention have a contingent rather than an additive relationship. For example, in the absence of exposure, attention should have no effect (or if it does, it is likelye due to third variable artifacts, such as degree of interest or prior knowledge (Chaffee, Saphir, Graf, Sandvig & Hahn, 2001). Conversely, the extent of exposure’s impact might well be a function of the degree of attention paid to those messages to

Authors: Aloise-Young, Patricia. and Slater, Michael.
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Exposure and Attention
4

Additive versus Multiplicative Approaches
In the literature on political knowledge and media exposure, exposure is often viewed as
a prerequisite for the effect of attention. For example, Chaffee and Schleuder (1986) statistically
controlled for the effect of exposure before testing for attention effects. In this and other studies
(e.g., Zhao & Bleske, 1995), both exposure and attention have been independently predictive of
knowledge.
In contrast to this additive approach, some studies of the effect of advertising on attitudes
and behavior have operationalized the joint effect of exposure and attention as a multiplicative
effect. For example, in Botvin, Goldberg, Botvin, and Dusenbury, (1993) early adolescents were
asked how often they read 22 magazines that contained cigarette advertising. They were also
asked how many cigarette advertisements they read in each magazine. The measure of exposure
used by Botvin et al. (1993) was derived by multiplying these measures (both of which were
assessed with 5 point Likert response scales) and then summing these scores across the 22
magazines. Like Chaffee and others who used an additive model, Botvin justified this
multiplicative model with the proposition that both exposure and attention are necessary for
attitude and behavior change to occur.
The multiplicative approach has some attractive qualities from a theoretical perspective.
Conceptually, it is plausible to argue that exposure and attention have a contingent rather than an
additive relationship. For example, in the absence of exposure, attention should have no effect
(or if it does, it is likelye due to third variable artifacts, such as degree of interest or prior
knowledge (Chaffee, Saphir, Graf, Sandvig & Hahn, 2001). Conversely, the extent of
exposure’s impact might well be a function of the degree of attention paid to those messages to


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