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Analyzing Exposure and Attention Variables in Media Effects Research
Unformatted Document Text:  Exposure and Attention 5 which one is exposed. Certainly, research in the elaboration likelihood model (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986; Petty & Wegener, 1999) and the systematic-heuristic model (Chaiken, 1980) suggests that message effects are contingent on motivation to process a message. This weighted or multiplicative approach to predicting social-psychological effects is particularly familiar from the theory of reasoned action (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975). In the theory of reasoned action, effects of attitudes on intentions are computed in terms of the summed expectations of important people in one’s life multiplied by one’s motivation to comply with those individuals with respect to the behavior of interest, plus the summed valence of relevant beliefs multiplied by the subjective probability assigned to those beliefs. However, the use of such multiplicative composites has been strongly criticized on methodological grounds. For example, Evans (1991) has suggested that entering multiplicative composites as predictors in regression models is akin to entering an interaction without controlling for the respective main effects. The use of multiplicative composites in other research areas (e.g., expectancy theory) has lead to inconsistent and unreliable findings. For example, “a change in the zero point or a change in the interval size could have marked effects on the size of the correlation coefficient” (p. 7, Evans, 1991). These potential problems indicate that the use of a multiplicative model might yield incorrect findings regarding media effects. However, Evans also notes that multiplicative models can be justified when used in conjunction with main effects in hierarchical regression models–parallel to main effects plus interaction models in analyses of variance. The present study examines additive (i.e., main effect) and multiplicative (i.e., interaction) effects of exposure and attention, in the case of adolescents and cigarette magazine

Authors: Aloise-Young, Patricia. and Slater, Michael.
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Exposure and Attention
5

which one is exposed. Certainly, research in the elaboration likelihood model (Petty &
Cacioppo, 1986; Petty & Wegener, 1999) and the systematic-heuristic model (Chaiken, 1980)
suggests that message effects are contingent on motivation to process a message. This weighted
or multiplicative approach to predicting social-psychological effects is particularly familiar from
the theory of reasoned action (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975). In the theory of reasoned action, effects
of attitudes on intentions are computed in terms of the summed expectations of important people
in one’s life multiplied by one’s motivation to comply with those individuals with respect to the
behavior of interest, plus the summed valence of relevant beliefs multiplied by the subjective
probability assigned to those beliefs.
However, the use of such multiplicative composites has been strongly criticized on
methodological grounds. For example, Evans (1991) has suggested that entering multiplicative
composites as predictors in regression models is akin to entering an interaction without
controlling for the respective main effects. The use of multiplicative composites in other
research areas (e.g., expectancy theory) has lead to inconsistent and unreliable findings. For
example, “a change in the zero point or a change in the interval size could have marked effects
on the size of the correlation coefficient” (p. 7, Evans, 1991). These potential problems indicate
that the use of a multiplicative model might yield incorrect findings regarding media effects.
However, Evans also notes that multiplicative models can be justified when used in conjunction
with main effects in hierarchical regression models–parallel to main effects plus interaction
models in analyses of variance.
The present study examines additive (i.e., main effect) and multiplicative (i.e.,
interaction) effects of exposure and attention, in the case of adolescents and cigarette magazine


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