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Suggestibility as an operant factor in advertising effects, cognitive defences and the issue of consumer sovereignty

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This paper is a response to two recent, unrelated studies in the ongoing issue of unconsciously processed advertising messages, one on similarity of hypnotic suggestion to suggestion in advertising, the other discussing more recent, similar constructs from psychology called the Duel Process Model in regard to the susceptibility of children to advertising. Implications for understanding low involvement advertising effects are discussed, plus the potential for a research agenda. The main theme of this paper is that it is clear that suggestions can be received without conscious awareness, but whether these are acted on may depend, as the hypnosis literature indicates, on a similarly unconscious filtering mechanism which retains control over consumer behaviour. Recent attempts to uncover these unconscious mechanisms have demonstrated the existence of such activity. The main conclusion of this paper is that consumer sovereignty remains a political, rather than a research issue.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2009

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