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Development and Persuasion Understanding: Predicting Knowledge of Persuasion/Selling Intent From Children's Theory of Mind

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Determining the approximate age that children are able to understand the purpose of advertising messages has been a concern of children and media researchers for over 40 years. However, other theorists have suggested that age is not the necessary determinant of persuasion understanding but that cognitive development is (via theory of mind). In addition, Kunkel (2010) has suggested that advertising knowledge represents a number of competencies. Working with elementary school children, this study tested whether children's theory of mind (ToM) capabilities predicted advertising knowledge. Results indicate that children's understanding of selling intent is significantly linked to ToM development beyond the influence of age and linguistic competence and that children showed stronger knowledge of selling intent than knowledge of persuasive intent.
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Keywords: Advertising; Children and Media; Cognitive Development; Persuasion Knowledge; Social Cognition

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2015

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