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Journal of Consumer Behaviour


This paper revisits a well-cited and widely applied consumer scale, Style of Processing (SOP) (Childers et al., Journal of Consumer Research, 1985, 12, 125), that has been used to investigate individual differences in processing visual versus verbal information in marketing. The scale has advanced knowledge in fields related to marketing communications, product development, psychology, advertising, education and learning theories, shedding light on our understanding of consumer psychology related to persuasion, comprehension, memory, and other consumer cognitive processes involving information. In a research dialog that took place in 2008, a need for further SOP validation was suggested using a neuromarketing approach. We took this call forward and conducted an event-related-potential (ERP) experimental research study using electroencephalogram (EEG) to validate the SOP scale, focusing on differential affective processing between verbalizers and visualizers. We not only demonstrate how neuromarketing tools can be utilized to provide evidence for scale validity, providing advantages over self-reported measures; but more importantly, address issues related to understanding differential fluency effects that exist between visualizers and verbalizers. Behavioral data revealed varying reaction times to emotional stimuli of a pictorial nature. We further identify two ERP components in our data, early left anterior negativity (ELAN) and late negative slow wave (LNSW), that differentiate individual processing fluency in affective versus evaluative-based judgements. Findings confirmed the construct validity of the SOP scale and enhance our understanding of individual differences in emotional processing of pictorial information.


Published in Journal of Consumer Behaviour by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Available via doi: 10.1002/cb.2166.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

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