One of the barriers to understanding how people process political commercials has been the scarcity of studies that manipulate the presence of significant dimensions of advertising content so that the impact of those dimensions can be examined individually and as they interact with each other. in this study, four characteristics often touted as important determinants of the impact of political ads were chosen for analysis. Two values for each of the four characteristics were completely crossed with each other by editing from components of real ads for Senate candidates unfamiliar to the participants. The ad characteristics sampled included: (a) whether issue or image strategies were articulated in the scripts, (b) whether attack or support appeals were used, (c) the presence or absence of music in the background, and (d) whether the visual content showed the candidate in the context of his family or performing his professional campaign activities.
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