Exploring the Role of Individual Differences in Affect Intensity on the Consumer's Response to Advertising Appeals

David J. Moore, University of Michigan
William D. Harris, Quinnipiac College
Hong C. Chen, Grand Valley State University
ABSTRACT - This paper examined the role of the Affect Intensity Measurement scale (Larsen 1984) as an important tool in measuring consumers' response to advertising appeals. The AIM assesses the strength of the emotions with which individuals respond to an affect laden stimulus. The theoretical foundations for the development of the scale are discussed and several studies in both social psychology and marketing focusing on various aspects of the affect intensity construct are reviewed. The theoretical and practical implications of the findings of these studies on the future direction of research in emotional advertising are also presented.
[ to cite ]:
David J. Moore, William D. Harris, and Hong C. Chen (1994) ,"Exploring the Role of Individual Differences in Affect Intensity on the Consumer's Response to Advertising Appeals", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 21, eds. Chris T. Allen and Deborah Roedder John, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 181-187.

Advances in Consumer Reseach Volume 21, 1994      Pages 181-187

EXPLORING THE ROLE OF INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN AFFECT INTENSITY ON THE CONSUMER'S RESPONSE TO ADVERTISING APPEALS

David J. Moore, University of Michigan

William D. Harris, Quinnipiac College

Hong C. Chen, Grand Valley State University

ABSTRACT -

This paper examined the role of the Affect Intensity Measurement scale (Larsen 1984) as an important tool in measuring consumers' response to advertising appeals. The AIM assesses the strength of the emotions with which individuals respond to an affect laden stimulus. The theoretical foundations for the development of the scale are discussed and several studies in both social psychology and marketing focusing on various aspects of the affect intensity construct are reviewed. The theoretical and practical implications of the findings of these studies on the future direction of research in emotional advertising are also presented.

Most researchers in the fields of social psychology, advertising and consumer behavior would readily agree that there are inherent differences in the level of emotional intensity with which individuals respond to an affect-laden stimulus (Aaker and Stayman 1989; Larsen and Diener 1985). The need to recognize the crucial role of emotions in the persuasion process in consumer behavior has been explicitly emphasized by advertising researchers (Allen, Machleit and Sahni 1992; Havlena and Holbrook 1986; Peterson, Hoyer and Wilson 1986). Within the field of marketing it has now been widely demonstrated that the emotions elicited by exposure to an advertising appeal may have a significant influence on attitude toward the ad, attitude toward the brand and consumer decision making (Bagozzi and Moore 1994; Batra and Ray, 1986; Burke and Edell 1989; Edell and Burke 1987; Gardner 1985; Holbrook and Batra 1987; Goldberg and Gorn 1987; Homer and Yoon 1992; Stayman and Aaker 1988). However, most of these studies have seemingly ignored the possibility that differences in the intensity level with which individuals experience their own emotions may have a significant influence on affective and attitudinal responses of the message recipient. Acknowledging this possibility, some marketing researchers have speculated that certain types of individual differences may account for variations in the manner in which consumers respond to emotional advertising messages (Aaker and Stayman 1989; Mackenzie and Lutz 1989). Aaker and Stayman (1989), for example, postulated that the tendency of some individuals to experience their emotions with greater magnitudes of intensity should play a significant role in moderating the affective responses generated by the advertising audience.

Prior research has shown that personality variables such as self-monitoring (DeBono & Packer, 1991; Snyder and DeBono 1985) and need for cognition (Cacioppo and Petty 1982) may significantly influence attitudes and persuasion. For example, Haugtvedt, Petty, Cacioppo and Steidley (1988) have shown that individuals high in need for cognition (Ncog) were more influenced by the quality of arguments contained in an advertising appeal for a consumer product than were individuals low in Ncog (see also Batra and Stayman 1990). While Ncog measures the individual's chronic tendency to enjoy thinking and problem solving activities, there is a surprising lack of research in marketing representing an equivalent measure of an individual's desire for emotional stimulation (Harris and Moore, 1991). In effect, what we still do not know is whether or not individual differences in emotional reactivity may account for a siginificant portion of the variance in consumer response to advertising messages. From an S-O-R perspective, the role of individual differences in emotional reactivity represents the 'black box' in the current state of our knowledge of the manner in which consumers respond to emotional advertising.

The Affect Intensity Measurement scale (AIM) developed by Larsen (1984) has been designed to measure differences in the strength with which individuals experience their emotions in response to identical emotion-eliciting stimuli (Larsen and Diener 1987). The AIM construct is potentially useful in helping advertisers identify the type of individual who may be more disposed to respond favorably to an emotionally charged advertisement as opposed to a cognitively oriented non-emotional appeal. Our objective in this paper is to examine previous research on this important construct and to identify various means by which the AIM can be usefully applied by both theoreticians and advertising researchers who desire to gain increased insight in targeting specific profiles of consumers whose responses to daily events and stimuli may be driven by the intensity of their emotions.

REVIEW OF THE AFFECT INTENSITY LITERATURE

What is the Affect Intensity Construct? Affect intensity has been conceptually defined as "a stable and consistent tendency for some individuals to react more strongly than others to emotion-provoking stimulation, regardless of what specific emotions are evoked" (Larsen 1984, p. 2). In confimation of this theoretical proposition, recent research in social psychology has demonstrated that certain individuals, when exposed to equal levels of affect-producing stimuli, consistently manifest stronger or more intense emotional responses (Larsen and Diener 1985; 1987; Larsen, Diener & Emmons 1986; Larsen et al.1987). Moreover, this emotional reactivity seems to generalize across both positive and negative emotional domains. For example, both laboratory and field studies indicate that when faced with a positive emotion-eliciting event, high affect intensity subjects reported stronger positive affect than those classified as low on the AIM scale (Larsen, Diener & Emmons 1986; Larsen et al.1987). Correspondingly, when faced with a negative emotion eliciting event, these same high AIM individuals reported stronger negative emotional responses than their low AIM counterparts (Larsen, Diener & Emmons, 1986). However, when subjects are exposed to a neutral or non-emotional stimulus or event, these individual differences in emotional reactivity are expected to disappear (Larsen, Diener and Cropanzano 1987). In the Larsen, Diener and Emmons (1986) study, the stimuli were daily life events. In experiment 1 subjects recorded two events per day for 56 consecutive days and rated their affective reactions to those events. In experiment 2 subjects were presented with standardized life event descriptions and asked how they would react emotionally to each of these events. The results of both experiments indicated that high intense subjects responded to the actual and the hypothetical life events with stronger or more intense emotional reactions. Furthermore, this pattern of responses was observed regardless of whether the events elicited positive or negative affective reactions.

The Affect Intensity Scale. The AIM scale (Larsen 1984) is a 40-item instrument designed to capture a broad spectrum of both negative and positive emotional responses (e.g., "Sad movies touch me deeply" and "My happy moods are so strong that I feel like I'm in heaven"). The scale also attempts to capture specific types of physical sensations normally associated with emotional manifestations, such as a pounding heart, sickness in the stomach, or having a shaky voice when talking in front of a group for the first time. Another consideration in the development of the AIM was that the items should reflect intensity rather than frequency of emotional response. Accordingly, the scale avoided items such as "I am very happy quite often" which contains both frequency and intensity dimensions. Instead, items were selected to avoid any confounding of intensity with frequency (e.g., "When I'm happy I bubble over with energy"). Over one, two, and three-month intervals, Larsen and associates have found that test-retest reliabilities of the AIM were .80, .81 and .81, respectively. Meanwhile, the intercorrelation coefficients of the AIM in four separate studies were within the range of .90 to .94 (Larsen and Diener 1987).

The Arousal Regulation Theory of Affect Intensity. Using the underlying principles associated with stimulus intensity modulation (Barnes 1976; Petrie 1967), Larsen and Diener (1987) proposed the following explanation for the existence of individual differences in levels of affect intensity. Within the central nervous system there exists a stimulus intensity modulation mechanism which modulates the individual's responsiveness to sensory stimulation. This mechanism amplifies or augments the effects of stimulation for some individuals and reduces the effects of stimulation for others. As a result, in response to incoming stimulation, the individual who typically reduces stimulation will be relatively understimulated (underaroused) and the augmenter will be relatively overstimulated (overaroused). The reducer should be highly motivated to seek out stronger forms of sensory stimulation, while the augmenter should be inclined to minimize the input of sensory stimulation (Barnes 1976). With respect to the AIM, Diener et al. (1986) suggest that some individuals modulate the intensity of emotional stimuli and therefore tend to manifest stronger or more intense emotional reactions. In contrast, others who may be low on the AIM scale are much less emotionally reactive to equivalent levels of emotion-provoking stimulation. This suggests that when high emotionally intense individuals experience a positive emotional stimulation it tends to be a very strong form of enjoyment. On the other hand, if the emotion is negative it tends to be unbearably unpleasant.

Affect Intensity and Emotional Response to Advertising Appeals. In a program of studies designed to examine the relevance of the affect intensity construct to the field of advertising, Harris (1988) and Moore, Harris and Chen (1993a) tested several hypotheses emerging from the work of Larsen and Diener (1987). One of the issues addressed by Moore, Harris and Chen (1993a) was the extent to which individual differences in affect intensity should moderate the emotional responses generated by message recipients who are exposed to an emotional (versus a non-emotional) advertising appeal. In the first phase of the study 772 psychology undergraduates were administered a battery of individual difference measures, one of which was the AIM scale. Using upper and lower quartile splits, high and low AIM subjects were identified and invited to participate in new experiment two weeks later. This new experiment featured a 2(High vs. Low AIM) x 2(Emotional vs. Non-emotional appeal) between subjects factorial design. The 153 participating subjects were exposed to a 30 minute movie embedded with several TV ads, one of which was the target ad. The emotional version of the ad featured a very moving demonstration of a young child being abused by his parent. The non-emotional ad was a statistical report of the number of child abuse cases reported in a given year in a south western state. In response to the target ad subjects reported the strength of their negative emotions (e.g., anger, sadness, fright) and empathic emotions (e.g, sympathy, concern, compassion). Consistent with the hypotheses of the study, the results showed that high AIM subjects, compared to their low AIM counterparts, manifested stronger affective responses when exposed to the emotional advertising appeal, but showed no differences in emotional response magnitude when exposed to the non-emotional ad.

Parenthetically, this study found that both negative and empathic emotions were manifested in a similar manner by high and low AIM subjects, and these emotions tended to load on the same factorial dimension when factor analysis was conducted. A subsequent experiment (Moore, Harris and Chen 1993, experiment #1) replicated this identical pattern of responses, thus confirming the fact that individuals who express strong negative emotions may also express strong empathy toward the display of suffering experienced by another.

One limitation of the preceding study was the fact that subjects were exposed to only a single version of either an emotional or non-emotional ad. Hence, the generalizability of the findings could be justifiably challenged. To address this limitation, Moore, Harris and Chen (1993a, experiment #2) exposed subjects to three negative emotional ads and three non-emotional ads. Order of presentation was thoroughly randomized. The three negative emotional ads were: (a) a public service ad supplied to our labs by the Advertising Council and developed for the Association for Child Abuse Prevention. This ad featured the tear stained face and eyes of a child responding to harsh and condemning words from the angry mouths of adults; (b) a sad and moving public service ad also supplied by the Advertising Council on behalf of The United Negro College Fund. This ad featured the disappointment and sadness of two parents and their teenage son when the parents were forced to announce to their son their inability to send him to college; and (c) 'Missing Children'- another PSA featuring the deep emotional anguish of parents whose child is missing and possibly dead. The results of this second experiment (N=90), for the most part, supported the findings of experiment 1, in that, the AIM effect was observed only when subjects were exposed to the emotional ads. Individual differences in affect intensity showed no significant differences in most of the emotional measures associated with the non-emotional ads.

In experiment #3, Moore, Harris and Chen (1993a) exposed subjects to three positive emotional ads and three non-emotional ads in order to confirm the hypothesis that the AIM effect could be manifested across both positive as well as negative emotional responses (Larsen and Diener 1987). Consistent with the findings of other experiments (Larsen Diener and Cropanzano 1987), it was found that in response to the emotional ads, high affect intensive subjects elicited significantly stronger positive and empathic emotions (e.g., amused, joyous, warm, sentimental, compassionate) than did the low AIM subjects. As expected, there were no significant differences in the intensity of the responses of high versus low AIM individuals when exposed to the non-emotional ads.

Affect Intensity and Painful Ad Induced Emotions. One of the interesting issues addressed in the Moore, Harris and Chen (1993a) study was the manner in which high AIM individuals seem to respond when the emotion evoked by the advertising stimulus is unpleasant and or negative. For example, the emotions stimulated in response to the PSAs described earlier tended to be quite unpleasant particularly because these messages focused on some of the more serious issues of life such as child abuse, missing children, lack of money to send children to college and so on. So the research question is this: If high AIM individuals tend to experience the entire spectrum of emotions, positive or negative, with greater magnitudes of intensity, then an unpleasant emotion should be felt with deeper pain and a pleasant emotion should be experienced with greater enjoyment. In keeping with this line of reasoning, Gallagher, Diener and Larsen (1989) proposed that high AIM individuals should manifest a greater tendency to avoid negative stimuli because once these emotions have been aroused, the experience becomes even more intensely unpleasant for high AIM individuals than those who are low on the AIM scale. This suggests that for high AIM individuals, exposure to negative stimulation may be more painful to endure and more difficult to tolerate (Gallagher, Diener and Larsen 1989).

Support for this proposition was derived from the results of Moore, Harris and Chen (1993a, experiment 2. It was found that, in comparison to their low AIM counterparts, high AIM subjects reported that the experience of viewing the three negative emotional ads was more painful and less enjoyable. This may also be explained by the fact that the high AIM subjects tended to demonstrate more 'empathic involvement' in the process of viewing the ads. For example, in response to the item "While viewing the ad I felt I was right there experiencing what the actors were experiencing", high AIM subjects reported significantly higher scores than did the low AIM respondents. These results may help to bolster Gallagher, Diener and Larsen's (1989) view concerning the intensity of the emotions experienced by high AIM individuals.

Affect Intensity and Ad Enjoyment. In an attempt to replicate these findings and to determine whether the level of enjoyment experienced by high versus low AIM individuals will be more intense when exposed to positively toned emotional ads, Moore and Harris (1993b) conducted a new experiment featuring both positive and negative emotional advertising appeals. What was different about this new study was the fact that subjects were exposed to a positive as well as a negative emotional ad within the same experiment. Using this procedure, it was possible to test Larsen, Diener and Cropanzano's (1987) assertion that the same high AIM individuals who report extreme levels of negative affect in response to a given negative emotional stimulus are also capable of experiencing high levels of positive affect in response to positive emotional stimuli. One of the objectives of the study was to examine the relationship between affect intensity and emotional responses. It was predicted that high AIM subjects would manifest stronger emotional reactions than low AIM subjects when exposed to the positive emotional ad as well as the negative emotional ad; in contrast, no significant differences in the intensity of emotional responses were expected to occur in response to the non-emotional ad.

Subjects (N=131) were administered the AIM scale (Larsen 1984) and on the basis of the results upper (N=33) and lower quartiles (N=37) were selected to participate in an experiment three weeks later. The positive emotional ad evoked primarily positive emotions such as joy, happiness and warmth (Aaker, Stayman and Hagerty 1986). This was an ad for special occasion greeting cards by the Hallmark Inc. featuring a joyous but moving wedding scene. The negative emotional appeal was designed to evoke negative emotions such as 'moving', 'sad' and 'sympathetic'. This ad was sponsored by a nationally known disaster relief organization (The Red Cross) and appealed for financial contributions for needy victims of recent disasters around the world. The third type of ad was non-emotional in content, featuring the presentation of factual information about Colgate toothpaste. This ad was selected to serve as a baseline manipulation. Both high and low AIM subjects were not expected to show any significant differences in emotional intensity as well as attitude formation in response to this ad.

The three target ads were embedded among other ads shown during the presentation of a classic TV movie. After viewing the movie subjects were given a second opportunity to view each of the three target ads. Order of presentation was randomized and rigorously followed in order to minimize order effects and carryover biases which could potentially distort the data. At the end of each ad subjects recorded the extent to which they felt each of several emotions, their enjoyment of the ad and their attitude toward the ad.

The results for the three ads were generally consistent with expectations and with prior research (Larsen, Diener and Cropanzanno 1987). High AIM subjects exposed to the positive emotional ad scored significantly higher than low AIM subjects on all positive emotions (happy, joyous, warm, moved, and touched). Similarly, for the negative emotional ad, high AIM respondents demonstrated significanly stronger affect intensity on all appropriate measures such as moved, touched, sympathetic and sad. Interestingly, it was found that on such positive measures like happy and warm, there were no significant differences among the high and low AIM subjects who were exposed to the negative emotional ad. Also as expected, high and low AIM subjects exposed to the non-emotional ad showed no significant differences on any of the measures of emotional response.

In sum, these results have shown the robustness of the AIM construct, and its test-retest reliability over multiple studies. This study, in particular, has demonstrated that the same high AIM respondents who experienced significantly higher levels of positive emotion in response to a positive advertising stimulus are just as capable of experiencing higher levels of negative emotions when exposed to a negative emotional advertising stimulus. In this respect these findings reinforce Larsen's (1984) theoretical proposition that intensity is a dimension relevant to all emotions, regardless of whether the emotions are positive or negative. Intensity, therefore, refers to the style of emotional experience and expression, rather than its content (e.g., anger, happiness, depression, joy)"(Larsen 1984, p. 1).

Do Cognitive Processes Influence Affect Intensity? As a means of bolstering the psychological underpinings for the AIM effect, Larsen, Diener and Cropanzano (1987) postulated that individual differences do occur because of the unique manner in which people interpret and process events or experiences in daily life. This general line of reasoning is consistent with the cognitive appraisal-emotion model of information processing which contends that the intensity of the emotional response is largely determined by the type of thoughts or cognitive appraisals engaged in by the individual (Epstein 1984; Folkes, Koletsky and Graham 1987; Lazarus 1982; 1984; Roseman, Spindel and Jose 1990). Larsen, Diener and Cropanzano (1987) utilized a theoretical framework proposed by Beck (1967) to predict that a unique pattern of thoughts will be capable of differentiating high and low affect intensity individuals. Accordingly, Larsen et al. (1987) asked subjects to generate verbal protocols in response to a wide range of photograhic slides depicting both negative and positive emotionally provocative scenes. These spontaneous thoughts (called cognitive operations) were organized into the following categories: (a) Personalization - thoughts expressing a tendency to exaggerate or overestimate the relevance of a given event or issue to one's personal life (Beck, 1976); (b) Overgeneralization - thoughts which suggest that the individual may be using a single event as a basis for making global statements or sweeping generalizations about other relevant issues; (c) Focus on Emotional Details - thoughts demonstrating the tendency to be fixated on some specific emotionally provocative detail in a given situation.

The results of the Larsen et al. (1987) study showed that high AIM respondents generated a significantly higher number of cognitive operations than low AIM respondents when exposed to both the positive as well as the negative emotional slides. Also, as predicted, no significant differences in cognitive operations were observed among high and low AIM subjects in response to the neutral (non-emotional) slides (Larsen and Diener 1987; Larsen, Diener and Emmons 1986). These results made an important contribution by proving that high AIM respondents can be identified by the uniqueness in the pattern of their cognitive processing. However, the Larsen et al. (1987) study did not go far enough to demonstrate a relationship between the cognitive operations and the emotional responses of the respondents. Hence, there was only partial and speculative support for the cognitive appraisal-emotion model of information processing.

Within an advertising context, Moore and Harris (1993) extended the Larsen et al. (1987) study by measuring not only the cognitive operations, but also the emotional and attitudinal responses of the message recipients. The results of that study provided support for propositions that Larsen et al. had earlier put forward. First, Moore and Harris (1993) found that the same high and low affect intensity individuals who differed in the magnitude of their emotional responses, also differed in their cognitive operations generated in response to an emotionally charged advertising appeal. This was an important finding since Larsen et al. (1987) did not measure both emotions and cognitive operations within the same study. Second, the results showed that the effect of affect intensity on emotional responses was mediated by the cognitive operations generated by message recipients. In contrast, this mediation effect, as predicted, failed to occur even among high AIM subjects who were exposed to the non-emotional ad condition. This finding, in particular, has provided empirical support for the theoretical speculations advanced earlier by Larsen et al. (1987). The third major finding reported by Moore and Harris (1993) represented a step beyond the model tested by Larsen et al (1987), in that, measures of attitude and intention formation were tested in conjunction with emotions, cognitive operations and emotional responses. The results also showed that both cognitive operations as well as emotions served as the mechanisms through which AIM influenced attitude and intention formation.

The Relationship Between Affect Intensity and Attitude Formation. The theoretical foundation for predicting a direct relationship between affect intensity and attitiude formation has not been specified in the extant literature. In fact, Moore and Harris (1993) is actually one of the first studies to test this relationship (See also Moore, Harris and Chen 1993a; 1993b). Nevertheless, the knowledge which has been gained from the use of other individual difference variables in marketing may serve as guidelines for predicting the relationship between affect intensity and attitude formation. For example, personality variables such as self-monitoring (De Bono and Packer 1991; Snyder and De Bono 1985), and need for cognition (Cacioppo and Petty 1982) have been shown to influence attitudes and persuasion. One recent study by Haugtvedt, Petty, Cacioppo and Steidley (1988) reported that subjects high in Ncog, compared to their low Ncog counterparts, were more influenced by the quality of arguments presented in the message appeal. This suggests that it was the cognitive effort required to differentiate strong from weak arguments which discriminated the high from the low Ncog respondents. In contrast to the Ncog construct, AIM is presumed to represent the magnitude of an individual's affective response to emotionally charged stimuli. Hence, it is reasonable to predict that affect intensity should influence attitude formation through the mediating role of emotions or emotionally oriented thoughts. Recent studies conducted by Moore, Harris and Chen (1993a; 1993b) have provided empirical support for this proposition.

Affect intensity as a Representation of Temperament, not Personality. It is very crucial that a distinction be made between affect intensity as a dimension of temperament versus personality. According to Larsen and Diener (1987), personality refers to consistencies in the content of behavior while temperament more accurately represents consistencies in the style of the behavior manifested by the individual (Strelau 1982). In other words, personality can be defined in terms of what (content) a person does, whereas temperament defines the manner (style) in which a person manifests certain behaviors. To illustrate: When we say that a person scores high on the materialism scale (Richins 1992), we tend to mean that the content of that person's behavior reflects specific actions and attitudes consistent with materialistic values. However, the manner in which various materialists may go about acquiring materialist possessions may differ significantly. Some individuals may pursue their materialistic goals in a rather persistent, deliberate and methodical manner, while others may pursue these goals at a frantic, energetic and vigorous pace. Larsen and Diener (1987) suggests that the characteristic difference between these two behavioral styles (persistent and deliberate versus frantic and vigorous) can be most appropriately defined as the difference in the temperamental characteristic of activity level. Affect intensity therefore represents a dimension of temperament since the style or manner in which an individual responds to a given event or stimulus generalizes across the entire spectrum of emotions, from negative to positive and across a wide variety of situations (Larsen, Diener and Emmons 1986).

The Correlation of AIM and Measures of Lifestyle. According to Eysenck (1967) and Strelau (1982), the characteristics associated with temperament operate in such a way as to regulate emotional arousal. Since this arousal regulation function has been identified as the mechanism responsible for producing variations in the magnitude of affect intensity levels (Larsen 1985), emotional intensity should predictably show a high correlation with specific dimensions of temperament (Larsen and Diener 1987). Given this theoretical perspective, Larsen, Diener and Emmons (1986) found that affect intensity was significantly related to four basic dimensions of temperament: sociability, activity level, arousability and emotionality.

In a more recent study within the field of marketing and advertising, Moore, Harris and Chen (1993a) examined the relationship between AIM and the basic dimensions of temperament as outlined by Larsen and Diener (1987). Each of the four dimensions of temperament was represented by several measures. Examples of these measures are as follows: (a) sociability - "Partying with friends"; (b) activity level - "Jogging alone"; (c) arousability - "Going to an exciting movie at the cinema"; and (d) emotionality - "Enjoyment of scary rides at amusement parks". In addition to these measures, Moore, Harris and Chen (1993a) included other marketing relevant issues such as preferences for TV and radio programs and sensory arousability to olifactory stimuli such as the fragrances of exotic perfumes and the smell of freshly baked bread.

Subjects in this study were 328 undergraduates ranging in age from 19 to 24 years. A questionnaire containing the AIM scale and several lifestyle measures was administered as part of an in-class research activity. For the lifestyle measures, subjects were asked to indicate the extent to which they enjoyed these activities using a 1 - 7 point scale. As predicted, the results were consistent with the findings reported by Larsen, Diener and Emmons (1986). AIM was highly correlated with measures of sociability, in that, high AIM individuals consistently scored higher than their low AIM counterparts on such measures as partying with friends, eating out with friends, singing and dancing and attending entertainment shows. AIM was not significantly related to those activities like jogging and bike riding alone presumably because of the low levels of social and emotional stimulation that these activities can typically offer. In a similar fashion, it was found that AIM showed a negative but significant relationship to activities such as writing letters to a friend. In contrast, as expected, AIM was very strongly related to emotionally arousing activities like going on a romantic date, listening to romantic emotional music and going to an exciting movie at the cinema. The findings with respect to enjoyment of TV and radio programs should be particularly interesting to both theoreticians and advertising practitioners. For example, AIM showed strong relationships to emotionally arousing programs like TV dramas, soap operas and comedies, but an inverse relationship to programs requiring higher levels of cognitive processing such as local news broadcasts, talk shows and game shows.

DISCUSSION

The review of the influence of affect intensity as an important individual difference construct in the field of social psychology and in the applied context of broadcast advertising has provided us with some degree of insight into the contribution that this construct can make to the theory and practice of advertising and consumer behavior. This review of the extant literature has clearly indicated the test-retest reliability of the AIM scale. This means that advertising researchers may accept, with reasonable certainty, the fact that certain profiles of consumers will respond to emotionally charged advertising appeals with stronger intensity of emotion. Researchers should therefore avoid the possible pitfall of assuming that consumers are all homogeneous in their responses to emotional advertising appeals.

The implications are particularly relevant to advertising researchers. For example, the AIM measurement scale can prove to be a valuable assessment tool when advertisers are pretesting the effect of emotional advertising appeals. In controlled test market conditions using product assessment labs (Clarke 1987), subjects are usually administered a variety of screening questions prior to exposure to the target ads. The AIM can be used in this setting to determine whether a given sample of respondents is unevenly skewed in the tendency to be either high or low in emotional reactivity. Since individual differences in affect intensity seem to influence the respondent's emotional and attitudinal responses to advertising appeals, then advertisers may be well advised to use the AIM to test for sample skewness along this important dimension. Using the results from a biased sample may have far reaching and costly implications for product managers and for the marketing strategies of the firm (Venkatraman, Marlino, Kardes and Sklar 1990).

Another related issue which demands further research is the manner in which high AIM respondents react when the emotions evoked by the advertising stimulus are intensely negative and painful. In two separate studies (Moore, Harris and Chen 1993a; 1993b) it was found that high affect intensity subjects reported that the experience of viewing these ads was more painful and less enjoyable than the intensity of emotions reported by their low AIM counterparts. Furthermore, these high AIM individuals showed a greater tendency to become more empathically involved with the emotions experienced by the actors, thus accounting for a deeper sense of pain felt by these high intensity subjects. Since recent research has shown that high AIM individuals have a greater tendency to avoid negative emotionally charged stimuli (Gallagher, Diener and Larsen 1989), several questions become relevant to advertising researchers. For example, would high AIM individuals show a stronger tendency to develop negative attitudes toward ads which elicit very intense and painful emotions? Furthermore, what are the potential implications for consumers' responses to repeated exposures to such high intensity ads? If high AIM subjects experience their emotions with deeper intensity, it is quite possble that these individuals may also experience satiation and burnout earlier than their low AIM counterparts. Conversely, if the emotions evoked by the ad are pleasant and enjoyable, high AIM subjects may be more tolerant to sustained repetitions of the ad and may therefore be slower than low AIM subjects to experience boredom and burnout. These issues should provide fruitful areas of inquiry for future research.

These questions have relevance to the manner in which advertising practitioners schedule the broadcast of emotional message appeals. A continuous pattern of repetitive exposures to a negative emotional appeal may lead to rapid wearout, avoidance or other adverse reactions. A modified pattern of pulsing where ads are run for short periods of time, followed by a period of no advertising, may be advisable in order to avoid the possibility of wearout among high AIM message recipients.

More rigorously designed studies need to be conducted to determine the response of high and low AIM individuals across both positive and negative emotionally charged advertising appeals. For the AIM construct to be useful to advertising practitioners further research is needed to demonstrate the relationship between this construct and a wider range of demographic variables. If, in fact, advertisers and management decision makers can establish a reliable correlation between individual differences in affect intensity and identifiable demographic variables, gender, consumer lifestyles, daily activities, media preferences, and buyer behavior patterns, then the AIM construct may prove to be a valuable consideration when conducting research in the area of target marketing and positioning.

REFERENCES

Aaker, David A., and Douglas M. Stayman (1989), "What Mediates the Emotional Response to Advertising? The Case of Warmth," in Cognitive and Affective Responses to Advertising, eds. Patricia Cafferata and Alice M. Tybout, Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.

Aaker, David A., Douglas M. Stayman, Michael R. Hagerty (1986), "Warmth in Advertising Measurement, Impact and Sequence Effects," Journal of Consumer Research, 12, (March), 365-381.

Allen, Chris T., Karen A. Machleit and Arti Sahni (1992), "On the Value of Explicitly Incorporating Emotional Experience into the Fishbein attitude Model: An Empirical Assessment", in Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 20.(Eds.) Leigh McAllister and Michael L. Rothschild, Provo, Utah: Association for Consumer Research.

Bagozzi, Richard P. and David J. Moore (1994), "Public Service Advertisements: Emotions and Empathy Guide Prosocial Behavior', Journal of Marketing, (forthcoming).

Barnes, G. E. (1976), "Individual Difference in Perceptual Reactance: A Review of the Stimulus Intensity Modulation Individual Difference Dimension", Canadian Psychological Review, 17, 29-52.

Batra, Rajeev, and Michael L. Ray (1986), "Affective Responses Mediating Acceptance of Advertising, " Journal of Consumer Research, 13, 234-249.

Batra, Rajeev and Morris B. Holbrook (1990), "Developing a Typology of Affective Responses to Advertising," Psychology & Marketing, Vol. 7, No. 1, (Spring), 65-81.

Batra, Rajeev and Douglas M. Stayman (1990), "The Role of Mood in Advertising Effectiveness", Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 17, 2, (March), 203-222.

Beck, A. T. (1976). Cognitive Therapy and the Emotional Disorders. New York: International Universities Press.

Berlyne, D. E. (1978), "Curiosity and Learning," in Motivation and Emotion, 2, 97-175.

Boyle, Gregory J. (1986), "Higher-Order Factors in the Differential Emotions Scale (DES-III)," Personality and Individual Differences, 7, 305-310.

Burke, Marian Chapman and Julie A. Edell (1989), "The Impact of Feelings on Ad-Based Affect and Cognition," Journal of Marketing Research, 26, 69-83.

Cacioppo, John T., and Richard E. Petty. (1982), "The Need for Cognition," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 42, 116-131.

Clarke, Darral G. (1987), Market Analysis and Decision Making: Text and Cases, The Scientific Press, Redwood City, CA., 112 - 119.

DeBono, K. G., & Packer, M. (1991). The effects of advertising appeal on perceptions of product quality. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17, 2, (April), 194-200.

Epstein, S. (1984). Controversial Issues in Emotion Theory. In P. Shaver (Ed.), Review of Personality and Social Psychology: Emotions, Relationships, and Health (pp. 64-88). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Eysenck, H. J. (1967), The Biological Basis of Personality, Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.

Folkes, V. S., Koletsky, S., & Graham, J. L. (1987). A Field Study of Causal Inferences and Consumer Reaction: The View from the Airport. Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 13, 4, 533-39.

Gardner, Meryl P. (1985), "Mood States and Consumer Behavior: A Critical Review," Journal of Consumer Research, 12, 281 - 300.

Gardner, Meryl P. (1986), "Responses To Emotional and Informational Appeals: The Moderating Role of Context-Induced Moods States," Working Paper, New York University, New York, NY 10003.

Gallagher, Dennis, Ed Diener, and Randy J. Larsen (1989), "Individual Differences in Affect Intensity: A Moderator of the Relation Between Emotion and Behavior," Working Paper, The Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Goldberg, Marvin E. and Gerald J. Gorn (1987), "Happy and Sad TV Programs: How They Affect Reactions to Commercials," Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 14 (December), 387-403.

Harris, William D. (1988), ""Affect Intensity as an Individual Difference Variable in Consumer Response to Advertising Appeals", Unpublished Dissertation, College of Business Administration, The University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK.

Harris, William D. and David J. Moore (1991), "Affect Intensity as an Individual Difference Variable in Consumer Response to Advertising Appeals", in Marvin E. Goldberg, Gerald Gorn and Richard W. Pollay (eds.), Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 17, Association for Consumer Research, Provo, Utah, 792-797.

Haugtvedt, Curtis P., Richard E. Petty, John T. Cacioppo and Theresa Steidley (1986), Personality and Ad Effectiveness: Exploring the Utility of Need For Cognition", in Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 15. ed. Michael J. Houston, Provo, Utah: Association for Consumer Research, 209-212.

Havlena, William J. and Morris B. Holbrook (1986), "The Varieties of Consumption Experience: Comparing Two Typologies of Emotion in Consumer Behavior", Journal of Consumer Research, 13, (December), 394-404.

Homer, Pamela M. and Sun-Gil Yoon (1992), "Message Framing and the Interrelationships Among Ad-based Feelings, Affect, and Cognition", Journal of Advertising, Vol. XXI, No. 1, (March), 19-33.

Holbrook, Morris B. and Rajeev Batra (1987), "Assessing the Role of Emotions as Mediators of Consumer Responses to Advertising," Journal of Consumer Research, 14, 404-420.

Larsen, Randy J. (1984), "Theory and Measurement of Affect Intensity as an Individual Difference Characteristic," Dissertation Abstracts International, 85, 2297B (University Microfilms No. 84-22112).

Larsen, Randy J. (1985), "Augmenting/Reducing and Emotional Response Intensity," in Emotions, Personality, and Personal Well-being, M. Clark (Chair), Symposium, American Psychological Association, Los Angeles.

Larsen, Randy J. and Ed Diener (1987), "Affect Intensity as an Individual Difference Characteristic: A Review," Journal of Research in Personality, 21, 1-39.

Larsen, Randy J., Ed Diener, and Russell S. Cropanzano (1987), "Cognitive Operations Associated with Individual Differences in Affect Intensity," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 33, No. 4, 767-774.

Larsen, Randy J., Ed Diener, and Robert A. Emmons (1984), "Affect Intensity as a Dimension of Temperament," in Randy J. Larsen and Ed Diener (1987), "Affect Intensity as an Individual Difference Characteristic: A Review," Journal of Research in Personality, 21 (August), 1-39.

Larsen, Randy J., Ed Diener, and Robert A. Emmons (1986), "Affect Intensity and Reactions to Daily Life Events," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 51, No. 4, 803-814.

Lazarus, R. S. (1982). Thoughts on the Relations Between Emotion and Cognition. American Psychologist, 37 (9), 1019-1024.

Lazarus, R. S. (1984). On the Primacy of Cognition. American Psychologist, 39 (2), 124-129.

MacKenzie, Scott, B. and Richard J. Lutz (1989), "An Empirical Examination of the Structural Antecedents of Attitude Toward the Ad in an Advertising Pretesting Context," Journal of Marketing, Vol. 53 (April), 48-65.

Moore, David J. and Scott Hoenig (1989), "Negative Emotions As Mediators Of Attitudes In Advertising Appeals," in Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. XVI, ed.Thomas K. Srull, Provo, UT: Association for consumer Research, 581 - 586.

Moore, David J. William D. Harris, and Hong C. Chen (1993a), "Affect Intensity: An Individual Difference Response to Advertising Appeals", Working Paper, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.

Moore, David J., William D. Harris, and Hong C. Chen (1993b), "Understanding the Role of Affect Intensity in Advertising and Consumer Behavior", Working Paper, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.

Moore, David J. and William D. Harris (1993), "Do Cognitive Operations Mediate the Effect Of Affect Intensity on Emotional Responses and Attitude Formation?" Working Paper, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.

Peterson, Robert, Wayne D. Hoyer and William R. Wilson, eds. (1986), The Role of Affect in Consumer Behavior: Emerging Theories and Applications, Lexington, MA: D. C. Heath.

Petrie, A. (1967), Individuality in Pain and Suffering, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Richins, Marsha L. (1992) "A Consumer Values Orientation for Materialism and its Measurement: Scale Development and Validation", Journal of Consumer Research, 19, (December), 303-316.

Roseman, I. S., Spindel, M. S., and Jose, P. E. (1990). Appraisals of Emotion-Eliciting Events: Testing a Theory of Discrete Emotions.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 19, (5), 899-15.

Snyder, M. & DeBono, K.G. (1985). Appeals to image and claims about quality: Understanding the psychology of advertising. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49, (5), 586-597.

Stayman, Douglas M. and David A. Aaker (1988), "Are All the Effects of Ad-induced Feelings Mediated by AAd?" Journal of Consumer Research, 15, 368-373.

Strelau, J. (1982), "Biologically Determined Dimensions of Personality or Temperament?" Personality and Individual Differences, 3, 355-360.

Venkatraman, Meera P., Deborah Marlino, Frank R. Kardes, and Kimberly B. Sklar (1990), "The Interactive Effects of Message Appeal and Individual Differences on Information Processing and Persuasion," Psychology & Marketing, Vol. 7, No. 2, (Summer), 85-96.

----------------------------------------