The Two Sides of the Accessibility Coin: Factors That Enhance and Impede Information Accessibility

Prakash Nedungadi, Indiana University
[ to cite ]:
Prakash Nedungadi (1993) ,"The Two Sides of the Accessibility Coin: Factors That Enhance and Impede Information Accessibility", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 20, eds. Leigh McAlister and Michael L. Rothschild, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 438.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 20, 1993      Page 438

THE TWO SIDES OF THE ACCESSIBILITY COIN: FACTORS THAT ENHANCE AND IMPEDE INFORMATION ACCESSIBILITY

Prakash Nedungadi, Indiana University

Recent discussions of consumer decision making and choice processes emphasize the importance of information accessibility. For instance, during brand choice, the ability to retrieve information is important when the consumer is bringing a consideration set of brands to mind and when information is being used to select from among the considered brands. Analogously, the effectiveness of advertising will depend critically on the consumer's ability to access information relayed by the ad at choice. Factors acting at information encoding (e.g., frequency and recency of ad exposure) as well as retrieval (e.g., ad retrieval cues) have been shown to increase information recall and use. The three papers presented in this session explored conditions under which the factors that usually enhance information accessibility could, in fact, suppress information leading to contrary effects on brand recall, evaluation and choice.

The first paper by Kevin Keller examined these effects in terms of advertising retrieval cues. Based on the theoretical notions of "retrieval effort", this study hypothesized that although memory retrieval cues may facilitate recall initially, they could result in lower effort and thus more substantial declines in recall at a later point in time. To test this hypothesis, the study used a 2 X 2 design where the presence or absence of ad retrieval cues at time 1 (ten minutes after ad exposure) is crossed with presence or absence of the same cues at time 2 (one week later). Keller found that, consistent with prior research, recall of ad claims was enhanced in the presence of ad retrieval cues (at time 1). Moreover, recall of ad claims was also higher at time 2 for those subjects who had not been cued at time 1, when the ad cue was present at time 2, as compared to when it was not. As hypothesized, recall declined for subjects who had been cued during time 1 but were not cued at time 2. An interesting finding was that the decline in recall of ad claims was also observed for subjects who were cued at time 1 and cued again at time 2. Importantly, the effects of retrieval effort on ad claim recall also extended, selectively, to brand attitudes and purchase intent.

The second paper by Manoj Hastak and Anusree Mitra explored the boundary conditions under which the provision of brand/subcategory cues may lead to facilitiation or inhibition of brand recall. For instance, the provision of a single brand cue has been shown to facilitate recall of certain brands, while the provision of multiple cues inhibits recall. They examined the effect of providing brand and subcategory cues on retrieval. In their paper they directly compared conditions under which brand cues facilitate recall to those in which inhibition may occur. They also explored some of the conditions under which cues may have neither facilitatory nor inhibitory effects on recall. Finally, they examined implications of their findings for brand consideration and choice.

The third paper, by Amitava Chattopadhyay and Prakash Nedungadi extends an earlier study in which they showed that a highly likeable ad which captures attention at encoding could reduce accessibility of brand information at retrieval, particularly under conditions of low attention. In this paper, they examined whether repetition of the ad would attenuate this effect, that is, whether by increasing the relative accessibility of brand information, ad repetition could reduce the likelihood of "interference" from an affective ad. In a 2 X 2 X 2 between-subjects design they varied a) ad liking, b) delay and c) ad repetition. They replicated the finding that (due to interference) a likeable ad leads to fewer brand cognitions and lower attitudes at a delay. Further, as expected, ad repetition did prevent decay of brand and ad cognitions and attitudes. Interestingly however, ad repetition did not result in greater elaboration of the brand claims at exposure rather, subjects appeared to be rehearsing existing thoughts and attitudes. As a result, ad repetition could not counteract the interfering effects of an affective ad on accessibility of cognitions and thus on attitudes, at a delay.

Discussant, Wes Hutchinson noted that the ad/delay manipulations of the first and third papers and the brand/subcategory cue manipulation of the second paper were conceptually similar in that they inhibited recall by increasing interference. He also noted that many of the results observed in the three studies were consistent with the idea that recall is enhanced by both the strength of a retrieval cue and the extent to which that cue matches information that is present at encoding.

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