Application of Facet Theory to Marketing Communication and Behavior (Abstract)


Jacob Hornik (1974) ,"Application of Facet Theory to Marketing Communication and Behavior (Abstract)", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 01, eds. Scott Ward and Peter Wright, Ann Abor, MI : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 434-437.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 1, 1974    Pages 434-437


Jacob Hornik, University of Illinois, Chicago Circle

The objective of this study was to investigate television audience resistance and immunization against television advertising. Resistance was defined as an overt affective or cognitive act performed by an audience against one or more aspects of television advertising. Immunization was looked upon as the intentional or unintentional (both as covert behavior) avoidance of commercials (Hornik, 1972). It was assumed that the psychological characteristics of individuals are often barriers to good commercial communications. Perception and understanding of any communication may be impeded by fundamental personal traits as well as by the value judgments of the individuals who receive them. Human beings are discriminatory in what they read, hear, and learn. They also live within a framework of expectation based upon their cultural level (Cerha, 1967). The principle emphasis of this study was therefore on attitudes reflecting affections and beliefs. Only through an awareness of such can viewing-action be understood. Louis Guttman's (1950) definition of attitude as "a delimiting totality of behavior with respect to something" was accepted as our guiding focus.


Resistance and immunization to television advertising are multivariate. Facet theory and its mapping sentence guided us in the design of the study, the simultaneous definition of all variables, and the formulation of questions (Guttman, 1950, 1959; Maierle, 1969).



On the basis of the semantics of the research universe, we were able to predict the structure of the variables by formulating hypotheses. These were submitted to empirical testing. Three facets were defined: (a) the modality facet with three elements --- cognitive, affective, and instrumental; (b) the referent facet with two elements --- self and others; and (c) the aspects facet with four elements --- information, change, influence, and inducement. These facets suffice to distinguish the 24 resistance and immunization variables.

Thirteen hypotheses were divided into five groups.

1. Relating attitude-behavior to personal characteristics.

2. Relating attitude to behavior.

3. Factor pattern of variables.

4. A circumplex structure of the modality elements.

5. A simplex structure of the aspects relationships.



Several methods of analysis were used: (a) Chi-square analysis to comparatively study the relationships between personal characteristic variables and the attitude-behavior items. No significant differences were found; (b) Chi-square analysis and Pearson product-moment correlation was used to determine whether the respondents' behavior is related to their attitude toward the object. In this part of the analysis the personal characteristics of the respondents were treated simultaneously as a unit, rather than individually; (c) factor analysis was used to identify the major sources or components of audience resistance and immunization to television advertising, and (d) Smallest Space Analysis (SSA) was applied for the analysis of the structural relations between the variables.


The empirical results support the hypothesis of a circular relationship among the modality elements. This indicates a process of a "dynamic interaction" of mutual cause and effect of attitude and actual behavior. The circumplex concept was used in the study as a substitute for the concept of "hierarchy" of effects in advertising processes (Guttman, 1954).



The correlations between the aspects elements revealed a simplex: a simple order relationship in the form information --- change --influence --- spending --- inducement. The results confirmed the utility of the faceted definition of behavior toward commercials. One major conclusion that follows is that commercial communication proceeds on several tracks simultaneously and not along a unidimensional cognitive-affective continuum. Also, resisting attitudes and immunized behavior toward television advertising can be considered obstacles to successful advertising campaigns. The implications of the findings for advertising research and practice were discussed. This investigation is believed to raise and answer several thought-provoking questions, and to indicate fruitful directions for further inquiry.


Cerha, J. Selective Mass Communication. Stockholm: P.A. Norstedt and Suner, 1967.

Guttman, L. The problem of attitude and opinion measurement. In S.A. Stouffer (ed.), Measurement and Prediction. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1950, 46-59.

Guttman, L. A new approach to factor analysis: the radax. In P. Lazersfeld (ed.), Mathematical Thinking in the Social Sciences, Glencoe. Ill.: The Free Press. 1954, 258-348.

Guttman, L. Introduction to facet design and analysis. In Proceedings of the Fifteenth International Congress of Psychology, 1959, 130-132.

Hornik, J. Resistance to advertising and immunization against television commercials: a multivariate analysis. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Syracuse University, 1972.

Maierle, J. An application of Guttman Facet Analysis to attitude scale construction: a methodological study. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Michigan State University, 1969.



Jacob Hornik, University of Illinois, Chicago Circle


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 01 | 1974

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