Psychologic Effects of Advertising

The following research is on the subject of the psychological effects of advertising. Advertising is a form of communication which is intended to sway people in a particular direction, to influence the audience to purchase a product or service. There is a tacit understanding of this fact on the part of the audience, but this does not mean that the people in the audience--whether it be for television, magazines, books, or newspapers--are able to control fully their own reactions. Advertising operates on many different levels, and there are subliminal messages in advertising that influence the thinking of the public. Many of these messages are certainly inadvertent, deriving from the prejudices and attitudes that are prevalent in a society at a given time. However, many others are intentional, designed to attract the viewer and to guide his or her thinking into certain channels for the furtherance of the major aim of advertising--the sale of the product.

Advertising agencies make use of their knowledge of psychology to devise campaigns that will appeal to our desires and needs. Vance Packard says this is a large-scale effort "to channel our unthinking habits, our purchasing decisions, and our thought processes by the use of insights gleaned from psychiatry and the social sciences" (3). Like many critics of this growing trend, Packard finds some of this amusing and some disquieting, and he also notes that there may be even more and more potent manipulative advertising i



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