Attitude functions in advertising: The interactive role of products and self-monitoring

Sharon Shavitt, Tina M. Lowrey, Sang Pil Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Attitude objects have been shown to play an important role in attitude functions, with attitudes toward some objects or products serving primarily a single function. These findings imply that products constrain the effects of other variables (e.g., personality differences) on attitude functions. Our experiments investigated whether differences in the functions of high and low self-monitors' product attitudes will emerge for some product categories but not for others. In Experiment 1, high and low self-monitors described their attitudes toward products previously identified as serving predominantly utilitarian, social identity, or multiple functions. Coding of attitude descriptions revealed that, for social identity products, high self-monitors explained their attitudes in more social terms and in less utilitarian terms than did low self-monitors. However, for utilitarian and for multiple function products, high and low self-monitors did not differ in their (strongly utilitarian) explanations of their attitudes. In Experiments 2 and 3, high and low self-monitors wrote advertisements for various products. When advertising multiple function products, high self-monitors preferred to use social arguments, whereas low self-monitors preferred to use utilitarian arguments. However, both high and low self-monitors preferred utilitarian arguments for advertising utilitarian products and social arguments for social identity products. The conditions under which self-monitoring had its greatest impact on attitude functions are discussed in terms of differences between the task of attitude description (Experiment 1) and persuasive message selection (Experiments 2 and 3).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-364
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing


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