Writing with pictures: Toward a unifying theory of consumer response to images

Linda M. Scott, Patrick Vargas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studies of response to advertising images follow parallel streams: one treats visuals as sensory data; the other, operating under rhetorical theory, presumes that images are communicative artifacts. By revisiting a seminal article by Mitchell and Olson, we empirically demonstrate an alternative explanation for results under the sensory approach, while also establishing the basis for complex statements like tropes. We argue that consumers read product attributes from pictures based on an emergent writing system made possible by recent communication technologies. Our theory is consistent with the historical record of communication technology and with the trajectory of research in fields that study writing systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-356
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'Writing with pictures: Toward a unifying theory of consumer response to images'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this