Mates or married? Implications of gender composition and physical intimacy on evaluation of images tested for advertising

Communication Research Reports.

Abstract: Drawing upon the theoretical framework of social identity theory and literature on physical intimacy, consumer neuroscience, and social cognitive and affective neuroscience, responses to images featuring same-gender and other-gender pairs are explored through examination of self-reported attitudes and neural activity associated with attention, memory, and emotion. Under the pretense of pretesting the effectiveness of images to be used in a national advertising campaign, participants viewed still images while neuroelectric brain responses were recorded. Each image featured two women, two men, or a man and a woman presented in positions of physical intimacy. Results indicate that event-related brain potentials (ERPs) associated with attention did not differ overall based on couple composition. However, ERPs associated with working memory and emotion were enhanced when processing images with two men. Preference for these images was reflected in self-reported attitudes.

Glenna Read