Master of Arts (MA)
Number of Pages
In an effort to increase attention and recall, advertisers have begun to use commercials that employ schema distortion that make the commercial seem enigmatic to the viewer. Recently, research in communication, specifically the news media, has focused on the processes of learning and recall using schema theory; The method used 12 commercials, 6 identified as enigmatic and 6 identified as non-enigmatic. The non-enigmatic commercials were similar in style to the enigmatic. A questionnaire and an edited videotape were developed to examine three areas of schema theory as it related to television commercials: recall, emotional reaction and the ability of viewers to make inferences. A total of 43 subjects participated in the study; No significant differences were found in the recall of the product/service or brand name between non-enigmatic and enigmatic commercials. The results indicated that enigmatic commercials do generate greater emotional reaction with significant differences in attention, curiosity and surprise. When the endings of the enigmatic commercials were removed, the vast majority of viewers were unable to predict the product/service or brand name.
Advertisements; Commercials; Distortion; Enigmatic; Schema; Television
Mass media; Psychology, Experimental; Psychology
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
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Schneweis, Micheal Shane, "Enigmatic commercials: Schema distortion in television advertisements" (1991). UNLV Retrospective Theses & Dissertations. 217.