Advertising Literacy and Executive Function: Testing Their Influence on Children’s Consumer Behavior

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


For decades, researchers have theorized that children’s persuasion understanding should help them cope with commercial messages. Yet, to date, there is little evidence to support this hypothesized relationship. Recently, scholars have suggested 2 potential reasons for the lack of findings. The first is that the measure of children’s persuasion understanding has not been thoroughly conceptualized, as previous work has confused knowledge of persuasive intent with knowledge of selling intent. The second is that previous research on the subject has not appropriately considered the role that cognitive development plays in helping children respond to commercial messages with a particular focus on the role that executive function should play. Working with 79 elementary school children and their parents, this study tested whether children’s advertising knowledge was associated with parent-reported consumer behavior (i.e., purchase requests) and if children’s executive function moderated this relationship. Results indicate that children’s understanding of selling intent is negatively associated with parent-reported purchase requests, but understanding of persuasive intent is not. Moreover, although children’s executive function does not moderate this relationship, it is directly associated with consumer behavior. These results offer new insights into how children’s advertising literacy and cognitive development potentially affect their consumer behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-59
Number of pages21
JournalMedia Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology


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