The researchers found that some people are better at recognizing additional meanings than others, but they also found that degree of understanding has little impact on how well people respond to the catchphrases. In fact, consumers who didn’t get the joke often expressed the greatest appreciation of the punned slogans.
"This research is the first to establish that consumers differ in their ability to process multiple meaning phrases, that this difference is separate and distinct from other linguistic abilities, and that it appears linked to working memory capacity differences," write Claudiu V. Dimofte (Georgetown University) and Richard F. Yalch (University of Washington). "As the linguistic cue associated with a brand name, the slogan represents an important priming device that conveys information and occupies prime consumer memory space."
Dimofte and Yalch introduced a new scale to measure how quickly people grasped the multiple meanings. They call the scale SMAARTS (Secondary Meaning Access via the Automatic Route Test Score). A high SMAARTS score indicates recognition of additional meanings fairly automatically. But even people with low SMAARTS tend to prefer clever slogans with multiple meanings to ones with only a single meaning, the researchers found.
"Individuals with low automatic access have an inherent preference for polysemous versus literal advertising slogans . . . a process that can be described as appreciation in the absence of comprehension," explain the authors.
"It may be that incomplete processing keeps the slogan interesting to the low automatic access individuals, much as a mystery novel entertains many readers."
Suzanne Wu | EurekAlert!
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A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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