Verbalizing or visualizing metaphors? The moderating effects of processing mode and temporal orientation

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2008
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He, Yi
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Metaphors are extensively used in interactive healthcare communications. Although the superiority of metaphors over literal messages is usually explained by enhanced elaboration, little is understood with regard to whether metaphors invite readers to mentally visualize healthcare messages. It also remains unknown if different metaphor formats (abstract versus concrete) activate different processing mechanisms. In addition, there has been no attempt to examine the combination of metaphors and other healthcare communication strategies. This dissertation contributes to this body of knowledge by providing a comprehensive framework focused on two different metaphor formats (abstract versus concrete). In a series of studies, this dissertation demonstrates that concrete metaphors, when compared with abstract metaphors, are usually processed via higher imagery processing. As a result, concrete metaphors are often more effective than abstract metaphors. However, abstract metaphors are more effective in encouraging behavioral persistence. In addition, congruency between metaphor format and processing instructions/temporal orientation priming enhances message effectiveness. After a certain period of time, the effect of congruency between metaphor format and temporal orientation priming fades away for risk perception, but it remains fairly strong for behavioral intention. This dissertation contributes to the theory of metaphors and has important marketing research and managerial implications.
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Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2008.
Metaphors are extensively used in interactive healthcare communications. Although the superiority of metaphors over literal messages is usually explained by enhanced elaboration, little is understood with regard to whether metaphors invite readers to mentally visualize healthcare messages. It also remains unknown if different metaphor formats (abstract versus concrete) activate different processing mechanisms. In addition, there has been no attempt to examine the combination of metaphors and other healthcare communication strategies.
This dissertation contributes to this body of knowledge by providing a comprehensive framework focused on two different metaphor formats (abstract versus concrete). In a series of studies, this dissertation demonstrates that concrete metaphors, when compared with abstract metaphors, are usually processed via higher imagery processing. As a result, concrete metaphors are often more effective than abstract metaphors. However, abstract metaphors are more effective in encouraging behavioral persistence. In addition, congruency between metaphor format and processing instructions/temporal orientation priming enhances message effectiveness. After a certain period of time, the effect of congruency between metaphor format and temporal orientation priming fades away for risk perception, but it remains fairly strong for behavioral intention. This dissertation contributes to the theory of metaphors and has important marketing research and managerial implications.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 116-138).
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144 leaves, bound 29 cm
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Theses for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa). International Management; no. 5035
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