Truth in Advertising

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1978, Vol 23(11), 854–855. Reviews the book, How Children Learn to Buy: The Development of Consumer Information-Processing Skills by Scott Ward, Daniel B. Wackman, and Ellen Wartella (1977). The data presented in this book were gleaned from interviews with 615 mother-child pairs regarding a variety of issues surrounding buying and selling, particularly on television. The sample is stratified by social class, with half from middle- and half from lower class families, and by three grade levels: kindergarten, 3rd, and 6th. The authors find that older children recall more about commercials, are more aware of the selling intent, and the “manipulative” or motivational intent of commercials. In addition, children are more inclined to ask for a product by brand name as they grow older, and when asked about the desirable attributes of products, children preferred “good taste” and “sweet taste” to the nutritional value of the product at every age level. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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