Sex differences in responses to probability markers in advertising claims

Ilona A. Berney-Reddish*, Charles S. Areni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The results of a laboratory experiment revealed that women were generally more accepting of advertising claims than men. However, men and women had decidedly different reactions to the use of hedges (e.g., "may," "probably," "possibly") and pledges (e.g., "definitely," "undoubtedly," "absolutely") in advertising claims. Women responded negatively to both types of probability markers, such that mean acceptance of the focal claim shifted downward when compared with conditions in which no marker was used. On the other hand, hedges decreased the variance of claim acceptance among men without affecting the mean response, and pledges had little or no effect on the mean or variance among men. These results are discussed in terms of sex differences in elaboration thresholds and the multiple roles postulate of the elaboration likelihood model (ELM).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-16
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Advertising
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006

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