Adolescent Skepticism

Read Complete Research Material



Adolescents Skepticism


As discussed by Annette Singleton Jackson in the research paper, several empirical studies have been done and found significant levels of skepticism in adolescent subjects. The thesis statement of this paper enlightens the affect of skepticism on the processing of advertising and persuasion attempts among adolescents. Various antecedents and consequences have been posited in explanation of adolescent's demonstrated cynicism toward persuasive efforts. Based on the advertising literature as outlined, adolescent skepticism has been shown to vary with mistrust and disbelief of advertising claims, increase with socialization, and be inversely related to ages between 13 and 16 years. One is hard pressed to find any literature in which skepticism was examined in the 12 to 15 year age group and was found not to be present. An early study in this area, McCallum (1978) examined skepticism in the context of Inoculation Theory where children were shown short anti-smoking films in an attempt to increase skepticism toward smoking. This research, done in the context of de-marketing an undesired behavior and might be considered more in line with changing attitudes toward a product category than a measure of skepticism. However, results indicated that adolescents “inoculated” with anti-smoking knowledge exhibited a statistically significant increase in skepticism from those children not inoculated by the anti-smoking films (McCallum, 1978).On the other hand, child development literature is very clear on one point with respect to adolescents.

Children between the age of 12 and 15 are generally subject to the adolescent identity crisis, brought on by an epistemic shift. The hallmark of this shift is the appearance of dogmatism or skepticism toward ideas when it is not fully apparent whether or not the truth of the ideas might be subject to interpretation. The goal of this manuscript is to underline what might seem to be obvious. A very simple alternative to the multivariate model of skepticism is found in child development literature. There might be less relevance in attempting to determine which variables, antecedents, and consequences account for the most variance in regression models than examining the epistemic maturity level of the adolescent subjects. The adolescent group is by definition skeptical and/or dogmatic. Adolescent skepticism is delineated in accepted developmental psychological, cognitive, and epistemic development theory as a known stage of development. In fact, many of us with children understand the concept of the “adolescent identity crisis” on many different levels. Given the vast child development literature, it is suggested that future research on children--adolescents in particular with respect to advertising, consumer behavior, or any aspect of marketing take into account that they are indeed children (Prendergast, Liu, and Poon 2009).

Summary of Article

This paper conceptualizes skepticism as a result of a developmental stage more than its current role as a dependent variable within the advertising and persuasion research context. The current study is the relationship among cognitive development, epistemic development and skepticism toward advertising in adolescent children. Additionally, skepticism and dogmatism are both a reaction to the adolescent relativist view, are closely ...
Related Ads