Development and Persuasion Understanding: Predicting Knowledge of Persuasion/Selling Intent From Children's Theory of Mind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


Determining the approximate age that children are able to understand the purpose of advertising messages has been a concern of children and media researchers for over 40 years. However, other theorists have suggested that age is not the necessary determinant of persuasion understanding but that cognitive development is (via theory of mind). In addition, Kunkel (2010) has suggested that advertising knowledge represents a number of competencies. Working with elementary school children, this study tested whether children's theory of mind (ToM) capabilities predicted advertising knowledge. Results indicate that children's understanding of selling intent is significantly linked to ToM development beyond the influence of age and linguistic competence and that children showed stronger knowledge of selling intent than knowledge of persuasive intent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-442
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015
Externally publishedYes



  • Advertising
  • Children and Media
  • Cognitive Development
  • Persuasion Knowledge
  • Social Cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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