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Brand as a cognitive mediator: investigating the effect of media brands as a structural feature of textual news messages

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Purpose – This study investigates how media brand knowledge, defined as a structural feature of the message, influences emotional and
attentional responses to, and memory of, news messages.
Design/methodology/approach – Self-reports, facial electromyography (EMG) and electroencephalography were used as indices of emotional
valence, arousal and attention in response to 42 news messages, which varied along the valence and involvement dimensions and were framed with
different media brands varying along the familiarity and credibility dimensions.
Findings – Compared to the no-brand condition, news framed with brands elicited more attention. The memory tests indicated that strong media
brands override the effect of involvement in information encoding, whereas details of news presented with Facebook were not well encoded.
However, the headlines of news framed with Facebook were well retrieved. In addition, negative and high-involvement news elicited higher arousal
ratings and corrugator EMG activity. News framed with familiar and high-credibility brands elicited higher arousal ratings.
Research limitations/implications – Relevant for both brand managers and audiences, the findings show that building credibility and familiarity
both work as brand attributes to differentiate media brands and influence information processing.
Originality/value – The results highlight the importance of media brands in news reading: as a structural feature, the brand is used as a proxy to
process the message content. The study contributes by investigating how the type of source influences the reception and encoding of the mediated
information; by investigating the emotional effects of brands; and by confirming previous findings in media psychology literature.


  • Media, Emotions, Brand, LC4MP, Psychophysiology

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland