The Role of Need for Cognition in Consumers' Mental Imagery: A Study of Visual Social Media of Fashion Brands
The purpose of this study is twofold: (1) to explore how consumers' perceptions of fluency with visual messages (comprehension and imagery fluency) affect mental imagery in fashion brands' visual social media which in turn affects attitude towards fashion brands and (2) to examine if an individual difference variable (i.e., need for cognition) plays a moderating role in visual message processing in the context of Instagram. Data were gathered using a web-based survey method with customer panel at Amazon Mechanical Turk (N=328). The results capture mental imagery as a core mechanism of consumer visual message processing in the context of fashion brand Instagram. Both comprehension fluency and imagery fluency influence mental imagery, which in turn cultivates positive attitude toward fashion brand. Individual differences in need for cognition interact with imagery fluency in enhancing mental imagery such that high need for cognition strengthens the effect of imagery fluency on mental imagery.