A recent conceptualization of the structure of attitudes proposes that people may hold associations that contribute to their personal attitudes about an object (personal associations) but also highly salient associations that do not contribute to their attitudes toward the object (extrapersonal associations; Olson and Fazio 2004). We conducted three studies with brands in the automobile industry to investigate the applicability of this new association typology to consumer attitude domains. Study 1 suggests the presence of extrapersonal associations for all brands investigated, by showing that some highly salient brand associations indeed contribute to brand attitudes but other similarly salient associations do not. Experimental data in Study 2 indicate that an individual difference, consumer expertise with the category, impacts the accessibility of personal associations in a brand evaluation context. Study 3 further strengthens the validity of the new typology by showing that it can meaningfully explain the different types of associations made accessible by persuasive messages. Taken together, our three studies provide strong support for Olson and Fazio’s (2004) framework and highlight its value for a better understanding of the nature of the brand associations that shape consumer brand attitudes
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