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Volume 16 Issue 1 (2020)

A Facilitatory Effect of Perceptual Incongruity on Target-Source Matching in Pictorial Metaphors of Chinese Advertising: EEG Evidence original article

pp. 1-12 | First published on 29 January 2020 | DOI:10.5709/acp-0279-z

Shuo Cao, Yanzhang Wang, Huili Wang, Hongjun Chen, Guanghui Zhang, Ada Kritikos


Using evoked response potentials, we investigated the implicit detection of incongruity during target-source matching in pictorial metaphors of Chinese advertising. Participants saw an image of a product (the target in a visual metaphorical relationship), and then made a same-different judgment in response to a second image (the source in a visual metaphorical relationship) which was (in)congruous to the first image in terms of shape and/or function. We collected behavioral (button- press reaction time and accuracy), and neural (N270, delta and theta band activity) measures. The time-frequency analysis showed faster processing of incongruous visual information. Moreover, shape and conceptual incongruity were associated with increased N270 amplitude as well as delta (1-3 Hz) and theta (4-8 Hz) band power. Noticeably, compared with conceptual incongruity, shape incongruity evoked a larger N270 amplitude and stronger delta and theta band oscillation. In addition, the average topographical analysis revealed a frontal and central distribution of the power activity. The analysis of attitudes towards the advertising metaphor pictures also proved the supportive role played by incongruity. In conclusion, incongruity facilitates target-source matching in pictorial metaphors of Chinese advertising. The findings obtained from the study are important to metaphor designs of advertising pictures.

Keywords: perceptual incongruity, target-source matching, advertising pictorial metaphor