high and low involvement

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1. The degree of cognitive effort or elaboration required on the part of the audience in relation to the form of the message. Some texts demand more active interpretation than others, even within the same medium. For example, some television commercials are designed to be more open-ended, as when the target audience is expected to be more highly-educated and to find such interpretation intrinsically gratifying.

2. The amount of cognitive effort required from the audience in relation to the nature of the medium. Reading printed text is generally regarded as requiring more active cognitive involvement than watching television, although clearly this is partly dependent on the content: casually flipping through a magazine is likely to be less demanding than watching a whodunnit on TV. See alsohot and cool media.

3. A characterization of television viewing styles in terms of the degree of attention paid to the screen. The British marketing analysts Patrick Barwise (b.1946) and Andrew Ehrenberg (b.1926) reported in 1988 that, based on UK data, of those in a room with a TV switched on during programme transmissions, 40% were not attentively viewing, and during commercials, that figure rose to 60%. The attention of individual viewers varies dramatically, from rapt attention to no attention at all. In 1983, Jeremy Tunstall, a British sociologist, proposed a three-tier categorization of audience involvement with television programmes. Primary involvement (focused viewing) denotes watching TV attentively and critically, evidenced in the viewer's ability to effectively recall and evaluate what they have just seen. Secondary involvement (monitoring) denotes watching while engaged in another activity, e.g. ironing, or where something else is going on in the background. Tertiary involvement (idling) denotes the situation when the TV is on in the background but is not the subject of conscious attention (see alsosit up or sit back; television viewing styles).

4. (marketing) The relative level of cognitive effort and problem-solving in which the consumer is expected to engage when purchasing particular types of product. This typically corresponds to how expensive mistakes could be: so purchase decisions in relation to cars or computers are expected to involve more cognitive involvement than for soap or bread. See alsoelaboration likelihood model.

5. (marketing) The relative level of affective involvement anticipated on the part of consumers in relation to the purchase of particular types of product: see alsoaffect; emotional appeals.

6. (linguistics) The conversational style of an individual speaker in interpersonal communication whose speech, reflecting their enthusiasm and interest, is characterized by such features as rapidity, relatively short pauses, abrupt topic shifting, faster turn-taking, and a tendency to speak without necessarily waiting for others to finish their turns. Tannen used the term to describe a style she observed among New Yorkers. She noted that a high-involvement style of speaking is evaluated positively by other users of this style but is seen as dominating by those who do not. The comparison here is with a style she referred to as high considerateness.

Subjects: Media Studies.

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