Faded Fonts How Difficulty in Image Processing Promotes Sensitivity to Missing Information

Main Article Content

Aparna Sundar
Ruomeng Wu
Frank R. Kardes


Faded fonts on billboards and signage causes awareness of missing information. In this research, we highlight the importance of fonts in advertising and wayfinding and how it impacts sensitivity to missing information. Across two studies, we demonstrate that disfluency caused by faded fonts can reduce omission neglect. Study 1 establishes the basis for consequences of disfluency on omission neglect as well as its effects on judgments. Study 2 demonstrates that disfluency increases awareness of missing information by reducing response time differences for correctly identifying previously presented versus missing information. Taken together, the two studies demonstrate that disfluency increases sensitivity to absent information. Practical implications to signage and theoretical contributions to research on omission neglect are discussed.

Article Details

Author Biographies

Aparna Sundar

Assistant Professor of Marketing

Lundquist College of Business

University of Oregon

Ruomeng Wu

Ph.D. Candidate in Marketing

Carl H. Lindner College of Business

University of Cincinnati

Frank R. Kardes

Donald E. Weston, Professor of Marketing

University of Cincinnati


Alter, A. L., & Oppenheimer, D. M. (2008). Effects of fluency on psychological distance and mental construal (or why New York is a large city, but New York is a civilized jungle). Psychological Science, 19, 161-167.

Alter, A. L., Oppenheimer, D. M., Epley, N., & Eyre, R. N. (2007). Overcoming intuition: Metacognitive difficulty activates analytic reasoning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 136, 569-576.

Alter, A. L., Oppenheimer, D. M., & Epley, N. (2013). Disfluency prompts analytic thinking—But not always greater accuracy: Response to Thompson et al. (2013). Cognition, 128, 252-255.

Bargh, J., & Chartrand, T. (2000). The mind in the middle: A practical guide to priming and automaticity research. In H. T. Reis and C. M. Judd (Eds.), Handbook of Research Methods in Social and Personality Psychology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Castro, C., & Horberry, T. (Eds.). (2004). The human factor of transport signs. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Coulter, K. S., & Coulter, R. A. (2005). Size does matter: The effects of magnitude representation congruency on price perceptions and purchase likelihood. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 15, 64-76.

Davis, D. W. (1955). Basic text in advertising. Pleasantville, NY: Printers Ink Books.

Dennis, C., Newman, A., Michon, R., Brakus, J. J., & Wright, L. T. (2010). The mediating effects of perception and emotion: Digital signage in mall atmospherics. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 17, 205-215.

Diemand-Yauman, C., Oppenheimer, D. M., & Vaughan, E. B. (2011). Fortune favors the bold (and the italicized): Effects of disfluency on educational outcomes. Cognition, 118, 111-115.

Dillon, A. (2004). Designing usable electronic text: Ergonomic aspects of human information usage. Boca Raton, FL: CRC press.

Doyle, J. R., & Bottomley, P. A. (2006). Dressed for the occasion: Font-product congruity in the perception of logotype. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 16, 112-123.

Dynel, M. (2011). Blending the incongruity-resolution model and the conceptual integration theory: The case of blends in pictorial advertising. International Review of Pragmatics, 3, 59-83.

Fazio, R. H. (1990). A practical guide to the use of response time in social psychological research. In C. Hendrick and M. S. Clark (Eds.), Review of Personality and Social Psychology. Newbury Park: Sage.

Hayes, A. F. (2012). PROCESS: A versatile computational tool for observed variable mediation, moderation, and conditional process modeling [White paper]. Retrieved from http://www.afhayes.com/public/process2012.pdf

Henderson, P. W., Giese, J. L., & Cote, J. A. (2004). Impression management using typeface design. Journal of Marketing, 68, 60-72. https://doi.org/10.1509/jmkg.

Hernandez, J. M. C., Han, X., & Kardes, F. R. (2014). Effects of the perceived diagnosticity of presented attribute and brand name information on sensitivity to missing information. Journal of Business Research, 67, 874-881.

Hernandez, I., & Preston, J. L. (2013). Disfluency disrupts the confirmation bias. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 178- 182.

Huddleston, P. T., Behe, B. K., Driesener, C., & Minahan, S. (2018). Inside-outside: Using eye-tracking to investigate search-choice processes in the retail environment. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 43, 85-93.

Juni, S., & Gross, J. S. (2008). Emotional and persuasive perception of fonts. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 106, 35-42.

Kardes, F. R., Posavac, S. S., Silvera, D., Cronley, M. L., Sanbonmatsu, D. M., Schertzer, S., ... & Chandrashekaran, M. (2006). Debiasing omission neglect. Journal of Business Research, 59, 786-792.

Kim, M., & Lennon, S. (2008). The effects of visual and verbal information on attitudes and purchase intentions in internet shopping. Psychology & Marketing, 25, 146-178.

Marlow, J. E. (2001). The last gasp: Cigarette advertising on billboards in the 1990s. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 25, 38-54.

Muthukrishnan, A. V., & Ramaswami, S. (1999). Contextual effects on the revision of evaluative judgments: An extension of the omission-detection framework. Journal of Consumer Research, 26, 70-84.

Oppenheimer, D. M. (2008). The secret life of fluency. Trends in cognitive sciences, 12, 237-241. Park, Y. W., Herr, P. M., & Kim, B. C. (2016). The effect of disfluency on consumer perceptions of information security. Marketing Letters, 27, 525-535.

Pieters, R., Warlop, L., & Wedel, M. (2002). Breaking through the clutter: Benefits of advertisement originality and familiarity for brand attention and memory. Management Science, 48, 765-781.

Pieters, R., & Wedel, M. (2004). Attention capture and transfer in advertising: Brand, pictorial, and text-size effects. Journal of Marketing, 68, 36-50.

Reber, R., Winkielman, P., & Schwarz, N. (1998). Effects of perceptual fluency on affective judgments. Psychological Science, 9, 45-48.

Sanbonmatsu, D. M., Kardes, F. R., & Sansone, C. (1991). Remembering less and inferring more: Effects of time of judgment on inferences about unknown attributes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 546-554.

Sanbonmatsu, D. M., Kardes, F. R., & Herr, P. M. (1992). The role of prior knowledge and missing information in multiattribute evaluation. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 51, 76-91.

Sanbonmatsu, D. M., Kardes, F. R., Posavac, S. S., & Houghton, D. C. (1997). Contextual influences on judgment based on limited information. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 69, 251-264.

Sanbonmatsu, D. M., Kardes, F. R., Houghton, D. C., Ho, E. A., & Posavac, S. S. (2003). Overestimating the importance of the given information in multiattribute consumer judgment. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 13, 289-300.

Schwarz, N. (2004). Metacognitive experiences in consumer judgment and decision making. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 14, 332-348.

Sinfield, D. (2014). The semiotics of business signage: How typography is used in impoverished and deprived areas of New Zealand. The International Journal of the Image, 4, 25-32.

Song, H., & Schwarz, N. (2008). If it's hard to read, it's hard to do: Processing fluency affects effort prediction and motivation. Psychological Science, 19, 986-988.

Sundar, A., Gonsales, F., & Schafer, G. (2018). Synchronicity in signage promotes a sense of belonging. Interdisciplinary Journal of Signage and Wayfinding, 2(2), 30–40.

Sundar, A., Dinsmore, J., Paik, S.-H., and Kardes, F. (2016). Metaphorical communication, self-presentation, and consumer inference in service encounters. Journal of Business Research, 72(1), 136–146.

Sundar, A. (2018). Brand touchpoints. Hauppague, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Taylor, C. R., Franke, G. R., & Bang, H. K. (2006). Use and effectiveness of billboards: perspectives from selective-perception theory and retail-gravity models. Journal of Advertising, 35, 21-34.

Toma, C. L. (2010). Perceptions of trustworthiness online: The role of visual and textual information. In Proceedings of the 2010 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (pp. 13-22). Savannah, GA: CSCW.

Unkelbach, C., Fiedler, K., & Freytag, P. (2007). Information repetition in evaluative judgments: Easy to monitor, hard to control. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 103, 37-52.

Visual, P. (2016, April 27). Common signage problems and how to deal with them. Retrieved November 7, 2018, from http://pbvisualcom.au/how-to-deal-with-4-common-signage-problems/

Wilson, R. T., & Till, B. D. (2008). Airport advertising effectiveness: An exploratory field study. Journal of Advertising, 37, 59-72.

Wu, R., Escoe, B., & Kardes, F. (2018). You are not as smart as you think you are: Effects of self-perceived knowledge on consumer information processing and decision making. ACR North American Advances.

Wu, R., Shah, E., & Kardes, F. (2016). Disfluency effects on inference and evaluation. ACR North American Advances.

Yoon, A., Choi, S. M., Hong, J., Hahn, D., Kang, M., & Lee, S. (2014). Motivational signage promotes physical activity on a college campus. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 46, 108.