A New Bridge from Text to Mind: Cognitive Literary Approaches to Advertising

Van den Bossche, Astrid. 2017. A New Bridge from Text to Mind: Cognitive Literary Approaches to Advertising. In: Russell Belk, ed. Qualitative Consumer Research. 14 Bingley: Emerald, pp. 1-23. ISBN 9781787144927 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Cognitive literary criticism is introduced as a bridge between cognitive approaches to the study of persuasion, and literary traditions in consumer research. As a successor to reader-response theory, cognitive literary theory focuses on the cognitive processes of interpretation, while keeping an eye on the aesthetic properties of the text. Paradigmatically cautious researchers might shy away from attempts to marry positivist cognitive constructs to interpretivist cultural theory, but this chapter argues that these qualms also conceal missed opportunities for the study of persuasion.

Insights from cognitive literary criticism are demonstrated at the hand of a LEGO ad.

Theory of mind and conceptual blending are crucial cognitive skills involved in the interpretation of persuasive texts.

Most research to date has kept literary and cognitive approaches to persuasion separate, black-boxing the processes of persuasion. This chapter argues for a revitalization of interest in aesthetic detail, informed by insights from cognitive science.

Item Type:

Book Section

Identification Number (DOI):



Persuasion, advertising, cognitive literary theory, interpretation, theory of mind, conceptual blending

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute of Management Studies


1 August 2017Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

12 Oct 2018 15:13

Last Modified:

12 Mar 2021 12:50



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