“Where there is a will…”: Motivation as a moderator of language processing by bilingual consumers



This article examines the impact of processing motivation on language processing by bilingual consumers. The article begins by outlining the revised hierarchical model (Dufour & Kroll, 1995), which implies that second-language conceptual processing is more challenging and less likely to be successful than first-language processing. Then two empirical studies are conducted to investigate whether intrinsic and/or extrinsic motivation can be moderators of the impact of first- and second-language processing on cognitive measures of advertising effectiveness. Study 1 finds that need for cognition, an intrinsic measure of motivation, fulfills this moderating role. Consistent with the revised hierarchical model, for low-need-for-cognition individuals, first-language processing is superior to second-language processing. By contrast, high-need-for-cognition individuals remember first- and second-language ads equally well. Study 2 finds a significant interaction between need for cognition and an extrinsic manipulation of processing motivation, indicating that first language leads to greater memory under conditions that include both high motivation and low need for cognition. Our results are interpreted using consumer-behavior models. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.