Persuasive nature of image schematic devices in advertising: their use for introducing sexisms


  • María Sol Velasco Sacristán
  • María Enriqueta Cortés de los Ríos



Advertising, Image schematic devices, Persuasion, Sexism


This paper explores how persuasive is the exploitation of image-schematic devices in advertising, more specifically how they are used for introducing sexism. Using a combined axiological-relevance-theoretic approach we have analysed ten advertisements selected from an online corpus, ‘The Advertising is Good for You’ blog, and its section on ‘Sexist Advertising’. Our analyses have proved that image schematic devices are used to introduce sexism in the advertisements under analysis, mostly the image schemas of space, force, multiplicity and attribute, and mostly by means of covert and weakly overt forms of communication. These image schematic devices seem to be not merely representative of universal experience, but crucially tied to specific socio-cultural cognition, as also suggested by Sinha (2002), Kimmel (2005) and Zlatev (2005), and special cognitive effort and effects are involved with understanding them. Yet, although they seem to contradict a formal application of the Principle of Relevance, as they involve additional processing effort, this is often offset by the extra effects like the pleasure in processing the ad and ‘getting’ the right meaning and value(s). This pleasurable experience is one important way in which advertisements are persuasive (Meyers-Levy and Malaviya, 1999).


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How to Cite

Velasco Sacristán, María Sol, and María Enriqueta Cortés de los Ríos. 2009. “Persuasive Nature of Image Schematic Devices in Advertising: Their Use for Introducing Sexisms”. Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina De Estudios Ingleses, no. 22 (November):239-70.