Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Act On CO2 - A Bedtime Story

This advertisement by Act on CO2 uses the storytelling technique of persuasion. The facts of climate change, followed logically by the steps needing to be taken to combat it are laid out in a bedtime story told by a father to his young daughter.
Hastie and Pennington (1992) found that presenting jurors with biased case facts in a story format encouraged the jurors to reach the verdict implied in the given story.
 The father/ daughter scene uses a similarity altercast as they are “just plain folks”; Berscheid (1966) found that similarity is relevant if it is directly relevant to the given issue, which it is here when the father claims 40% of CO2 emissions are from everyday activity.
The way in which the viewer is told the story along with the child also establishes the father as an authority figure, authority figures induce compliance; as Bickman (1974) found by getting participants to do tasks given by a man dressed as a guard.

 Berscheid, E. (1966). Opinion change and communicator-communicatee similarity and dissimilarity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 4(6), 670-680.

Bickman, L. (1974). The social power of a uniform. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 4(1), 47-61.

Hastie, R., & Pennington, N. (1992). Explaining the evidence: Tests of the story model for juror decision making. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62(2), 189-206.


  1. Nice. Importantly, in Pennington and Hastie (1992), they show that presenting evidence in a story form (as opposed to organized by issue) had a greater impact on the participants' (undergraduates) decision making.

  2. BTW, Pennington and Hastie call it The Story Model of decision making.


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