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.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Make a Wish Foundation, U.S. Advertisement, 2010

In this advert Make a Wish Foundation use a voice-over to ensure that only the sick children, their carers and their ‘wishes’ are seen, thereby not distracting the spectator from them with a presenter. It also informs the spectator that “you can lift their spirits by giving them a special kind of hope” and that “there are thousands of wishes waiting to come true- you can make it happen.” Therefore placing the viewer in the position of responsibility to make a difference to these children’s lives. This is known as the Dependency-responsibility Altercast, which is an effective method for obtaining compliance with a request to exhibit dependency on another person therefore placing that person in the role of responsibility.

This is supported by Doob & Ecker (1970), in their experiment subjects were approached by someone with (or without) an eye patch, who then asked them to complete a questionnaire. This eye patch presented a stigma of someone that was dependent on the target for getting the task done. The findings revealed that subjects were more likely to comply with a request from someone who appears ‘vulnerable’ (with eye patch) than who does not (without an eye patch).

Further support is provided by Pratkanis & Gliner (2004-2005) who cite that a child creates a dependency relationship thus is more effective (than an expert) in arguing for protection-themed issues. For instance, allowing the ill children shown in the advert to have a moment of fun, to fulfill their dream before its no longer possible.

Doob, A.N., & Ecker, B.P (1970)Stigma and compliance, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 14, 302-304

Pratkanis, A.R, & Gliner, M.D (2004-2005)And when shall a little child lead them? Evidence for an altercasting theory of source credibility. Current Psychology, 23, 279-304

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