Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills 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 30, 2013

WWF Campaign: Deforestation and Lungs

This advertisement was created for WWF’s campaign in order to raise awareness on deforestation. The picture shows a forest cut in the shape of a pair of lungs. The lung on the left looks healthy, however the one on the right has been exposed to deforestation, making it look unhealthy and diseased. As well as showing the damage done to the wildlife’s habitat in that area, it goes further by suggesting that deforestation also has a direct impact on our health; reducing oxygen levels by cutting down trees may cause harmful effects to our lungs, especially because of today’s increases in pollution.

The advertisement makes use of the “Fear appeals” effect as it links an unwanted action (i.e. deforestation) with negative consequences (i.e. diseased lung). This effect was shown by Leventhal, Singer & Jones (1965). They investigated the effects of fear on attitudes towards tetanus inoculations.  Participants were seniors at Yale University; they were given a high fear booklet or a low fear booklet containing information on causes of tetanus, a section with recommendations explaining the prevention of tetanus, and a case history of a patient with tetanus. The fear levels were manipulated by using frightening or non-frightening information on tetanus, emotion provoking or non-provoking adjectives to describe tetanus, the tetanus case, the treatment of tetanus, and also photographs. The results showed that participants in the high fear condition had increased attitudinal acceptance of the recommendations favoring the tetanus inoculations.

Leventhal, H., Singer, R., and Jones, S. (1965).  Effects of fear and specificity of recommendation upon attitudes and behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2, 20-29.


  1. Well done. Leventhal is good here and well described.


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