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.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Vivid Appeals: ‘Brunch City’ by Bea Crespo

(Pictures cited from

The Brunch City is a creative photography project made by artist Bea Crespo and photographer Andrea Garcia Portoles. The basic idea behind this project is to use cut-outs of cities’ iconic landmarks to produce an image based on this city’s signature actual food item.  So for example, the Big Ben and London Eye lie on the pink cupcake; the Museum of the City of Brussels is nestled into a Belgium waffle.

These images demonstrate the persuasive technique of ‘Vivid Appeal’. According to Nisbett and Ross (1980), the vivid appeal is a compelling image which contains information that is ‘’ (a) emotionally interesting, (b) concrete and image provoking and (c) immediate. ‘’ For the Brunch City, the bright-coloured pictures shown above give people the impressions of warmth, fullness and happiness and that may promote more travelling to these countries either for its food or for its landmarks as a consequence.

A study by Gonzales, Aronson, and Costanzo (1988) conducted a quasi- experiment whereby they trained 9 energy auditors to use social-psychological principles (experimental group) and another 9 people as the control group (these were not trained in the social-psychological principles) to see whether the effectiveness of R.C.S Home Energy Audit Program would be improved. The training procedure includes processes like speaking in a vivid language, for example, rather than saying ‘‘the attic needs insulation’’ the trained auditors would be taught to say ‘‘you have a naked attic that is facing winter without any clothes on’’.

The table above demonstrates that the use of the ‘vivid appeal’ technique does work and in this case, the effectiveness of R.C.S Home Energy Audit Program was improved as the experimental group’s mean self-reported probability of 7.222 is greater (more probable to be more energy-efficient) than control group’s probability of 6.094 (less probable to be more energy-efficient).

In the same way that the experimental group used the vivid language and the Brunch City used vivid pictures they both require audience to engage with imagination processes and as a result, leading to behavioural changes.

Gonzales, M.H., Aronson, E., & Costanzo, M. (1988).Using social cognition and persuasion to promote energy conservation: A quasi- experiment.  Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 18, 1049-1066.
Nisbett, R, E., & Ross, L. (1980). Human inferences: Strategies and shortcomings of social judgement. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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