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.

Friday, January 30, 2015

He's just like us

In this Halifax advert we are introduced to Mark, a dedicated, hard working man who goes the extra mile, someone who’s just like the rest of us. Halifax plays on one of Cialdini's principles of persuasion here; liking. We like people who we can identify with and people who hold similar attitudes to us. Mark isn't a famous celebrity, he’s an average hard working guy, with a normal job like many people, therefore we are more inclined to like him. This can be explained in terms of the similarity- attraction hypothesis which proposes that attitude similarity promotes interpersonal attraction. Mark displays characteristics that many of us identify with so we conclude that he is friendship worthy.

Singh and Tan (1992) carried out a study which aimed to test the similarity- attraction hypotheses as well as the dissimilarity- repulsion hypothesis.  In this experiment 90 subjects first judged a stranger (a randomly sampled same sex university student) in a no attitude information control condition. Later they judged the same student again knowing that he had 0.00, 0.50 or 1.00 proportion of similar attitudes with them.

The results show that as the proportion of similar attitudes known increases, so does the mean attraction. Figure 1 highlights the importance of knowing that the student had similar attitudes to the test subjects. When participants knew they had no similar attitudes, mean attraction was much lower than when they had no attitude information. Similarly when the participants knew they had similar attitudes to the student, their mean attraction was higher (although not as much) compared to when they did not have this information.

So, we like people who are like us. In this advert Halifax states 'we think people who give extra should get extra back.' Mark’s just like us, hardworking, determined, if Halifax wants to help people like him they want to help us too. 

Singh, R., & Tan, L.S.C. (1992). Attitudes and attraction: A test of the similarity- attraction and dissimilarity- hypotheses. British Journal of Social Psychology, 31, 227-238.

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