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 28, 2015

Imagine that!


 
Note. From Multi-room systems by Hifi Cinema, 2012, retrieved from http://www.hificinema.co.uk/entertainment-solutions/multi-room-systems/

This is an advertisement on the ‘HiFi Cinema’ website for one of their products, a ‘Multi-Room System.’ The advert persuades the reader that this is a worthwhile purchase by instructing him or her to imagine what it would be like to own this product.

Gregory, Cialdini, and Carpenter (1982) showed that imagining a scenario can influence an individual’s perceptions of it and behaviour towards it. In their study, participants were visited door-to-door, and were given information about a cable television service. The experimenter either informed participants of the service’s benefits, or asked participants to imagine what it would be like to experience these benefits. Participants were given a questionnaire and behavioural measures to test their responses to this.


Note. From “Self-relevant scenarios as mediators of likelihood estimates and compliance: Does imagining make it so?” by W. L. Gregory, R. B. Cialdini, and K. M. Carpenter, 1982, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 89-99.

Table 1 shows participants’ responses to the questionnaire. Participants had to answer the questions using a scale. There was no significant difference between conditions with regards to whether participants believed that cable television would become popular, and this was expected, because the experiment was not manipulating perceptions of others’ behaviour.

Table 1 also shows that participants in the ‘imagine’ condition gave significantly higher responses than those in the ‘information’ condition with regards to how likely they were to want CATV (mean = 5.26 and 3.83 respectively), their positive attitude towards it (mean = 5.55 and 4.59 respectively), how likely they were to ask for further details about it (mean = 4.63 and 3.46 respectively), and how likely they would be to subscribe to the service (mean = 4.53 and 3.37 respectively).

There was no significant difference between conditions in participants’ knowledge of cable television before interacting with the experimenter, and there was no significant difference in their opinion of cable television as a result of any previous knowledge, which rules out these two variables as a confounding factor.



Note. From “Self-relevant scenarios as mediators of likelihood estimates and compliance: Does imagining make it so?” by W. L. Gregory, R. B. Cialdini, and K. M. Carpenter, 1982, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 89-99.

Table 2 shows participants’ behavioural responses. Participants had been given a postcard when the experimenter first visited them, which could be returned to request more details about the service. There was no significant difference between conditions in whether participants did this. Two to six weeks after being visited by the experimenter, participants were contacted to find out whether they would like to accept a free week of the service, and whether they would like to subscribe to the service. A significantly higher proportion of those in the ‘imagine’ condition than the ‘information’ condition accepted the free week (65.8% and 41.5% respectively) and subscribed to the service (47.4% and 19.5% respectively).

This study indicates that using imagination as a persuasive technique is more effective at convincing customers of a product’s benefits and encouraging them to purchase it than simply providing information about the product.

References

Gregory, W. L., Cialdini, R. B., & Carpenter, K. M. (1982). Self-relevant scenarios as mediators of likelihood estimates and compliance: Does imagining make it so? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 89-99.
HiFi Cinema (2012). Multi-room systems. Retrieved from http://www.hificinema.co.uk/entertainment-solutions/multi-room-systems/

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