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, March 6, 2015

Pilot 4 Welfare! ;)

[I promise this is the last time you have to see me using 'Pilot 4 Welfare!', Well done Luke!]

During week 8 of term 2 many of us were involved in campaigning for our friend Luke Pilot to become elected as the Welfare and Campaigns Officer (2015/16). As well as producing posters and distributing flyers around campus, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter were used. A few examples of the tweets are shown above. They all involve the phrase 'Pilot 4 Welfare'. This phrase was used in approximately all tweets and most facebook statuses.The technique used was Repetition of a Message which would convince fellow students to vote for Luke. This can occur through the mere exposure effect. This effect suggests students would increase their liking for Luke as Welfare Officer due to the repetition and exposure of 'Pilot 4 Welfare' (Zajonc,1968).

One of the Zajonc (1968), experiments demonstrated the mere exposure effect involving Chinese characters. Participants were under the assumption that research was being conducted on learning a foreign language. These characters used were actually meaningless but participants were asked to pay close attention when exposed to them. Experimenters adjusted the frequency of the characters so participants had a low or high frequency of exposure. Finally participants were asked to rate each character on a good - bad scale. The figure below highlights that an exposure effect was found for all but one character. For 11/12 characters the higher the frequency, the higher the rating of goodness. So the more participants were exposed, a greater meaning of goodness was assumed. In comparison to those characters exposed to them less frequently. Their meaning of goodness was assumed to be less.

Figure 1: Average rated effective connotation of Chinese-like characters exposed with low and high frequencies.

In conclusion the results from the experiment suggest that by exposing students frequently, through the repetition of a phrase ('Pilot 4 Welfare'). They will be more likely to think and rate Luke higher and as the best candidate for Welfare Officer. In comparison to the others, who they may have been exposed to less frequently.Overall resulting in their vote being placed for Luke. 

Zajonc, R. B. (1968). Attitudinal effects of mere exposure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 9, 1-27.

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