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.

Friday, March 13, 2015

You are the kindest of them all...

* Person 1 sitting on the bus when Person 2 approaches her and sits next to her*

After some polite conversation..

Person 2: Oh by the way, have you had a chance to look at my 'justgiving' page?
Person 1: Yes I have. You're doing a great job!
Person 2: Haha, thank you! Are you quite interested in raising money?
Person 1: I've never had the motivation to do it.
Person 2: Surely a person like you doesn't need motivation! You are always looking out for people and doing your best for them. I have heard so much about how great and kind you are.
Person 1: Oh please, people just say that.
Person 2: No no, they wouldn't talk about you so highly if it weren't true. A person like you would be fantastic at raising money and awareness. 
Person 1: I just wish i had the push to do it. It takes a significant amount of time.
Person 2:  Yes this is true. You could always help me out, you know. Or other fund raisers. At the end of the day, each penny counts!
Person 1: Haha, yes it does seem like the easier option while helping out. Send me the link to your page again. It'll be easier for me to find it.

...Continued with another conversation

Above is an example of 'The Helping Label (Manded Altercast). Here, Person 2 labelled Person 1 with the helping label by complimenting her kindness and giving nature. Thus labeling her as a pro social person. Person 1 had already seen the fund raising website and could have given money then and there if she really wanted to help. The one thing that changed between her seeing the website before and her asking for the link to donate again was the conversation she had with the fund raiser. In this conversation, she was meant to believe that people see her as a kind considerate person who would be able to fund raise efficiently due to her her helping nature. Such a belief instilled a feeling of responsibility to keep up to her perceived qualities and she was finally convinced to donate money.

Strenta and DeJong (1981) performed a study where they found the same results. Participants completed a fake personality test and randomly received one of four types of feedback:
a) Prosocial label - more kind and thoughtful
b) Intelligent label - more intelligent
c) Salience label
d) Control label - no feedback

Participants then saw a confederate who dropped a large pile of cards while walking behind them. It was found that people randomly assigned to the prosocial label were more likely to help the confederate than the others. 

They measured four different conditions:
1) The proportion of subjects helping
2)The number of cards picked up
3) The latency to helping
4) The amount of time spent helping

This is seen in
the table below:


Participants in the proposal label condition helped the confederate significantly more than participants int he other conditions, F(1,52) = 4.48, p < .04.
Thus this shows how person 1 was convinced to donate just by making apparent how prosocial she is as a person. 


Strenta, A., & DeJong, W. (1981). The effect of a prosocial label on helping behaviour. Social Psychology Quarterly, 44, 142-147. 

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