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, February 25, 2016

Cut The Coke!

* De Koning, L., Malik, V. S., Kellogg, M. D., Rimm, E. B., Willett, W. C., & Hu, F. B. (2012). Sweetened beverage consumption, incident coronary heart disease, and biomarkers of risk in men. Circulation, 125(14), 1735-1741.

** Schulze, M. B., Manson, J. E., Ludwig, D. S., Colditz, G. A., Stampfer, M. J., Willett, W. C., & Hu, F. B. (2004). Sugar-sweetened beverages, weight gain, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in young and middle-aged women. Jama, 292(8), 927-934.

***Mueller, N. T., Odegaard, A., Anderson, K., Yuan, J. M., Gross, M., Koh, W. P., & Pereira, M. A. (2010). Soft drink and juice consumption and risk of pancreatic cancer: the Singapore Chinese Health Study. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, 19(2), 447-455.

A variety of persuasion techniques were used in this image, such as; authority influence through the phrase “It's a Doctors order”, utilising factual information, and fear.

Studies have shown that people are more likely to obey and be persuaded by someone who is perceived to have authority. For example, Bickman (1974) showed that participants were more prone to be influenced into certain behaviours if the person instructing them was perceived to have higher levels of authority. Furthermore, this decision heuristic has also been highlighted in studies by Milgram (1963), and Hofling (1966); in which an imposter posing as a doctor had a 95% compliance rate when giving false advice to nurses.

The above image utilises the statement from a doctor in order to capitalise on the effects of the rule of authority on persuasion. Additionally, using statistics and factual information give the advertisement credibility.

These facts also evoke fearful emotions in readers. Emotional responses are a primary drive within advertising and persuasion. For example, Becheur et al. (2007), found that advertisements which causes emotional responses (fear, shame and guilt) were effective in persuading young people to change behaviours in anti-alcohol campaigns. Furthermore, Karpinsky (2014) found that fearful messages were successful in influencing attitudes and behaviours.


BĂ©cheur, I., Dib, H., Merunka, D., & Valette-Florence, P. (2007). Emotions of fear, guilt or shame in anti-alcohol messages: measuring direct effects on persuasion and the moderating role of sensation seeking. In The 2007 European Conference of the Association for Consumer Research.

Bickman, L. (1974). The social power of a uniform. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 4(1), 47-61.

Hofling, C. K., Brotzman, E., Dalrymple, S., Graves, N. & Bierce, C. (1966). An experimental study of nurse-physician relations. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 143, 171-180.
Karpinsky, N. D. (2014). Do Fear Appeals Increase Persuasion? Influence of Loss-Versus Gain-Framed Diversity Messages. 2014 NCUR.

Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral study of obedience. The Journal of abnormal and social psychology, 67(4), 371.

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