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.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The new superfood; Kale


This advertisement is targeting the increasing idea of “superfoods” in particular, kale. The advertisement has been created to include a variety of influential techniques, to persuade people to engage in this new food trend.
The striking image in this advertisement is that of an attractive woman holding kale. Using an attractive model to persuade people to eat kale employs the “beauty is good” effect. This effect suggests that people who were perceived attractive possess desirable qualities. In this example, the attractive model supports eating kale. Dion et al (1972), experimentally examined the “beauty is good” effect in college students. Students came into a lab and were presented with three faces: One attractive, one averagely attractive and one unattractive. Using a booklet, participants had to record their impression of each photo to measure 7 traits, such as the social and professional happiness of the stimuli. Across all traits, attractive stimulus received a higher number than the unattractive stimulus for example, the attractive stimulus person received a rating of 6.37 for social and professional happiness, compared to the unattractive person stimulus who received 5.28. Table 1 presents the other traits explored and their rating for each stimulus. The results of this study suggest how participants attribute positive traits towards attractive stimuli compared to unattractive stimuli.



The statement and question: “We’re with Kale. Are you?” employs two persuasion techniques. Firstly, Hatfield and Clark (1989), found that if you would like someone to comply with a request by simply asking. Even when a question is not directed in a gender specific way, you can achieve a 50% compliance rate. For example, if a male or female asked the opposite gender to go on a date the compliance rate was 50%. The second technique used proposes the idea of ingroup/ outgroup membership by saying “We’re with kale.” By saying “we’re” it suggests to the audience multiple people have already started to engage in eating kale. The aim here is to encourage people to identify with the people who already eat kale.
Finally, adding in information at the bottom about the increased risk of heart disease without kale in your diet has been used a fear technique to persuade people to invest in kale. Tannenhaum (2013) conducted a meta-analysis of using fear in research, a final of 132 papers were included. The papers used included a variety of health domains for example: oral health, HIV, smoking, drug and alcohol abuse. Looking at the results of the research when treatment groups received induced fear a positive linear relationship was found between the use of fear and improved behavioural outcome. Including an efficacy message which was achievable by participants, in this case asking the audience if they can eat more kale to prevent heart disease, also increased positive behaviour change alongside using the fear appeal.

References:
Dion, K., Berscheid, E., & Walster, E. (1972). What is beautiful is good. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 24(3), 285-290. 
Hatfield, E., & Clark, R. D. (1989). Gender differences in receptivity to sexual offers. Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, 2, 39-55.
Tannenbaum, M. (2013). Do scare tactics work? A meta-analytic test of fear appeal theories. Psychologicalscience. org.
Yang, Q., Liu, T., Kakluna, V. E., Flanders, D., Hong, Y & Gillespie, C. (2011). Sodium and potassium intake and monitoring among US adults. Prospective data from the 3rd national health and nutirion examination survey. Archive of Internal Medicine, 171, 1183-1191. (Figures quoted in the advertisement). 

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