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, March 3, 2016

Reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and diabetes in South Asians


This ad is designed to encourage members of the South Asian community to change their diet, which typically comprises a lot of saturated fats and sugar, as they are at a higher risk for certain health conditions. It uses 2 persuasive techniques:
Fear appeal
  • It creates fear by linking a desired behaviour (eating healthier) with avoidance of a negative outcome (heart disease and diabetes). The fear emotion creates a wish to avoid the danger. It has proved to be effective in changing behaviour when the appeal arouses intense fear, offers specific recommendations to overcome the fear, and the target believes they can perform the recommendation (Maddux & Rogers, 1983). Therefore, I have included specific, doable tips to overcome the fear, so the ad should be effective in adopting that course of action of eating healthier. I also added images of what happens to the arteries in coronary heart disease, to try to make the fear more intense.
  • Rogers' (1975) protection motivation theory also proposes that a crucial component of a fear appeal is the probability of the noxious event occurring, which initiates corresponding cognitive appraisal processes that mediate attitude change. Thus, I included statistics to give an indication of the likelihood of developing coronary heart disease and diabetes.
  • I incorporated the experts opinions to make the source of the message seem more credible. Hovland, Janis and Kelly (1953) found that expert and trustworthy sources were more effective in securing persuasion, compared to communicators lacking expertise and trust. They suggested that people want to hold a correct attitude, and relying on a trustworthy expert is rewarding in terms of meeting this goal.
Hovland, C., Janis, I., & Kelley, H. (1953). Communication and persuasion; psychological studies of opinion change. New Haven, CT: US.
Maddux, J. E., & Rogers, R. W. (1983). Protection motivation and self-efficacy: A revised theory of fear appeals and attitude change. Journal of experimental social psychology, 19, 469-479.
Rogers, R. W. (1975). A protection motivation theory of fear appeals and attitude change. The journal of psychology, 91, 93-114.

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