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, January 31, 2013

National Geographic Channel

This was produced by the National Geographic Channel in order to encourage the audience to watch their channel.  The advert is very simple with interesting facts and makes you want to read to the end.

This advert uses the negativity effect.  It states that “you only have one fifth of your life actually to live”.   This is shocking to the audience and can make them have a negative view on life as the adverts tells them they are using four fifths of their lives doing the other mundane tasks stated. 

Research has shown that messages which produce a negative effect are more persuasive and influential compared to those which result in positive effects (Anderson, 1965; Hamilton & Huffman, 1971).  

Rozin and Royzman (2001) proposed 4 types of negativity bias in their review of the negativity effect which can explain the greater importance of negative information.  One of these is “Negative Potency”.  The authors suggest that negative potency asserts that the negative event/information is subjectively more potent and of higher salience than its positive counterpart. With regard to this advert, it suggests that the negative information received in this advert, overrides the positive aspects and so people take more notice of the negative information of only having a fifth of life to live and thus should watch the National Geographic Channel.  Their review concluded that this tendency may be innate in humans.

Anderson, N. H. (1965). Averaging vs. adding as a stimulus-combination rule in impression formation. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 70, 394-400.

Hamilton, D.L., & Huffman, L.F. (1971). Generality of impression-formation processes for evaluative and non-evaluative judgments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 20, 200-207.

Rozin, P. & Royzman, E. (2001). Negativity Bias, Negativity Dominance, and Contagion. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 4, 296-320.

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