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.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rich Inner Substance

‘Rich inner substance’

With the forced industrialization of Communism in the USSR, drinking became a cultural dilemma. A series of anti-drinking posters were consequently used to campaign to reduce the consumption of alcohol.

The present image slices the face in half to reveal the inside of the head being formed from bottles of alcohol with a smiling face on the side. The poster uses a metaphor of ‘those who drink are made up of alcohol’ and uses the words of ‘rich inner substance’ (Russian translated into English) suggesting now your identity is formed from alcohol; trying to make you feel guilty for doing this as it’s taking over who you are as a person.

This is an example of a social trap where the immediate behaviour of an individual produces a small immediate positive outcome but later results in a far worse negative one. It’s clearly shown on the poster; the smiling face indicates the initial happiness from having a drink but the bottles inside the head portray the long term negative effect.

The classic example of a social trap by Cross and Guyer (1980) is the tragedy of the commons: each person brings a cow to graze at a grassland (small positive outcome), but the combined effect is that the grassland is destroyed through over grazing (long term negative outcome). The modern day example uses global warming. It occurs as individuals benefit themselves by driving but as more people do so they cause pollutants to be released into the atmosphere causing global warming.

Cross, J. G., & Guyer, M. J. (1980). Social Traps. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice and novel. This is good. Hardin was one of the first individuals to really popularize the concept of the tragedy of the commons. Hardin, G. (1968). "The Tragedy of the Commons". Science 162 (3859): 1243–1248, but I imagine that Cross and Guyer may be a better place to look for more evidence of these kinds of social traps.


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