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.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

All the celebrities are doing it!

This work of creative genius is an example of how celebrities can sell us just about anything due to the high status altercast. Ranveer Singh is a popular Hindi actor and so holds a high status position within Indian society (where this advert was released). Ranveer's high status casts the viewers of this advert into an admirer role, which means they aspire to be like Ranveer. So if Ranveer says he not only uses durex condoms, but loves using durex condoms to the point of singing and dancing about it, his admiring public will be persuaded that they are worth using as well.

 Lefkowitz, Blake and Mouton (1955) conducted the classic study into people's tendency to emanate the behaviour of high status figures using the example of jaywalking. They found that members of the public were more likely to violate a crossing restriction when they saw someone (a confederate) in a suit and tie (high status) violating the restriction than when they saw someone wearing denim (low status) violating it - these results are summarised in table 1 of their original article, which can be found below. Under the coloumn labelled 'violating' (referring to their violation of the rules against jaywalking), it can be seen that when the status of the confederate was high, there was more violation.  This would suggest that people's behaviour is more influenced by the behaviour of those they see as holding a high status than those they see as holding a low status. And so, when a high status actor such as Ranveer Singh reveals his contraceptive habits, the public are more likely to follow suit.

 Lefkowitz, M., Blake, R. R., Mouton, J. S. (1955). Status factors in pedestrian violation of traffic signals. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 51, 704-706.

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