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

Switch to Probiotic cheese!!

The advertisement here is intended to suggest to the reader to start eating probiotic cheese. Here probiotic is defined as meaning: ‘Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host’, (FAO/WHO, 2002). While there are plenty of other probiotic dairy products on the shelves, such as yoghurts, probiotic cheese is something of a rarity due to the processes involved, (da Cruz et al, 2009). The study cited on the poster states the most common benefits of probiotic dairy products, (Weichselbaum, 2010).

The poster utilised two behaviour changing techniques. The first is that of hypocrisy reduction, whereby someone is reminded of an ideal behaviour, and then asked to reflect on an element of their behaviour that contradicts this behaviour. An example of this is brought forward by Fried and Aronson, (1995), who suggested that hypocrisy causes cognitive dissonance, and people feel discomfort as a result. The technique is applied here in that people are reminded that they try to have a healthy diet, something generally most people see to be aspirational, and are than asked why they still have a certain type of food, in this case non-probiotic cheese, which immediately contrasts it to a healthy diet. The idea is to create a dissonance between the idea of a healthy diet and eating normal cheese, which can immediately be rectified with the solution presented below.

The second is the use of the rhetorical question. Under the cognitive framework analysis, rhetorical questions used as opposed to a statement can increase the effectiveness of the message as it is personal to the reader, and the argument is generally pretty weak, rather than being a full research paper for instance. Under these conditions the rhetorical question would disrupt a more complicated message, but is made more effective because of its simplicity, (Petty, Cacioppo & Heesacker, 1981).

da Cruz, A. G., Buriti, F. C. A., de Souza, C. H. B., Faria, J. A. F., & Saad, S. M. I. (2009). Probiotic cheese: health benefits, technological and stability aspects. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 20(8), 344-354.

Fried, C. B., & Aronson, E. (1995). Hypocrisy, misattribution, and dissonance reduction. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21(9), 925-933.

Joint FAO/WHO Working Group. (2002). Guidelines for the evaluation of probiotics in food. London: World Health Organization, ON, Canada: Food and Agriculture Organization.

Petty, R. E., Cacioppo, J. T., & Heesacker, M. (1981). Effects of rhetorical questions on persuasion: A cognitive response analysis. Journal of personality and social psychology, 40(3), 432.

Weichselbaum, E. (2010). Potential benefits of probiotics–main findings of an in-depth review. British Journal of Community Nursing, 15(3), 110-112.

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