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.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Want a healthy heart? Drink alcohol!

The main aim of this advertisement is to try to promote the benefits of drinking alcohol, and encourage people to drink alcohol moderately as researchers have found that drinking small amounts of alcohol regularly may reduce risks of heart attacks and heart failures.

This advertisement has included multiple persuasion techniques, mostly based the peripheral route of persuasion suggested by Petty and Cacioppo's Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) (1986). According to ELM, the peripheral route of persuasion  focuses on factors that are not directly related to the message, such as, attractiveness and clothing (Rowley, 1997).

A female wearing a doctor's uniform, and the word expert are used as researchers have suggested that the credibility and expertise of the person who delivers the argument is very important in determining how persuasive the argument is. Source expertise is found to be especially significant in influencing the persuasiveness of quantitative info (the fact about drinkers are 21% less likely than non-drinkers to experience heart conditions) when presented as a peripheral cue (Artz and Tybout, 1999).

The female chosen is also be considered to be physically attractive, and her physical attractiveness is also one of the determinants of the persuasiveness of the argument. It has been found that the strength of the argument does not affect persuasiveness if the deliverer of the argument is highly attractive (Pallak, 1983).

Rhetorical questions:
The use of rhetorical questions (where the answer is implicit within the question) as the start allowed the advertisement to grab the audiences' attention and have the audiences focus their attention on the topic (in this case, drinking moderately). It has been found that rhetorical questions elicit judgement from people on the specific topic. Relevant information is also found to be crucial for judgement to be made (Howard, 1990). However, when topic is of high personal relevance (which it is in this case as everyone are prone to risks of heart conditions), arguments can be made more persuasive by rhetorical questions if they are weak, hence only small amount of facts are provided and only facts that support the arguments are provided (Petty et al., 1981).

Gémes, K., Janszky, I., Ahnve, S., László, K. D., Laugsand, L. E., Vatten, L. J., Mukamal, K. J. (2016). Light-to-moderate drinking and incident heart failure - the norwegian hunt study. International Journal of Cardiology, 203, 553-560

Artz, N., Tybout, A. M. (1999). The moderating impact of quantitative information on the relationship between source credibility and persuasion: a persuasion knowledge model interpretation. Marketing Letters, 10, 51-62

Howard, D. J. (1990). Rhetorical question effects on message processing and persuasion: the role of information availability and the elicitation of judgement. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 26, 217-239

Pallak, S. R. (1983). Salience of communicator's physical attractiveness and persuasion: a heuristic versus systematic processing interpretation. Social Cognition, 2, 158-170

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, 432-440

Rowley, M. W. (1997). Channel and multiple sources: an examination of the effects of peripheral cues in persuasion. 

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