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, April 27, 2016

Mindfulness Matters

For our project we created a Facebook page, 'Mindfulness Matters', to persuade followers to start practicing Mindfulness. Research has shown mindfulness to be effective in many areas, particularly in reducing stress (Brown & Ryan, 2003; Khoury et al., 2013). As university can be a highly stressful time for many people, we felt that educating people on how to practice mindfulness would equip them with the appropriate tools to prevent and deal with stressful periods.

Various tips and posts relating to the topic of mindfulness were posted on this page. Through this page we managed to reach 79 Facebook users and shared useful information about mindfulness with them, which could help them incorporate it into their own lives. 

We also used this page to publicise an upcoming even at the University of Warwick library. This event included a meditation session and a talk about mindfulness which both relate to the stress-release exercises that we previously suggested on our page. We shared the event and promoted it on our page, encouraging students to go and participate in the sessions targeted at reducing anxiety and helping students cope with stress. We had permission from the library staff to do so. 

To promote awareness of mindfulness, we created posters which were then stuck up at the University of Warwick library. As is shown above, the poster features an image of celebrity actress, Emma Watson. Our reason for using her image was so that we could increase compliance for mindfulness use through the celebrity endorsement effect. Celebrity endorsement has been shown to increase compliance (Erdogan, 1999) as people often associate perceived characteristics (e.g. likability and attractiveness) of the celebrity with the product (or in this case, mindfulness) being advertised, thus making it more desirable for the audience. 

Along with the posters, we also stuck up a sign up sheet, which encouraged people to sign and publicly show their commitment to mindfulness by agreeing to take 2 minutes out of their day to just focus on themselves and their breathing. This was aimed at reducing their stress and anxiety and to help them feel more positive. The sign up sheet makes use of the 'foot-in-the-door' technique (Freedman & Fraser, 1966), which suggests that if someone agrees to a small request then they will be more likely to agree to a subsequent larger request. 
By asking them to comply to a small request of trying out a mindfulness technique for 2 minutes, we hoped that our audience would be more likely to try out mindfulness properly for an extended period of time on their, although we did not measure this. This also incorporates the principle of consistency (Petrova, Cialdini & Sills, 2007), as we hope that people will be more likely to try out mindfulness in the future having signed up and committed to this two minute trial, to remain consistent with their previous behaviour. 


Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The benefits of being present: mindfulness and its role 
in psychological well-being. Journal of personality and social psychology, 84, 822.

Erdogan, B. Z. (1999). Celebrity endorsement: A literature review. Journal of marketing management, 15, 291 - 314. 

Freedman, J. L., & Fraser, S. C. (1966). Compliance without pressure: the foot-in-the-door technique. Journal of personality and social psychology, 4, 195. 

Khoury, B., Lecomte, T., Fortin, G., Masse, M., Therien, P., Bouchard, V., ... & Hofmann, S. G. (2013). Mindfulness-based therapy: A comprehensive meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 33, 763-771.

Pretrova, P. K., Cialdini, R. B., & Sills, S. J. (2007). Consistency-based compliance across cultures. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43, 104-111. 

Navina Gandhi
Rebecca Rooney
Liam Ward
Florence Cambridge 

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