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.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Flying Scared

This EasyJet Advert plays down aerophobia by challenging individuals’ fear of flying and the relative irrationality We all know at least one person that’s scared to step foot on an aeroplane and we may have even encountered individuals who actually allow this to prevent them from flying. On first reflection this fear doesn’t seem irrational after all plane crash mortality rates are very high. However what the fear fails to take into account is the rarity of the event in itself. Aerophobia (the fear of flying) as we know it is a prime example of the availability heuristic which refers to how individuals equate the probability or frequency of an event with how easily thoughts of the event come to mind. Statistically road travel is 100 times more dangerous than air travel however nobody seems to fair road travel in the same way. This is probably mainly down to how aeroplane disasters are reported in the media as in the rare instances that they do occur. The research of Schwarz, Bless, Strack, Klump, Rittenauer-Schatke and Simons (1991) found that the ease of events retrieval contributed heavily to participants’ notions of the implications of the event. This highlights the impact that the media can have on individuals’ perception of air disaster because in this rare event the coverage surrounding the disaster can last for extended periods therefore making the examples more prevalent in the memory.
Schwarz, N., Bless, H., Strack, F., Klumpp, G., Rittenauer-Schatka, H., & Simons, A. (1991). Ease of retrieval as information: Another look at the availability heuristic. Journal of Personality and Social psychology61(2), 195.

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