11/13/2013 3:57:00 PM
Message: Using Fear
Yale attitude approach; considerations about the communicator ->
are they attractive? An expert?
Then considerations of the message
Then considerations of the audience
Difference between manipulation, education, persuasion?
Janis and feshback (1953): brush your teeth or else!
o People randomly exposed to 1 of 3 messages:
Neutral (no fear)
Moderate fear (gum disease, tooth decay)
High fear (“not brushing can lead to diseased gums,
which lead to arthritic paralysis or blindness”)
NEUTRAL condition worked best!!! Why?
Fear control! (avoid message; will brushing
your teeth really avoid blindness? Distance
yourself because you cannot cope, there’s
nothing you can do)
Dabs and leventhal: get a tetanus shot!
o People randomly exposed to 1 of 3 messages
low fear (you should get a tetanus shot)
moderate fear (tetanus is not serious but painful)
high fear (tetanus will kill you)
HIGH FEAR condition worked best!!! Why?
Danger control! Take action (get the shot =
free and clear)
DANGER control or FEAR control
o Danger -> save yourself
o Fear -> reduce anxiety
Is there a recommended action and can it prevent
YES -> control danger (take action)
NO -> control fear (avoid message)
Yale Attitude Change Approach
Source of communication Nature of communication
Nature of audience
Matching of message to attitude
Cognitive attitude, use rational arguments to persuade
o Politically inclined, thinking rationally about the policies of
country, you will be most responsive to someone who comes
after you with policy arguments
Affective attitude, use emotional appeals
o Maximize persuasion
Cognitive VS. Affective
o Utilitarian products
Appliances, car insurance
Ads on price/spec
o Social identity products
Perfume, designer products (ipod, macbook)
Ads on youth/sex
Strategies of Persuasion
Common techniques to know and resist!
A modest request is followed by a larger one
Works due to changes in people’s self-perception
An outrageous initial request is followed by a more
Works due to the reciprocity principle (short-
lived) -> what you do for me, I do for you
A very favourable deal is followed by additional
demands after a commitment has been made That’s-not-all!
The offer is improved before any reply is given
Cialdini et al. 1975: door in the face
o 1 request: volunteer in a youth detention centre?
o 2 ndrequest: chaperone a school trip to the zoo?
Freedman and fraser 1966: foot in the door
o 1 request: sign petition or not
o 2 request: would you be willing to put up a large sign on
your lawn – “drive carefully”
THESE PATTERNS OF RESUTLS ARE THE SAME AND YOU WILL GET
THE SAME EFFECT BUT THE DIFFERENCE IS WHETHER THEY ARE
SHORT OR LONG LIVED AND THE MECHANISMS USED
You eat a cupcake, but you also want to be healthy!
Ways to reduce dissonance
Change attitude to be consistent with behaviour
o You ate the cupcake, specified that being healthy is important
“I don’t really need to be on a diet” -> stress that it is
Add consonant cognitions
o Thoughts that are consistent with the behaviour; how can you
rethink what you’ve done to make it consistent with your
values or goals
“chocolate cupcakes are very nutritious”
Change your perception of he behaviour
o Make it so the behaviour isn’t as bad as you think it is
“I only ate 5 cupcakes today. Yesterday I ate 12.”
Reduce perceived choice
o “I had no other choice, my friend made the cupcakes. I
couldn’t give them away!”
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
Festinger and carlsmith 1959 o Participants asked to perform dull task (moving pegs on a
board); when finished they had to leave the experiment but
had to tell the next participant that the last task was a lot of
fun; at end of experiment they were either paid 20$ or 1$ ->