Iconocast Logo
News Logo

The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is Reason (Thomas Paine)

Internet Marketing through logic and reason for persuasion; UX Design that removes Resistance

We will cover the complete list of strategies for UX Design and Branding on this page. Selling and marketing is in fact the art of logical persuasion. In this page we also outline the recent theories and research findings in the field of psychology and logical persuasion. The bulk of research does not focus on how to persuade. Rather, the focus is on how to remove resistance with logic and reason.

Logical persuasion is often discussed under a focus on social problems (e.g., tobacco uptake and use, alcohol abuse, use of illegal and often dangerous substances, engaging in high-risk behaviors of various and sundry kinds). Increasingly, the study of logical persuasion is taking an applied turn toward attempting to change attitudes and behaviors in real time and among large segments of the population. Millions of dollars from special taxes and court settlements have been spent to target young people who are most susceptible to tobacco uptake and use.

Resistance to persuasion is not simply the inverse of persuasion. That is, resistance is not necessarily the same thing as not being persuaded. We define resistance to persuasion as a motivated state in which the goal is to withstand the effect of persuasive communication weather it is logical or emotional. Resistance hounds persuasion the way friction frustrates motion.

Most Importnat is the Effect of Positive Mood

In a study, positive mood participants won $1.00 in an allegedly random lottery, while neutral mood participants were simply asked whether or not they had participated in a lottery. All participants then read a message about acid rain containing either strong or weak arguments that was attributed to either an expert or nonexpert source. The results indicated that, relative to the neutral mood participants, those in the positive mood condition recalled fewer arguments. Overall, the evidence suggested that positive mood dampened systematic processing. From these and other findings the researchers concluded that positive moods consume cognitive capacity, thereby constraining participants' ability to engage in systematic message processing. By contrast, a negative mood gives notice that something is amiss. The individual should, therefore, devote cognitive resources to an analysis of the environment, including the persuasive message.

Here are some of the strategies that might apply to UX Design, Websites and Internet Marketing. Of course some of these strategies will apply to your website and some may not.

1) First, we examine the pulse of society, the current beliefs and attitude. For example the current attitude in the case of Health websites is Healthy Living and Healthy Eating.

2) We usually design websites with these three powerful components: affective, cognitive and behavioral. This tripartite model applies the concepts of "I like it", "I believe it", and "I will buy it".

3) We confirm the visitor autonomy, freedom by creating motivational pages that reasserts such freedom (car manufacturers do these really well by the fact that a car can make you more free).

4) We give the visitor other choices and solutions.

5) We make our health message indirect, legitimate, subtle and delicate.

6) We do not give a message to change, influential, and offensive that the visitors become defensive or argumentative.

Theory Detail: the theory of reactance was among the first to suggest that any message aimed at changing one's current attitudes and behaviors might, in fact, be perceived as a threat to freedom, whether in the best interest of the intended persuadee or not. When people perceive that freedoms are being threatened, psychological reactance is claimed to result. This reactance can result in a variety of responses including simply ignoring the persuasive attempt, derogating the source, and even producing even more of the undesired behaviors as a means of demonstrating choice or restoring attitudinal freedom. People do not appreciate being told how they should behave, especially in areas where they feel it is simply no one else's business.

7) By providing the visitor unbiased information, we allow the visitor to know all the sides and/or even to disagree with us.

8) We have strong arguments that justify and compel actions.

9) We have done our best to increase the site credibility and trust building. We have asked expert and Doctors to answer emails and visitor questions. We provide the source of our herbs and the book that these sources were published.

10) We provide consensus information.

11) We emphasize the scarcity of and the significance of the product or service we might offer.

12) We emphasize consistency, commitments, fighting what is not justice, and sticking with good principles.

13) We engage in a norm of Reciprocity and Consultancy.

14) We use narratives to make sure the visitor knows how to use the product (see the section called "How I cured myself"). This strategy is very powerful and very effective. Let us examine this further:

Why might narrative persuasion strategies be especially suited to overcoming resistance?

We believe that there are two general means by which narratives might overcome resistance, each of which reflects a variety of specific processes. First, narratives may overcome resistance by reducing the amount and effectiveness of counterarguing or logical consideration of the message. Second, narratives may overcome resistance by increasing identification with characters in the story.

Theory Detail: Narratives should reduce counterarguing in a number of ways. First, narratives may overcome biased processing in response to counter-attitudinal messages. When presented with a communication advocating a position with which we do not agree, there is a tendency to ignore the message, counterargue the information, or belittle the source.

Also, the structure of narratives may impede forewarning of a counterattitudinal message. A story often unfolds with some degree of suspense-it is not always clear what situation might next befall a protagonist or how that protagonist will react to it. "Predictable" is commonly used as a criticism in popular film reviews. Studies have shown that individuals avoid attending to intonation that is incongruent with their existing attitudes.

Narratives are often concerned with relating the life experiences of other people, be they real or fictional. As Slater (2002) suggested, it may be especially difficult to counterargue the lived experiences of another real or fictional person. Although one might be able to argue against hypothetical examples ("That would never happen"), it is much more difficult to argue against another's "real" experiences as conveyed in a narrative. It is true that the experiences of fictional characters are not real. However, experiences of fictional characters that are construed as being plausible may be equally difficult to refute. As Green and Brock (2002) have noted, plausibility seems to be the yardstick by which we measure truth-the implausible must be untrue, regardless of whether it is fact or fiction, whereas the plausible, if not true, at least could be.

Narrative also differs from rhetoric in the way that messages are communicated. Whereas the aim of advocacy is to present clear, logical, specific arguments, the aim of narrative is to tell a story. In a narrative, beliefs are often implied as opposed to stated explicitly. This may inhibit counterarguing because it leaves the reader with no specific arguments to refute.

If narrative messages are less threatening than comparable rhetoric, then we may have a very powerful persuasive tool at our disposal. (Zanna, 1993) has argued that resistance should result when listeners are faced with arguments that support an attitudinal position that falls outside their latitude of acceptance. That is, people have some degree of "wiggle room"-a latitude of acceptance-around their attitudes (see Sherif & Hovland, 1'961). The latitude of acceptance can vary in size, from very narrow (indicating a fairly rigid attitudinal position) to very wide (indicating a more flexible attitudinal position). On either side of the latitude of acceptance lie 1atitudes of rejection-attitudinal positions that are unacceptable or objectionable because they are considered too extreme. Consider the following example: People hold very different opinions on gay rights. On one end of the spectrum one finds those who feel that gay and lesbian relationships should not be recognized as legitimate, or indeed, should be outlawed.

Thus, narratives may indeed be useful in overcoming resistance by reducing negative thoughts associated with the persuasive message. In addition, we argue that narratives may also function by increasing positive thoughts about a behavior or an attitude object. This would be especially true if a liked protagonist behaves in a particular way or endorses a particular attitude, creating a positive association with the action or thc attitude. Identifying with a story character may result in persuasion in a number of ways.

We know from research on rhetorical persuasion that a liked source can be more persuasive under conditions in which it is more difficult to process arguments (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). We have already suggested some reasons why narratives, by their very nature, may limit the desire and ability to scrutinize messages, In addition, many narratives are visual presentations (e.g., film and television) in which the speed of the message is controlled, and this has implications for persuasion. Chaiken and Eagly (1983) found that a likeable source was more persuasive when the speed of exposure to rhetorical messages was forced (i.e., when presented on audio or video tape) than when the participants were allowed to self-pace the speed of exposure (i.e., when the same message was presented in written form). Therefore, it seems highly plausible that liking for a protagonist might be an important mediator of persuasion in the narrative context, especially when exposure is not self-paced.

Thus, the narrative context may be especially suited to overcoming resistance to persuasion. We believe the power of narratives lies in reducing the amount and effectiveness of counterarguing and through identification with narrative characters that leads to positive associations with specific beliefs and behaviors.

15) Let the visitor imagine the future.

Viagra ads do this very effectivley.

16) Positive Thinking

Theory in Detail: Everyone, lay people and social psychologists alike, knows that "strong" arguments are more persuasive than "weak" arguments. If we take the strong versus weak contrast at face value, strong arguments induce persuasion but weak arguments do not. Put another way, presumably, persuaders who present cogent, rational arguments achieve the desired effect, whereas specious arguments fail to persuade. By this interpretation, weak arguments induce resistance in message recipients, who maintain their initial views and are not swayed.

The basic thrust of our view is that the persuasive impact of argument quality, as it has been operationalized, is much less about logic than it is about valence. That is, persuasion is more about suggesting good rather than bad consequences (valence) for the message recipient than it is about creating impeccably logical-a.k.a truthful or likely argumental. Much of this work supports the conclusion that the-valence of actively generated cognitive responses to a message underlies persuasion: When the valence of these thoughts is positive (i.e.; good consequences for the message recipient) then persuasion is likely to occur, but if the thoughts are negative there is evidence of true resistance sticking to one's guns.

When resistance as a motivation is operating, individuals will do whatever it takes to prevent change.

17) Sidestep resistance. Most people sense that the most effective strategy to use on resistance is not to raise it in the first place. There are a variety of things one can do to sidestep resistance.

18) Redefine the relationship. Jolson (1997) instructed salespeople to avoid resistance by redefining the relationship with buyers. Thus, an insurance agent calls not to sell you insurance, but to help you assess the ways your assets might be at risk, to see how your need for protection might have changed over the past several years. Straight (1996) advised salespeople to redefine all sales pitches as a cooperative interaction, beginning by exploring the interests and needs of the buyer to see if a mutually acceptable basis for doing business can be established. Redefining the sales pitch as a cooperative interaction or as a consultation is a way of sidestepping the resistance that would be raised by a sales call. The "buyer beware" wariness does not translate into "consultee beware!" (Ales sandra, 1993).

A "consultation" has many implications. First, it implies that both consultant and target are working cooperatively on the target's goals. By implication, the target is in charge and, therefore, has less need to be wary. Second, a consultancy defines the situation more as a communal relationship (Clark, Mills, & Corcoran, 1989; Mills & Clark, 1994), which focuses attention away from negotiating an equitable exchange to developing a common plan. Third, a consultancy implies a longer-term relationship with more opportunities for interaction than a sales call. A long-term relationship implies that there will be future opportunities to reciprocate or repair any inequities that may result from this interaction.

19) Address resistance directly. Resistance that is raised by a request, an offer, or a message can be addressed directly. To do this, identify the source of resistance and remedy it.

20) Guarantees. One good strategy that addresses resistance directly is the guarantee. A money-back guarantee doesn't make the refrigerator any larger, colder, more efficient, or stylish. What a guarantee does is address and remove some of the customer's fears involved with buying a product. What if it doesn't work? What if it doesn't fit? What if it looks terrible?

Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, had his stores institute a no-questions asked, money-back guarantee. Just return the item and you will get a refund. Walton guessed that the increased sales prompted by the return policy would greatly outweigh the added expense of returns and refunds. The customer, looking at some product, asks "Is this the kind I need?", "Will it fit?", "Does it match?", and puts the item in the shopping cart knowing that the item can always be returned. Walton (1992) said, "The two most important words I ever wrote were on that first Wal-Mart sign: 'Satisfaction Guaranteed.' They're still up there, and they have made all the difference" (pp. 316-317). This Omega strategy is one of the things that has made Wal-Mart the largest retail corporation in the world.

Guarantees help reduce any reluctance. If one's partner is worried about feeling trapped at a party, one could say, "Anytime you want to go, just wave at me, and we'll leave immediately."

21) Address the resistance indirectly. Resistance may be dealt with more indirectly by taking away the need for resistance.

22) Pushing the Choice Into the Future. The more distant a choice is, the more it is determined by hope and aspiration and the less by fear and inconvenience. Thus, offers are more likely to be accepted if they require future action than if they require immediate action, e.g., "Buy now, pay later!", "Could I borrow your truck for the third Saturday of next month?", or "Let's start Weight Watchers, not now, but three months and four days from now."

23) Acknowledging Resistance. One of the ways to turn resistance against itself is to acknowledge it. Usually persuaders are reluctant to mention resistance, mistakenly believing that to identify it and label it is to give it power and credence. The approach-avoidance conflict theory of persuasion proposes that a persuasive message raises both an accepting consideration of the message and a counteractive resistance to that message. Although the message is overt, the resistance is to some extent covert, automatic, and hidden. However, if resistance is present, it is already powerful. Acknowledging the resistance, labeling it, and making its role overt may have the paradoxical effect of defusing its power and rendering that resistance less influential. We have conducted two studies to investigate whether acknowledging the resistance in a message would make the message more persuasive (Linn & Knowles, 2002b).

24) Minimize the Request. Breaking a large, unreasonable request down into smaller, more acceptable steps is one of the ways that Stanley Milgram (1965) used to create extraordinary compliance in his obedience studies. He asked people assigned to the role of "teacher" to deliver seemingly fatal shocks as punishment to a "learner" who repeatedly failed at a task. Rather than saying, "Give this guy 450 volts!", Milgram's experimenter said, "The learner made another error. He needs another shock, 15 volts stronger than the last one." The slippery slope of incremental increases makes it hard to resist giving just 15 volts more than the last time.

The even-a-penny-will-help social influence technique (Cialdini & Schroeder, 1976) provides a third example of minimizing a request. Solicitors went door-to-door in Phoenix and Tempe , Arizona , to collect money for the American Cancer Society. When solicitors asked, "Would you contribute? Even a penny will help!", they received donations from 50% of the households as opposed to 29% when they simply asked, "Would you contribute?" Importantly, the average donation was quite similar in both conditions. Thus, the phrase "Even a penny will help" served to reduce people's reluctance to donate without greatly changing how much they decided to donate. The mechanism appears to be that the "even a penny" made the request seem smaller and, thus, less necessary to resist (Brockner, Guzzi, Kane, Levine, & Shaplen, 1984; Reingen, 1978; Weyant & Smith, 1987).

25) Raise the Comparison. A request for $1 may engender resistance because it is compared to the alternative of not giving at all. A request for $10 that has been refused may create less resistance because the request for $1 seems like a bargain in comparison to the $10. Burger (1986) thought that invoking a high judgmental anchor might be one of the processes that explain why a price reduction is effective. Telling a customer that an item used to be $1 but is now only 75 cents makes it more attractive than simply telling a customer that the item sells for 75 cents. The function of the high anchor is to reduce resistance to the price by changing the implicit comparison price from zero (not buying the product) to some higher value (the original price). The shopper returns loaded down with purchases from a store-wide 50%-off sale and says, "Look at all the money I saved!" Thomas Mussweiler's (2000, 2002) research suggests that a variety of high numerical anchors might make a request seem more reasonable, even when the anchors are unrelated to the request, e.g., "There are two hundred uses for this eight-dollar item!" and "Eighty thousand customers have purchased this thirty Dollar service."

26) Counterarguing Resistance. Persuasion research has examined addressing resistance directly in its study of the persuasiveness of one-sided versus two-sided communications (Hovland, Lumsdaine, & Sheffield, 1949; Insko, 1962; Lumsdaine & Janis, 1953). Most of these studies have used political issues, such as abortion or gun control, and messages that attempt to sway opinion rather than instigate behavior. A one-sided message advocates one alternative, giving reasons for believing it. A two-sided message advocates this same alternative and gives the same reasons, but it also refutes the opposing side. As such, the two-sided message includes an Omega element, identifying arguments opposed to the side advocated and directly countering these claims.

Two-sided messages seem to be generally more effective than one-sided messages in situations where listeners would be resistant enough to the message to think of the counterarguments themselves. For instance, higher-educated listeners and listeners who were initially opposed to the direction advocated in the message respond better to two-sided messages (Hovland et aI., 1949; Faison, 1961). Two-sided messages are not always effective, however. Sometimes they lead to less change in the advocated direction, but these situations seem to be ones in which the refutations introduce resistance that was not initially there.

27) Raise Self-Esteem. Jacks and O'Brien (this volume) report that self affirmation reduces people's resistance to persuasion. That is, people who have been praised, reminded of crowning accomplishments, or allowed to succeed at a task are more likely to agree with, that is, less likely to resist, an unrelated persuasive message. The Jacks and O'Brien study suggests that activities that build up people's sense of efficacy, self-esteem, or confidence have the added effect of making people less wary. This makes psychological sense. If a person feels efficacious and accomplished, these feelings imply that the person can overcome any difficulty. These indirect strategies reduce resistance by reducing the need to be resistant.

28) Focusing Resistance. Sagarin and Cialdini report that training people to be critical of advertisements and to identify credible and noncredible sources for messages has two effects. First, training sometimes made people more resistant to illegitimate advertisements, especially if their susceptibility to influence had been demonstrated clearly. Second, the training made people less resistant to legitimate and appropriate sources. People who have been trained to be critical of advertisements end up being more persuaded by legitimate ads than do people who have not been trained. It is as if a general wariness that untrained participants applied to all advertisements was lifted from the legitimate ads after training. People who are provided with a sense of power, efficacy, control, and competence seem to have less need to be wary. They are more confident that they can handle or repair any breach. Pratkanis (2000) suggests another strategy that indirectly disables resistance.

He reminds us that influence is an interaction between two people who cast each other into specific roles (see also, Dolinski et aI., 2001). Assuming the role of "teacher" implicitly demands that the other person take the role of "learner"; the role of "expert" implies that the other person take the role of "novice." Pratkanis observes that an influencer can disable a target's resistance by casting the resister in the role of "expert." Ascribing the "expert" to the customer places the customer in a double-bind. To keep his status as an expert, the customer has to agree with the salesperson. Presumably, recasting the customer in a traditionally persuasive role (e.g., "Well, you're a teacher, you can explain better than I can why this is the best alternative") disables the customer's resistance and/or the customer's willingness to employ whatever resistance he might have.

29) Choices. If a person is going to be resistant to a suggestion, one effective strategy may be to offer that person a choice between alternatives. If there is only one alternative, then acceptance and resistance are focused on that alternative, creating the approach-avoidance conflict. However, offering a person a choice between alternatives allows that person to separate the acceptance and the resistance and to apply them to different alternatives. The motivation to resist is satisfied in the rejected alternative at the same time that the approach motivation is satisfied in the accepted alternative. Thus, for children who are resistant to bedtime, the sensitive parent asks, "Do you want to brush your teeth first or do you want to put on your pajamas first?"

30) Reduce the chance of future regrets. The reinstatement of freedom explanation has remained pretty much intact over the years as the explanation for cognitive reactance. In light of the recent work on anticipated regret, we wondered whether there might be a feasible alternative explanation. We proposed that reactance findings might be reconceptualized in terms of the anticipation of the amounts of future regret for compliance versus reactance, That is, the choice to go against the dictates of another may be due, in part, to the amount of future possible regret that is anticipated for negative consequences after choosing either the "forbidden" or the "promoted" alternative, In that individuals reliably go against the demands of the other, it seemed possible that they anticipate greater regret if negative outcomes follow compliance with the dictates of another than if the same negative outcomes follow defiance against the dictates. To minimize future regret, individuals will exhibit reactive behavior rather than compliance.

31) Tailored Information. Websites act as tools when they tailor information, offering people content that is pertinent to their needs and contexts. Compared to general information, tailored information increases the potential for attitude and behavior change (Beniger, 1987; Dijkstra et al., 1998; Jimison, Street, & Gold, 1997; Nowak et al., 1999; Strecher et al., 1999; Strecher et al., 1994).

One notable example of a tailoring technology is the Chemical Scorecard Web site (www.scorecard.org), which generates information according to an individual's geographical 10 cation in order to achieve a persuasive outcome. After people enter their zip code in this Web site, the Web technology reports on chemical hazards in their neighborhood, identifies companies that create those hazards, and describes the potential health risks. Although no published studies document the persuasive effects of this particular technology, outside research and analysis suggests that making information relevant to individuals increases their attention and arousal, which can ultimately lead to increased attitude and behavior change.


32) Why do predictions of future behavior increase compliance rates?

The key to increasing compliance rates by predicting the future is that the prediction of a behavior arouses less resistance than actually committing to the behavior. It is simply far easier for one to predict that one will do something than to agree to do it. Agreeing to an action in the "hypothetical future" is benign and one need not resist any direct persuasive attempt. Thus, the technique of increasing compliance through future prediction works by diminishing the negative aspects associated with compliance. In this way, resistance is weakened.


33) Imagining and Explaining Hypothetical Future Events

Similar to the effects of predicting the future on subsequent judgments and behavior, simply imagining or explaining the future can increase one's subjective likelihood that an event will occur. Thus, Carroll (1978) asked participants to imagine one or the other outcome of the 1976 presidential election (prior to its occurrence). Those who imagined a victory by Carter judged that outcome as more likely, and those who imagined a Ford victory judged that Ford was more likely to win. Similarly, asking participants to imagine and explain a hypothetical victory by one or the other team in an upcoming football game very much influenced their judgments of who would win the game, with the team imagined as winning being seen as more likely to actually win (Sherman, Zehner, Johnson, & Rirt, 1983).


34) Self-Affirmation Theory and Resistance to Persuasion

Research has also shown that self-affirmations are most effective in obviating the need for attitude change when they are not related to the dissonance-arousing act. For example, Aronson, Blanton, and Cooper (1995) have shown that following a dissonance induction, individuals chose not to affirm the self in the domain that had been threatened; instead, they preferred to affirm the selfconcept in an unrelated domain.


35) Implicating the Self: A Self-Consistency View of Dissonance; Persuaion and attitude change using Dissonance

People strive for consistent views of themselves. If people feel reasonably positive about themselves, they see themselves as competent and moral human beings. Anything that challenges that view will result in dissonance. Cognitive inconsistency results in dissonance because good, competent, and moral people do not usually act in ways that run contrary to their beliefs. They do not convince other students that a dull task is interesting, they do not extol the virtues of marijuana to high school youngsters, they do not write essays about raising college tuition fees if they believe that the fees should not be raised. When people find that they have acted in ways that compromise their sense of competence or moral integrity, they are motivated to change their attitudes.

One implication of the self-consistency position is that people who do not chronically think of themselves as competent would not be as likely to change their attitudes following counterattitudinal behavior. That is, people with lower self-esteem should experience little dissonance after behaving in a counterattitudinal fashion. Self-esteem establishes an expectancy about how a person is likely to behave. When people violate that expectancy, dissonance is created. Several pieces of evidence converge to support this viewpoint. Aronson and Mettee (1968) manipulated what people thought about themselves. Those whose self-esteem had been lowered were less bothered by an attitude-discrepant act than were people whose self-esteem had been raised. Similarly, Glass (1964), Maracek and Mettee (1972), and Gibbons, Eggleston, and Benthin (1997) also found that dissonance arousal was lower for people with low self-esteem. In short, Aronson's view is that behavior that calls into question one's competence and morality, such as advocating something you do not believe in, creates cognitive dissonance, provided you expect positive outcomes for yourself-that is, that you have a positive sense of self-esteem.


36) Self-Affirmation

Claude Steele and his colleagues (e.g., Steele, 1988; Steele & Liu, 1983; Steele, Spencer, & Lynch, 1993) have also linked the experience of dissonance to a person's self-esteem. Like the self-consistency position, the selfaffirmation view of dissonance holds that people are primarily motivated to affirm the competence and morality of their self-view. However, selfaffirmation makes a drastically different prediction when it comes to the role of self-esteem. Steele et al. (1993) argued that people with low selfesteem are the ones who feel particularly threatened when they engage in counterattitudinal behavior. Their self-view is already fragile, and acting in a counterattitudinal fashion further compromises their sense of competence. On the other hand, a solid sense of self-esteem can serve as a resource-a buffer against the feeling of incompetence. Steele, Spencer, and Lynch (1993) found that when people with high self-esteem engage in counterattitudinal behavior, they change their attitudes less than do people with low self-esteem. This, of course, is opposite to the prediction made by the self-consistency view.

It should come as no surprise that there are issues left unresolved. The SSM helps us understand why the self is sometimes involved in dissonance and sometimes not. It posits that all dissonance emanates from the same judgment: How shall I interpret the behavior I have chosen, and against what standard of judgment shall I make this interpretation? Dissonance is activated by an assessment of whether I have done something unwanted or aversive. However, the question of what is aversive has been expanded. It can be aversive because it violates my sense of what I expect of myself, or it can be aversive because it violates my normative judgment of what most people consider to be unwanted or immoral.

37) Evidence. We are now able to say with little reservation that an advocate "quotes" information in support of an argument and the recipients of message process the information as legitimate evidence, the advocate will be more persive than if the information was not presented or was not processed by receivers.


There are some very obvious conditions underlying the effective use of evidence. First, the must be some awareness that "evidence" indeed been presented. Second, the audien must be reasonably expected to process the mesage and the evidence. Finally, the audien must perceive the evidence to be legitimate. The traffic police officer carefully documents the calibration of the speed radar equipment to be used each day because that question of calibration will be the first one asked by the judge as the traffic cases come up in court. There are many different types and forms of evidence (see Reinard, 1991; Rothstein, Raeder, & Crump, 1997). In the vast majority of the research studies on evidence (for detailed reviews of the early research, see Reinard, 1988; Reynolds & Burgoon, 1983), the researchers operationalized evidence as testimonial quotes attributed (or not attributed) to a particular source (usually a person qualified to make the observation being made).

The strongest items in the scale are presented here:

The evidence presented in the message:

  • was sufficient to prove the points being supported.
  • was irrelevant to the conclusions drawn in the message.
  • was not clear and understandable.
  • contained clear and understandable statistical information.
  • taken as a whole, supported the point being made.
  • came from experts on the topic.

Considering what we know about evidence, the conditions for the effective use of evidence, and what we need to know, there is a strong future for researchers interested in the study of evidence. The quality and quantity of research relevant to the study of the use and effects of evidence have advanced far beyond the early stages of doubt about the worthiness of the enterprise. Now there is an evolving research literature base on which evidence researchers can draw. There might not be a flood of studies over the next few decades, but there should be a continuing steady stream of theses, dissertations, and research articles. Perhaps some entire academic departments may wish to make evidence research a focal point in their collective efforts at development and advancement.

38) Advertise; A Variable-Based Typology and a Review of Advertising-Related Persuasion Research During the 1990s


Unlike many other areas of persuasion research, advertising has a parallel applied focus that is manifested in the existence of the advertising industry. From the beginning, the industry had a need for credible knowledge to guide practitioners' daily decision making. Pragmatically oriented advertising researchers were initially inspired to address questions such as "Should we run a 30-second or 60-second ad?" and "Should we use humor in this ad?" Such researchers often define their sub-areas of interests in terms of the variables they study including ad length research, celebrity effect research, and clutter research. One particular type of industry research, copy testing, attempts to predict advertising effectiveness in terms of a variety of variables, such as recall and ad liking, before the ads are released. While those researchers often evoke theories to predict or interpret results, the utility of theory lies in its implications for message design rather than for explanation.

A quick glance at issues of the Journal of Advertising Research shows that there have always been a substantial number of studies in this tradition. This literature has been largely ignored by previous academic syntheses of the field, as all of those syntheses were organized according to theories and psychological behavioral processes (e.g., Alwitt & Mitchell, 1983; Cafferata & Tybout, 1989; Clark, Brock, & Stewart, 1994). Implicitly, variables oriented researchers rejected the assumption that answers to grand questions were possible. Instead, they attempted to make advertising questions more tractable by making them more narrow.

Types of Media. Today, there are several different types of media from which advertisers can choose. One might argue that media type is another directly manipulable independent variable. That is true, but media are more than that. Different media evoke different sensory channels, evoke different levels of interactivity, and require different ways of managing fundamental parameters such as time and space. Furthermore, particular independent variables are differentially relevant to different media. Image and color are important for print, television, and computer-related media but have no meaning for radio. Interactivity is fundamental for computer-related media but becomes a near constant for some other media. The clutter is a spatial concept for print media but a sequential concept for broadcast media. The juxtaposition of these five media (see Table 25.1) with the four types of independent variables yields a 4 X 5 matrix that is used to organize the remainder of this chapter.

Celebrity Endorsement in All Media. The analysis of 110 announcements of contracts of celebrity endorsements by various companies indicate that, on average, the announcements have led to higher stock prices for the companies. This suggests that the investors generally view the contracts as worthy investment in advertising (Agrawal & Kamakura, 1995).



Emotion plays a role in advertising, politics, health communication, and virtually any other form of persuasive communication. The Jeffersonian democratic tradition, with its foundations stretching back as far as Milton, elevates reason to be "good" in that logic drives decision, while persuasion is "bad" because it is driven by emotion. However, information processing theory challenges the value of the emotion-reason dichotomy on two grounds. First, information-evoking emotion can also be "good," especially if the cognitive system is under stress. Second, a growing body of research shows that electronic media users simultaneously process a complex stream of both rational and emotional information (Geiger & Newhagen, 1994). There is even evidence coming from neuropsychology that emotion may play a key role in integrating reason, acting as the bedrock on which consciousness itself is formed (Watt, 1998).

From the functionalist perspective on which information processing theory resides, emotion represents an internal alarm system to warn of problems that demand attention and immediate real-time resolutions. Emotion is, perhaps, the psychological heuristic key to human survival. Remember that information processing models place a limited resource organism in a potentially dangerous, complex, and volatile information ecology. To the degree that reason is a serial process and is resource demanding, it might not be able to generate adaptive behavioral decisions in time to face imminent threat. On the other hand, limited or fragmentary information is sufficient to activate emotional "action states" that provoke approach-avoidance behaviors appropriate to survival (Frijda, 1988). In this sense, emotion is as good as, or even better than, reason in solving some problems.

Of course, emotion evolved prior to the invention of mass media and was intended to guard against "real" threats such as the appearance of a predator. The astonishing thing, which most of us take for granted, is that television viewers respond to emotion-evoking images on the screen of a cathode ray tube just as they do to the same stimuli in real life (Reeves & Nass, 1996). Doubters of this proposition ought to pause and consider the impact of the images of commercial jetliners smashing into the sides of the World Trade Center buildings. For instance, viewer approach-avoidance ratings of images that elicit discrete negative emotion in television news mirror responses to the same stimuli in real life (Newhagen, 1998b). Newhagen's (1998b) study showed that images of anger elicit approach responses to the screen, while images of fear and disgust elicit avoidance responses. Work looking at emotion in terms of its intensity and valence has generated similar results (Lang, Newhagen, & Reeves, 1996; Lang, Pinkleton, & Newhagen, 1994).

Emotion-evoking stimuli on television have the potential to be "bad" to the degree that they evoke emotions in the viewer not appropriate to his or her real-life surroundings. Gerbner, Gross, Morgan, and Signorielli (1980) is perhaps the best-known example of such a theory, where excessive depictions of violence on television can "persuade" viewers that the world is a more dangerous place than it really is (Newhagen & Reeves, 1992).


40) Understanding the media and social reality; Designing advertising that conform to perception of social reality. If advertising is designed after the accepted messages from news and television shows, one can actually use these to the product advantage. For example, imagine if we could accurately know what message the tv show "Desperate House Wives" is trying to portray. Designing ads that conform to the same message should create an advantage. In other words running a 15 second ad on the same theme is not actually 15 seconds but in fact could be the entire time of that particular tv show.

Consider the fact:

There is evidence that change in the typical demographics of television is possible. A number of minority groups expressed outrage at the small number of minority characters being presented in major roles in primetime television during the Fall 1999 season. A "brownout," in which minorities would boycott network television to demonstrate their displeasure as well as their importance, was threatened. In response, producers promised to add more minority characters (Weinraub, 1999).

If a smart advertiser (perhaps for products targeted at minorities) had used this perception of social reality, the ad would have been very successful. The ad would actually confirm such beliefs.

I like to give another great example. In 1980s Ronald Reagan, media, tv and almost every newspaper created a mind set that Soviet Union (IBM in the relevant AD) as a Big Brother need to end. The relevant ad is the story of Apple Computer's famous 1984 Super Bowl Ad, a sixty­second mini movie for Apple Computer's Macintosh, showing a club-wielding symbol of freedom smashing the 1984 Orwellian nightmare. The ad was only 60 seconds, however, I believe the length of ad was actually a decade. Here it is :http://www.uriah.com/apple-qt/1984.html. The scenario invokes the George Orwell novel, 1984; a Big Brother figure ceaselessly intones the slogans of Newspeak, while the public masses appear automatized by the rigidly controlled totalitarian society. Imagine if you saw the ad, for the very first time tomorrow, would it still have the same effect?

Power of Narrative:

Orwell's dystopic tale is the most directly quoted framework for the ad's narrative structure , but there are other important cultural symbols invoked along with it. Irony is that the opening shot of the marching workers is taken from Fritz Lang's 1927 Metropolis, a film which depicted the destructiveness of capitalism and the misery of the working class in a plea for compassion and equity.

That film begins with a series of shots of the bent and exploited workers, including one of them in a circular tunnel, directly quoted in the Macintosh ad, leading to their underground city and the machines they die maintaining. The hall in which the head on the screen addresses the mass of men is architecturally similar to the oppressive Master's building in Metropolis. There is an important difference between the two narratives, however. Orwell's narrative projected stasis and immutability in the totalitarian state of 1984, while Lang's story allowed for resistance and the redistribution of control, a theme central to the ad's industrial agenda as well as to its narrative.

Theory in detail:

Misperceptions Produced by Media Content


Spiral of Silence. The spiral of silence, introduced to American researchers during the early 1970s, is a cross-level model of opinion dynamics that has received considerable research attention, if not support, in the United States . My discussion of the spiral of silence hypothesis draws heavily from the Englishlanguage writings of Noelle-Neumann (1974, 1977,1979,1985,1989,1991,1993,1995).

The spiral of silence hypothesis consists of several different stages and includes several important variables. First, the theory assumes that (a) most people fear social isolation and believe that to express minority opinions on "moral" issues is to risk social isolation; (b) people have a "quasi-statistical sense" that allows them to determine, if not the actual distribution of public opinion, then at least the relative trends in public opinion (sometimes called "future trend"); and (c) these perceptions come from evidence in the environment, most importantly mass and interpersonal communication.

Thus, the public opinion process, according to the spiral of silence, works like this. To avoid the negative feelings of social isolation, people scan their environment in order to sense the climate of opinion. They make use of their perceptions of the climate of opinion to determine what opinions can be expressed in public and what opinions must be expressed in public. When their private opinions cannot be expressed in public due to a fear of isolation, they remain silent. As others go through this same process, there is a change in the climate of opinion; the interpersonal environment appears to be even more one-sided as members of the perceived minority fail to speak out in favor of their position. This produces changes in perceptions of the climate of opinion, which reinforces minority members' unwillingness to speak out. The process continues until one position becomes dominant. In addition to changes in the climate of opinion, this process can change private opinions for those who are undecided or weakly committed to their viewpoint.

The role of the mass media in the spiral of silence is to serve as an indicator of the climate of opinion. Noelle-Neumann has identified the New York Times, the Washington Post, and possibly the major television news networks in the United States as the "trend-setting" mass media because they tend to set the agenda for other news media outlets such as local newspapers. People sense public opinion via the trend-setting mass media, which NoelleNeumann has claimed are consonant (all the same), ubiquitous (omnipresent), and cumulative (effects accumulate with repetition) and therefore not susceptible to selective exposure, attention, or recall.

According to the spiral of silence, the mass media serve as agents of social control. They convey information-although not necessarily accurate information-about the norms of society and thus opinions that may be expressed without fear of isolation. These clues may be portrayed in several different ways, including but not limited to camera angles (Noelle-Neumann, 1993), general statements about public opinion by reporters, invocation of social norms as boundaries of mainstream public opinion, actions in relation to community laws, "man-on-the-street" interviews (McLeod & Hertog, 1992), and reports of opinion polls (Salmon & Kline, 1985).

The literature has provided some evidence for the role of news media use in perceptions of public opinion. Glynn (1987) found that those who were frequent users of mass media tended to perceive that they were dissimilar from their neighbors, whereas those who were high in interpersonal communication tended to perceive that they were similar to their neighbors

Social observers will infer that a given viewpoint is in the minority because few individuals are expressing this view publicly, but in fact this unexpressed view may be the privately held view of the majority. President Richard Nixon claimed just this when he spoke of a "silent majority" that supported the conservative cause.

Research on the influence of perceptions of being in the minority (whether or not this is a misperception) and willingness to speak out publicly from the spiral of silence perspective has produced mixed results in the United States (for a meta-analysis, see Glynn, Hayes, & Shanahan, 1997). Despite this, there has been enough positive evidence to suggest that something like the spiral of silence does indeed occur. In fact, one of the most vocal American critics of the spiral of silence, Chuck Salmon, acknowledged, "The essence of the model-that individuals' perceptions of their environment do have some bearing on their communication and behavior ... is incontestable" (Salmon & Moh, 1992, p. 159).

Institutional process analysis is the component of the cultural indicators approach that focuses on how the media messages that exist are chosen. Specifically, this component attempts to answer the question, "Why are the media messages we have the way they are1" Researchers have pointed to the roles of the profit motive in commercial television as well as the culture and ownership structure of the television industry as potential answers to this question.

Cultivation analysis seeks to connect the content of television to the public's perceptions of social reality. Because media message analysis indicates that the content of television is not an accurate portrayal of the real world, people who use the television world to shape their perceptions of the real world will come away with a serious misunderstanding. Cultivation analysis suggests that this is exactly what happens. Specifically, the most prominent claim of cultivation researchers is that the violent world of television has created a "mean world syndrome" in which heavy viewers believe that crime and violence are much more prevalent than they are in reality and that most people cannot be trusted.

In addition to perceptions of a mean and dangerous world, other misperceptions of social reality have been linked to television viewing. Cultivation researchers have examined the role of television in forming stereotypes of social groups and behaviors, including perceptions of social out-groups and minorities (Gandy & Baron, 1998; Kiecolt & Sayles, 1988), perceptions of professionals such as lawyers and doctors (Pfau, Mullen, Deidrich, & Garrow, 1995; Pfau, Mullen, & Garrow, 1995), and perceptions of sex roles and marriage among young people (Morgan & Rothschild, 1983; Rosenwasser, Lingenfelter, & Harrington, 1989; Signorielli, 1991; Signorielli & Lears, 1992). Generally speaking, television use tends to produce stereotypical perceptions of these groups and behaviors.

The resonance hypothesis also predicts an interaction between background characteristics and television viewing such that effects of television are greater when its content is consistent with the real-life situation of the viewer. Thus, unlike mainstreaming (which predicts a convergent interaction), resonance predicts a "contributory" interaction (McLeod & Reeves, 1980). That is, the impact of television viewing would be greater among groups of individuals for whom the television messages "resonate," thus leading perceptions of these groups to be even more different from other heavy viewers than light viewers are from other light viewers.

In a related vein, Mares (1996) argued that source confusions-the tendency for individuals to think that events from entertainment actually came from the news-were related to the cultivation effect. Specifically, she argued that those who tend to mistake entertainment sources to be news sources in recall tests will evidence stronger cultivation effects, while those who tend to mistake news sources as entertainment sources will demonstrate weaker cultivation effects.

Social reality perceptions play a significant role in a number of health-related concerns. For instance, a number of social scientists (e.g., Marks, Graham, & Hansen, 1992; Perkins & Wechsler, 1996; Prentice & Miller, 1993; Schroeder & Prentice, 1998) have demonstrated that perceptions of social reality in the form of perceived norms have important implications for the use of alcohol by adolescents and college students. Research has consistently demonstrated that "one of the most consistent predictors of an adolescent's alcohol use is perceived alcohol use by his or her peers" (Schroeder & Prentice, 1998, p. 2151). Importantly, longitudinal research (Marks et aI., 1992) has demonstrated that the social conformity effect (changing one's own behaviors to fit perceptions of others) is stronger than the social projection effect (changing one's perceptions of others to fit one's own behavior). The link between perceived norms and behavior has been replicated for other health-related behaviors, including sexual experiences and smoking among young adults (e.g., Botvin, Botvin, Baker, Dusenbury, & Goldberg, 1992; Cohen & Shotland, 1996). Any health campaign designed to reduce alcohol use, smoking, or risky sexual behaviors by adolescents and college students would be well-served by attempting to alter perceptions of the social norm regarding the behavior. As Montgomery (1989) detailed, there is a substantial history of groups attempting to influence American television content for public health purposes. For example, characters on entertainment television programs can regularly engage in safe sex as opposed to unprotected sex or can abstain from sexual activity altogether.

One example of how change might occur in public perceptions of social norms regarding health behaviors can be drawn from the 1990s teen soap opera Beverly Hills 90210. For several years of this series, the character "Donna" abstained from sexual intercourse while her high school and college peers were sexually active. For a truly significant impact, more than a single character would probably be necessary to influence perceptions of the number of individuals who remain virgins through late high school or early college.

Another context in which television content could be influenced would be in automotive safety. For example, based on outside pressures, characters on several popular television series during the 1980s, including The A Team, began to visibly buckle their seat belts each time they entered their cars (Geller, 1989). This change in behavior could have led viewers to perceive a change in public norms regarding the use of safety belts and to adjust their own behaviors accordingly. Similarly, if instances of drinking and driving are followed by accidents and other negative consequences, such as the drunk driving accident of the character "Bailey" on Party of Five, regular viewers may become likely to associate these events occurring together frequently. A related approach would be to portray more occurrences of the use of designated drivers in situations where a lead character is drinking before driving.

In Third World countries, development messages have been included in soap operas to introduce or change social norms about a number of issues (e.g., Kottak, 1990; Singhal & Rogers, 1989). For example, if campaigners hope to reduce the infant mortality rate in a developing country, they might develop a drama or soap opera focusing on people with whom the target audience could easily identify. Characters in the soap opera would explicitly and frequently engage in the appropriate behaviors (e.g., use the proper medicine when babies had diarrhea) and be positively rewarded for doing so. Those who did not do so would receive negative social feedback or experience negative consequences. Over time, these portrayals could cultivate the perception that the health behaviors are normative and thus should be followed as standard practice because they must be appropriate and effective. If nothing else, individuals may simply engage in these behaviors to avoid social isolation. This same logic could be applied to the use of new agricultural methods or other innovative practices.


41) What to do when the consumer is inoculated against the product?

Nuances in Inoculation Theory and Applications


Necessity was the impetus for applying the inoculation approach to attitude resistance in commercial advertising. During the late 1980s, comparative advertising, which explicitly compares a target brand to one or more competing brands, was rising in popularity. Recent research has demonstrated impressive persuasiveness of comparative advertisements for certain items in certain conditions. Therefore, it is important to ask whether a company can do anything to preclude efficacy of a competitor's comparative ad.

Five studies provided the foundation for the application of inoculation to commercial advertising. Two of these early studies dealt with social marketing and were the first to attempt to apply inoculation to a marketing context. Bither, Dolich, and Nell (1971) concluded that "two-sided immunization appeals" were effective in reinforcing belief levels against messages that advocated movie censorship. Szybillo and Heslin (1973), in addressing the question as to whether air bags should be mandated in new automobiles, found that refutational messages were more effective than supportive messages in producing attitude resistance.

Two other commercial advertising studies explored the efficacy of refutational versus supportive messages in producing resistance to Federal Trade Commission attacks. Findings here were mixed. Hunt (1973) found that refutational messages were superior to supportive messages, while Gardner, Mitchell, and Staelin (1977) found no differences between the two approaches. Another study by Sawyer (1973) looked at the relative efficacy of refutational and supportive print ads for five different products. He found that refutational ads outperformed the supportive ads, effects that were more pronounced for nonusers of products and when following a series of ads.

These initial studies suggest that the refutational two-sided approach is superior to the one-sided supportive approach in producing attitude resistance. This claim is backed further by recent commercial advertising and persuasion research. A meta-analysis of message sidedness research Qackson & Allen, 987) and three replications of the metaanalysis (Allen et al., 1990) suggest that two-sided messages are preferred over one-sided messages because mentioning the competing position "subsequently builds up the psychological defenses of the message recipient and makes the refutation effective" (Allen et al., 1990, p. 286). In fact, Swinyard (1981) and Kamins and Asseal (1987) provided evidence from the context of commercial advertising that two-sided messages actually suppress a receiver's counterarguments, which results in greater resistance to persuasion.

pfau's (1992) study of inoculation in a comparative advertising context indicated that the effectiveness of inoculation as a resistance strategy depends largely on other variables at work in the environment. pfau manipulated two variables: receiver product involvement and message format. Receiver product involvement concerned the "relevance or salience of the product class for receivers" (Pfau, 1997, p. 144), and comparative message format involved the "style and directionality of the comparative" (p. 144).

pfau found that both inoculation-same and -different messages were effective in conferring resistance to a competitor's claims. The most intriguing finding, however, is that inoculation was more effective in producing resistance to a competitor's comparative advertisements, mainly for high-involving products (Pfau, 1992). pfau reasoned that inoculation pretreatments may produce higher threat in high-involved receivers and, therefore, prove to be more effective.

Jamieson (1992) argued that in contexts where challenges to existing attitudes can be foreseen, the challenge can be preempted by way of inoculation. Contemporary research alludes to inoculation's efficacy in protecting attitudes in a variety of applied settings. Existing research on inoculation demonstrates irrefutably that it is an effective technique in promoting resistance to persuasion.

However, while researchers know how to construct inoculation messages and how to measure resistance outcomes, they do not yet fully understand the process triggered by inoculative messages. McGuire's original formulation of the inoculation construct "relied on a biological analogy to explain how pretreatment messages might confer resistance" (Pfau, 1997, p. 135). The guiding idea of inoculation theory is taken from the health practice of administering a weakened form of a virus to activate the body's immune system against the virus. Based on this analogy, McGuire (1964) reasoned that people can be stimulated to build up resistance to attacks on attitudes by being exposed to weakened attitude-threatening messages.

McGuire posited that people have many "overprotected" attitudes. The selective exposure argument was based on two assumptions: that people are attracted to information that supports existing attitudes and that people purposely avoid information that disagrees with their attitudes.

The inoculation approach is based on the assumption that refutational pretreatments, which consist of counterarguments challenging a person's attitude and responses to those counterarguments, threaten people. Due to the production of threat, refutational pretreatments motivate people to protect their attitudes, which elicits resistance (Papageorgis & McGuire, 1961). Refutational pretreatments consist of threat and refutational preemption, which are the two indispensable components of inoculation.

"The threat component is the most distinguishing feature of inoculation" (Pfau, 1997, p. 137). Threat motivates receivers to recognize the vulnerability of their attitudes to conceivable challenges and unleashes an "internal process". Threat is operationalized as a warning of possible future attacks on attitudes and the recognition of attitude vulnerability to change (pfau, Tusing, Koerner, et aI., 1997). Threat elicits the motivation to protect attitudes and, thus, cultivates resistance to counterpersuasion (pfau & Kenski, 1990).

Threat and refutational preemption are the essential elements of inoculation. The process induced by these two components is "part motivational and part cognitive, but more needs to be learned about it". However, we maintain that threat is the most integral of the two.

If receiver involvement levels are too low or too high, the threat component of an inoculation treatment might not be capable of eliciting the additional motivation required to further protect attitudes. Therefore, he maintained that involvement dictates boundary conditions for inoculation theory. Involvement, as it is conceptualized in inoculation research, is the perceived importance of an attitude object to a receiver, or what Eagly and Chaiken (1993) characterized as "outcome-relevant involvement." Pfau and colleagues reasoned that the effect of need for cognition on a high-involving issue makes theoretical sense because both issue involvement and need for cognition enhance message processing and, therefore, should increase the effectiveness of inoculation for high-involving issues. However, they lamented the lack of theoretical explanation for the findings of the low-involvement condition.

With moderate- and high-involving topics, this prediction was supported. They reasoned that the more ego-involved a receiver is, "the more likely he! she can access relevant attitudes (Fazio, 1989), thereby facilitating threat, which requires that receivers perceive the potential vulnerability of attitudes" (Pfau, Tusing, Lee, et aI., 1997, p. 475). In addition, the results supported the prediction that the efficacy of inoculation is greater with more ego-involved receivers. The results indicated that greater ego involvement increases resistance, "independent of the other processes in social judgment theory, namely assimilation and contrast" (p. 465). Finally, Pfau, Tusing, Lee, and colleagues (1997) posited that the cognitive process triggered by threat was assimilation and contrast. However, the results revealed no evidence of an assimilation effect, prompting the conclusion that a "suitable rationale for the cognitive process triggered via inoculation must lie elsewhere".

Involvement, on the other hand, both directly and indirectly contributed to resistance to influence through a variety of paths. The pattern of results revealed that involvement was positively related to resistance and to number of responses to counterarguments, but only with moderate- and high-involving topics. Inoculation was the least effective for the low-involving condition, suggesting again that there is a floor for involvement and threat. Furthermore, the researchers (Pfau, Tusing, Koerner, et a!., 1997) found consistent main effect findings for involvement on most indicators of resistance for both the moderate- and high-involving topics.

Involvement seemed to play two main roles in the process of resistance. First, it directly made final attitudes more resistant to attacks for all topics. Second, it was positively related to Phase 2 attitudes and negatively related to Phase 3 attitudes. Pfau and colleagues explained this outcome by positing that delay is needed to provide time for receivers to generate counterarguments and, subsequently, "bolster attitudes against change" (p.210). Past research supports the position that delay is needed to allow time for resistance to set in (McGuire, 1970).

Until recently, all research on inoculation had assumed that the process of resistance is cognitive. However, recent studies have introduced affect to inoculation in an effort to further understand the process of resistance. In the first of these investigations, Lee and pfau (1997) compared the effectiveness of cognitive, affective-positive, and affective-negative inoculation messages in conferring resistance to cognitive and affective attacks. Cognitive messages were designed so that they were rational, objective, and factual, whereas affective messages were written to be more suggestive and consisted of metaphors, anecdotes, and stereotyping designed to elicit either positive or negative feelings.

The latter focus was motivated by the fact that threat acts as the motivational catalyst in inoculation (Pfau, 1997; pfau, Tusing, Koerner, et ai., 1997) and that motivation intrinsically is more affective than cognitive (Izard, 1993). This study examined comparative efficacy of cognitive, affective-anger, and affective happiness inoculation messages at low, moderate, and high levels of self-efficacy while taking into account receiver involvement and prior attitude. In short, this investigation explored the role of affect in inoculation, both as a message strategy and in terms of how affect functions in the psychological processes producing resistance.

Because appraisal theory alone cannot explain why some people respond to threat with anger while others respond to the same threat with happiness, appraisal theorists have tried to uncover situational and personal factors affecting appraisals. Whether anger is produced from threat appraisal depends largely on an individual's perceived power over the stimulus (Dillard, Plotnick, Godbold, Freimuth, & Edgar, 1996). Self-efficacy is a measure of one's perceived power over, or confidence in, dealing with an environmental obstacle, and it is a likely predictor of how a person will perceive a threat message (Bandura, 1983). Bandura (1983) argued that anger experiences are a function of the strength of perceived self-efficacy in coping with different threats (p. 465). Therefore, pfau and colleagues (2001) predicted that with inoculation, anger should stem from high self-efficacy.

Once again conferring the robustness of inoculation, the results of the pfau et al. (2001) study revealed that all inoculation message approaches conferred resistance and that, contrary to prediction, all messages stimulated equal amounts of counterarguing.

This study produced other interesting findings about the nuances of inoculation as well. Receiver involvement once again contributed to resistance through its positive association with counterarguing.

Results of structural equation analyses indicated that inoculation treatments both directly and indirectly enhance resistance. Inoculation treatments produced a direct impact on attitude resistance, independent of psychological processes.

In addition, with both cognitive and affective-anger treatments, inoculation elicited threat, which, along with involvement, enhanced counterarguing and also triggered anger, indirectly promoting resistance.

In fact, anger messages elicited the most threat. This study was the second one to suggest both a direct and an indirect path through threat and counterarguing as "dual routes" to resistance (Pfau et al., 2001, p.243). This finding suggests that threat and counter arguing are necessary, but not sufficient, to fully account for inoculation's impact.

As a result of these findings, pfau and colleagues (2001) argued that the direct path from inoculation to resistance suggests two possibilities: one, that the refutational component directly contributes to resistance; or two, that there are still untested variables in the inoculation process that help to explain resistance. Insko (1967) may have been right when he claimed, "Inoculation theory may prove to be part of a larger and more complex picture" (p. 319). Nonetheless, the most important results of this study concern the role of emotion in inoculation. The researchers proposed that anger would play an integral role in the inoculation process, and these hypotheses were confirmed and were consistent with the logic of appraisal theory. Mainly, it was found that threat is positively related to anger and that anger is positively related to counterarguing and resistance.

Pfau, Holbert, and colleagues (2000) posited that the nature of inoculation implies that print treatments should be superior to video due to the unique nature of the two message forms. In contrast to print, video is an inherently passive medium (Chesebro, 1984; Graber, 1987), and therefore, video should be less effective in promoting careful message elaboration. However, as McGuire (1962) reasoned, inoculation triggers an intrinsically active process of counterarguing. Therefore, inoculation messages employed in research are typically cognitive in nature.

Because print is more likely to elicit active message processing (Chaiken & Eagly, 1976, 1983; Petty & Cacioppo, 1986), Pfau, Holbert, and colleagues (2000) predicted that, compared to video, print inoculation messages would elicit more counterarguing and be more effective in conferring resistance to influence. In addition, they hypothesized that video treatments confer resistance uniquely because video enhances "the primacy of the visual over the audio channel" (Paletz & Guthrie, 1987, p. 20) and because it is assumed to be less involving (Chesebro, 1984). Therefore, video should be more likely to result in reliance on source cues. Finally, pfau, Holbert, and colleagues (2000) questioned whether the conferral of resistance occurs at different points in time for print and video inoculation treatments.

The results once again revealed the robustness of inoculation. Mainly, print and video messages did not significantly vary in their ability to confer resistance. However, as predicted, print and video messages did differ in how they produced resistance. The video messages produced resistance based more on source considerations. Videos immediately generated positive relational perceptions about the source of the inoculation messages in terms of perceptions of similarity and depth, causing receivers to immediately bolster their attitudes. These positive relational thoughts about the source were then associated with more negative perceptions of the source of the attack and, as a result, with resistance to the attacks. The video messages elicited much more negative perceptions about the competence and character of the source of the attacks than did print messages.

These findings also point to a difference in the timing of resistance. Immediately following the inoculation message, the video treatments fostered more resistance than did the print messages. However, following exposure to the persuasive attacks, this difference disappeared, with both the print and video messages being equally effective in producing resistance. Overall, this study indicates that video inoculation messages confer resistance to influence uniquely through a process that relies heavily on source factors. These results suggest, as was proposed, that print emphasizes message content, while video emphasizes source factors. Furthermore, it was found that video treatments conferred immediate resistance, whereas print treatments required time to induce resistance.

The previously reviewed contemporary studies suggest much nuance in the process of resistance, pointing especially to the strong robustness of inoculation. The pattern of results of existing research reveals that, whether inoculation treatments are constructed as the same or different central or peripheral as content or source oriented or as cognitive or affective or whether treatments are administered by video or print they enhance resistance to persuasion.

Inoculation theory may provide an alternative preemptive response for dealing with an opponent's attacks. Inoculation theory suggests that one can design messages that make voters resistant to the influence of attack ads. Therefore, an important question to address is the following: What can be done to produce resistance in adolescents' anti-smoking attitudes? .

Lin's (2000) study indicated that inoculation was able to enhance attitude strength. People receiving an inoculation treatment became increasingly confident in their attitudes, expressed greater willingness to verbalize their attitudes, and showed increased likelihood of resisting counterattitudinal attacks, in comparison to control group participants. Lin concluded that inoculation can shatter the spiral of silence and potentially foster public deliberation of important social issues.

If inoculation can mitigate the fear of isolation, it should produce a different climate of opinion in which competing views are more likely to be expressed. The results of Lin's study carry important ramifications for participatory democracy.

Unanswered questions about inoculation stem largely from its core theoretical elements. We are closer to knowing about the processes of threat, yet little is known about the workings of refutational preemption. For example, does refutational preemption prime attitudes, thereby making them more accessible for an individual when faced with a challenge? We cannot yet explain unaccounted for direct impacts of inoculation in resistance. Possibly, the concept of priming holds the key. Also, are refutational pretreatments using source derogations superior to those employing content-specific counterarguments? Stone (1969) found that source derogation was inferior to message inoculation, yet his is the only study to address this issue.


Inoculation theory has been, and promises to be, a viable and serviceable approach to attitude resistance. Experimental research, coupled with more recent field experiments, demonstrates that inoculation provides resistance to attitude change in situations where challenges to attitudes are often inevitable. This chapter has explained the inoculation approach of resistance, reviewed early inoculation research, explored explanations of the processes triggered via inoculation, described contemporary applications of inoculation in a variety of contexts, provided a glimpse of as yet unresolved issues in inoculation research, and suggested further applications of inoculation.


42) Affect. Persuasion cannot occur in the absence of passion. In other words persuasive messages must evoke passion if they are to succeed. Professionally produced advertisements often include eye-catching images and memorable melodies in addition to some propositional content. A clear conceptual line can be drawn between the affect stimulated by verbal content and that which arises from ancillary stylistic material.

Persuasion and the Structure of Affect


The fact that affect is kind of missing in websites advertising is important and perhaps it could be innovated. However, many persuasive appeals attempt to elicit affect through means other than propositional content. What we call discrete emotion models are the most complex of the lot. From this perspective, affect is viewed as a set of distinct states such as anger, fear, and happiness, each of which may vary in intensity.

As its name so plainly suggests, the bipolar valence model assumes that the affect is best conceived as a single continuum described by antonymic pairs such as positive-negative, good-bad, and happy-sad.

Much of the current interest in mood and persuasion can be traced to a study by Worth and Mackie (1987). That project is valuable not only for its place in the history of this area but also because its design is so typical of subsequent investigations. In Worth and Mackie's study, positive mood participants won $1.00 in an allegedly random lottery, while neutral mood participants were simply asked whether or not they had participated in a lottery. All participants then read a message about acid rain containing either strong or weak arguments that was attributed to either an expert or nonexpert source. The results indicated that, relative to the neutral mood participants, those in the positive mood condition recalled fewer arguments, were less sensitive to the argument strength manipulation, and were more sensitive to the source cue manipulation. Overall, the evidence suggested that positive mood dampened systematic processing. From these and other findings (Mackie & Worth, 1989), the researchers concluded that positive moods consume cognitive capacity, thereby constraining participants' ability to engage in systematic message processing.

This finding is very important in the case of HerbaLabs visitors since most of them are in pain, they are in bad mood. This indicates that most Herbalabs visitors are more cognitive.

The notion that positive mood participants might have suffered motivational deficits provides the cornerstone to an alternative explanation. The mood-as-information hypothesis suggests that affective states may function as heuristics conveying to individuals whether there is a need to process the message carefully (Bless, Bohner, Schwarz, & Strack, 1990; for a revision of this position, see Bless & Schwarz, 1999). A positive mood signals that all is well, and by implication so is the advocacy of the suasory appeal. By contrast, a negative mood gives notice that something is amiss. The individual should, therefore, devote cognitive resources to an analysis of the environment, including the persuasive message.

In this view, message recipients make careful decisions regarding message processing with an eye toward maintaining or improving their affective state. Persons in a positive mood are expected to be quite discriminating about the messages they choose to engage because there are so many ways in which their state of elation might be disrupted. They are likely to avoid (i.e., superficially process) depressing topics, loss-framed messages, and counterattitudinal claims. However, a positive mood might encourage systematic processing if the message recipient believes that close analysis would make him or her feel better. By contrast, a very sad mood should encourage systematic processing more generally. Affectively speaking, there is nothing left to lose and much to be gained.

Internet Marketing ; eMarketing ; Internet Advertising ; Online Branding ; Search Engine Optimization & Marketing ; Naming ; Privacy Policy ; Contact Us ; Our Services ; Home - Iconocast Home

Tel: 424-333-1123