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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Day 445: Look on the Bright Side

This post continues from my previous posts starting at this one - please read for context.


Research findings (Broemer, 2004) suggest that health messages of various sorts can be more effective if they are framed in a positive manner (eg, how to attain good health) rather than in a negative manner (eg, risks and the undesirable consequences that can follow from a particular behaviour). For example, any health message can be framed positively as "do this and you will feel better." Negative framings for the same message might be: "if you don't do this you will shorten your life." The point is that the same health information can be framed either positively in terms of potential benefits of taking a particular action or in terms of the negative consequences that can ensue if you don't take that action. - Social Psychology (Twelfth Edition) by Robert A Baron, Nyla R Branscombe, & Donn Byrne

How does this make you feel: "Stop smoking or you're gonna DIE!"
Versus: "Just imagine how much money you could save if you stopped smoking."

How does this make you feel: "Get tested or you won't have peace of mind and could be spreading the virus."
Versus: "Just imagine the peace of mind you'd feel after getting tested."

How does this make you feel: "That person is no good for you, they're only going to make you regret it."
Versus: "You're too good for him/her, he/she doesn't deserve you."

How does this make you feel: "We're running out of time to change the world."
Versus: "You can make a difference, even the smallest bit counts."

How does this make you feel: "In order to stop the animal abuse taking place in our food industry we must change the way the entire industry is run so that it is not an industry anymore."
Versus: "If you become a vegan the animals will thank you - it'll be that many fewer animals being slaughtered for our consumption."

How does this make you feel: "We do not even know what an education is, we only know how to make more copies of slaves who will go out into the world and do what they're told."
Versus: "Our education system is ineffective - just wait until So-and-So takes over, he/she will get it back on track."

Some of these lines simply show how changing the words from being negative to positive changes how we will be more receptive to the message - even though the bottom line of the message is exactly the same. The other lines show more how we have the tendency to, when faced with some large task, are more likely to want to ignore it - but if we are encouraged to do only a little, we will feel good about ourselves while accomplishing nothing.

We have become very good at getting other people to do what we want them to - well some of us at least. Some few decades ago, psychologists and other researchers discovered all these nifty ways to get people to accept new ideas that might have been rejected, were they considered objectively; get people to do and buy things that have no real value; and keep people happy while they live in their illusory worlds which they don't really understand. It's pretty simple to keep us happy - especially when it's so easy to herd us like little sheepies.

Baaaah.

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