Media campaigns may influence audience members directly, via message exposure, or indirectly, via conversations about the campaign. Either process has the potential to produce persuasion or counter-persuasion (i.e., boomerang). A laboratory experiment (N = 297) was conducted in which individuals viewed three anti-sugar-sweetened beverage PSAs under three conditions: Prompt (discussion allowed with instructions to evaluate the effectiveness of the PSAs), no prompt (discussion allowed, but not guided), and discussion not allowed. Conversations between dyad members were coded for quantity of on-topic talk and frequency of cognitive process words (e.g., because, therefore). Results showed persuasion and counter-persuasion via direct and indirect processes. On-topic talk and cognitive process words predicted intentions to reduce beverage consumption among heavy drinkers. The study is among the few to examine conversations provoked by media messages and to demonstrate how an experimental manipulation can guide the quantity and quality of those interactions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)