The Effects of Retrieval Ease on Health Issue Judgments: Implications For Campaign Strategies

Chingching Chang, National Chengchi University, Taiwan
This paper examined the effects of retrieving information about a health ailment on judgments of the perceived severity of the disease and self-efficacy regarding prevention and treatment. According to the ease of retrieval hypothesis, when people experience difficulty in retrieving information regarding an event, they rate the event as less likely to occur. In the first experiment, ease of retrieval was manipulated by asking participants to list either a high or low number of consequences of an ailment. As expected, retrieval difficulty resulted in lower perceived disease severity. In the second experiment, ease of retrieval was manipulated by varying the number of disease prevention or treatment measures participants attempted to list. As predicted, retrieval difficulty resulted in lower self-efficacy regarding prevention and treatment. In two additional experiments, participants viewed a public service announcement (PSA) highlighting the consequences of contracting a particular disease. Ease of retrieval effects were observed only when the manipulation involved irrelevant information (number of prevention/treatment options) and not relevant information (number of consequences). Furthermore, when the health issues were of greater concern, content-based rather than experience-based judgment appeared to be stimulated, and attempting to list more disease consequences resulted in higher ratings of disease severity.
[ to cite ]:
Chingching Chang (2009) ,"The Effects of Retrieval Ease on Health Issue Judgments: Implications For Campaign Strategies", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 620-620.