Fear and Loving in Las Vegas: When Fundamental Motives Lead Basic Persuasion Heuristics to Backfire

How are persuasion heuristics influenced by arousal-inducing contexts such as TV programs? A general arousal model predicts similar effects for all arousing content; an affect model predicts opposite effects for content eliciting positive versus negative affect; a functional evolutionary model predicts specific effects for content related to particular arousal-inducing motives. Three experiments examined how viewing fear-inducing or romantic content influenced the effectiveness of two common persuasion heuristics—scarcity (e.g., “last chance to buy”) and social proof (e.g., “most popular”). Results supported predictions from a functional evolutionary model, whereby fear-inducing content led social proof appeals to be counter-persuasive, and romantic content led scarcity appeals to be counter-persuasive.


Vladas Griskevicius, Noah Goldstein, and Chad Mortensen (2008) ,"Fear and Loving in Las Vegas: When Fundamental Motives Lead Basic Persuasion Heuristics to Backfire", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 181-184.


Vladas Griskevicius, Arizona State University
Noah Goldstein, University of Chicago
Chad Mortensen, Arizona State University


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35 | 2008

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