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Statistical vs. Narrative

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Kelly Madden

on 9 October 2014

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Transcript of Statistical vs. Narrative

Statistical vs. Narrative
Statistical messages often include
a major point supported by statistical evidence
Narrative messages usually contain a setting and an episode, with a main character confronting goals, plans,
acts, and outcomes
This study asks:
Which presentation is more persuasive in the context of organ donation?
Some evidence has shown statistical messages
are more persuasive
Some evidence narrative is more persuasive
Some say narratives are more persuasive because of the vividness effect (Nisbett and Ross)
Definition of vivid: perceived or felt with the freshness of an immediate experience
This study seeks to understand
the cognitive and emotional effects of both statistical and narrative messages
Some say statistical evidence
is more persuasive because
we carefully examine arguments AND
it provides us with a simple cues
Large numbers (statistics)
are more persuasive
than small numbers
(case studies, narratives)

Vivid messages lead
to more emotional
responses, better
incorporation of message
to judgments we make
Heuristic Systematic Model

HSM says that our brains process messages either systematically or through heuristics
Heuristic Route = mental shortcuts
(similar to Peripheral Route in ELM)

Systematic Route
= scrutinize information
(Similar to Central Route in ELM)
Gives our brain a workout
With narrative messages, both the problem
and the solution are presented together. Ability
to link problem with solution in real life is an example of a cognitive evaluation.
This is a systematic process.
Statistical messages led to:
more thoughts about organ donation
higher ratings of message credibility and effectiveness
higher sense of ability to solve the problem
felt they could relate to or identify with the message more
Narratives led to:
A trend toward more emotions (not statistically significant)
Statistical messages led
to heuristic and systematic
processing, which means
longer effects over time

Narratives involve emotions,
only heuristic processing so less effect over time

Combine statistical and narrative? How would you do this?
Kevin was a star member of the school's soccer team, but this season he didn't make the cut. Until recently, he smoked two packs a day.

"I used to be able to run a mile under six minutes. Now I'm lucky to make it in eight. And I'm wheezing all the way," says Kevin, who is trying to smoke less. "I want to quit. But it's not that easy."
Statistics show that
out of
tobacco users start before they're
18 years old
. Most adults who started smoking in their teens never expected to become addicted. Smoking isn't a phase.
Statistical and factual messages
may lead to
systematic processing
because message arguments are
scrutinized and considered
Statistical and factual messages
may also lead to
heuristic processing
because people may see large numbers
as cues that problem is severe.
Similarity between self and character also increases ability to link problem to solution in real life
With narrative messages, people often rely on emotion as a cue: I'm scared by this message, this health problem must be severe.
This is a heuristic process.
This is a heuristic process.
Full transcript