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Social Signals, Personal Choices: Matching Messages with Motives

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Presented at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media – August 2011

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Social Signals, Personal Choices: Matching Messages with Motives

  1. 1. Social Signals, Personal Choices: Matching Messages with Motives Jennifer Tucker, Ph.D. Presented at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media – August 2011
  2. 2. Session Goals <ul><li>Describe reversal theory , a structural model focused on motivation, emotion and change </li></ul><ul><li>Use reversal theory model to systematically evaluate different health and risk communication pieces </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What motive is the piece trying to evoke? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What might the piece unintentionally trigger? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the risks of “message backfire” and how might that be mitigated? </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. What is Reversal Theory? <ul><li>Psychological theory focusing on motivation and emotion </li></ul><ul><li>Structural model with eight motivational states, organized into pairs of opposing motives </li></ul><ul><li>Stresses changeability: You reverse between states as the meaning to attach to a situation changes </li></ul><ul><li>Positive and negative emotions linked to whether your motives are met or not: Change states to change emotion </li></ul><ul><li>Examples of research base: smoking cessation, seat belt use, adherence to exercise programs, disordered eating </li></ul>
  4. 4. Reversal Theory Model <ul><li>Motivated by goals and future impacts? You’re in Serious state. Motivated by the fun of the process and moment? You’re in Playful state. </li></ul><ul><li>Motivated by rules and knowing what’s expected? You’re in Conforming state. Motivated by freedom, pushing back? That’s Rebellious state. </li></ul><ul><li>Motivated by power and ability – for yourself or another? You’re in Mastery state. Motivated by care and compassion? That’s Sympathy state. </li></ul><ul><li>Motivated by your own needs? You’re in Self state. Motivated by someone else’s needs? You’re in Other state. </li></ul>Conforming Rules = Comfort Values Belonging & “Should Dos” Mastery Power, Ability Values Control & Strength ENDS- MEANS Serious Future Focused Values Goal Achievement Self Self-Oriented Values Personal Accountability Rebellious Freedom Values Change & Independence Sympathy Relationship, Care Values Compassion & Connection Other Values Giving, Generosity & Others’ Needs Playful In-the-Moment Values Fun & Excitement ME-YOU Relationships POWER-CARE Transactions RULES- FREEDOM
  5. 5. Serious and Playful <ul><li>Serious messaging focuses on risk avoidance, consequences, goals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Backfire Risk : Perceived as fear-mongering. When consequences are too scary, they can be paralyzing or just make people laugh. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Playful messaging makes the message fun and stresses immediate action steps </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Backfire Risk : Perceived as trivializing risks, wasting time and money, or devaluing people struggling with particular condition. </li></ul></ul>ENDS- MEANS Serious Future Focused Values Goal Achievement Playful In-the-Moment Values Fun & Excitement
  6. 6. Conforming and Rebellious <ul><li>Conforming messaging focuses on rules, proven procedures, “should do’s” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Backfire Risk : Predictability can lead to complacency. Can trigger anger against “Big Brother.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rebellious messaging pushes against status quo and calls for change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Backfire Risk : Perceived as undermining the establishment or blaming the system. May cause people to question your facts/statistics. </li></ul></ul>Conforming Rules = Comfort Values Belonging & “Should Dos” Rebellious Freedom Values Change & Independence RULES- FREEDOM
  7. 7. Mastery and Sympathy <ul><li>Mastery messaging focuses on empowering ability, strength, and solutions for self or other </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Backfire Risk : Perceived as insensitive to real people, too focused on the science or tactics, or overly violent in imagery. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sympathy messaging focuses on compassion and caring for self or other </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Backfire Risk : Can make people feel sorry for themselves or have empathy for others without knowing what to do. </li></ul></ul>Mastery Power, Ability Values Control & Strength Sympathy Relationship, Care Values Compassion & Connection POWER-CARE Transactions
  8. 8. Self and Other <ul><li>Self messaging focuses on empowering individuals to take action and/or care for themselves </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Backfire Risk : Perceived as “blaming the victim” or overwhelming for those with low self-efficacy or empowerment. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other messaging focuses on “do it for family, your kids, the greater good” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Backfire Risk : Can make the motive too abstract, can undermine personal responsibility and accountability. </li></ul></ul>Self Self-Oriented Values Personal Accountability Other Values Giving, Generosity & Others’ Needs ME-YOU Relationships
  9. 9. Zombie Apocalypse (CDC) Playful, Conforming, Mastery, Self <ul><li>http://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2011/05/preparedness-101-zombie-apocalypse/ </li></ul>
  10. 10. Reactions Can Be Predicted…. And Used to Anticipate and Respond to Negative Comments <ul><li>May 17, 2011 at 5:00 pm ET  -   Trevor </li></ul><ul><li>Using the zombie apocalypse is a fun way to get people thinking about the basics of being prepared for an emergency. </li></ul><ul><li>While I have yet to meet a zombie, I have been through a couple of power outages. </li></ul><ul><li>Link to this comment </li></ul><ul><li>May 17, 2011 at 5:18 pm ET  -   Bo </li></ul><ul><li>A “zombie apocalypse?” Is this for real? My tax dollars funding CDC nonsense? What’s next, Preparedness 102 – Mall Ninja’s Unite? Give me a break. </li></ul><ul><li>Link to this comment </li></ul>
  11. 11. Seatbelt Awareness Serious, Rebellious (In Creation)/Conforming (In Desired Impact), Sympathy, Other <ul><li>“ Embrace Life was deliberately developed to provide a counter-point to the hard-hitting 'shock and awe' advertising so common to road safety.” http://www.sussexsaferroads.gov.uk/safer-for-all-drivers/embrace-life-seatbelt-campaign.html </li></ul>
  12. 12. Breast Cancer Prevention Video Serious, Rebellious, Mastery, Self <ul><li>Sequence of screen shots from Breast Cancer Awareness Video </li></ul><ul><li>We face more choice for everything </li></ul><ul><li>According to experts, the vast majority of breast cancer can be attributed to environmental and life style choices. </li></ul><ul><li>Choose to use less plastic </li></ul><ul><li>Choose to be your own advocate </li></ul><ul><li>Keep a Breast Foundation - Non Toxic Revolution: http://www.kabntr.org/ </li></ul><ul><li>Video with Reversal Theory Analysis: http://reversaltheory.net/RT/reversal-theory-training/keep-a-breast/ </li></ul>
  13. 13. Planning Your Message, Anticipating Impact <ul><li>Motivated by goals and future impacts? You’re in Serious state. Motivated by the fun of the process and moment? You’re in Playful state. </li></ul><ul><li>Motivated by rules and knowing what’s expected? You’re in Conforming state. Motivated by freedom, pushing back? That’s Rebellious state. </li></ul><ul><li>Motivated by power and ability – for yourself or another? You’re in Mastery state. Motivated by care and compassion? That’s Sympathy state. </li></ul><ul><li>Motivated by your own needs? You’re in Self state. Motivated by someone else’s needs? You’re in Other state. </li></ul>Conforming Rules = Comfort Values Belonging & “Should Dos” Mastery Power, Ability Values Control & Strength ENDS- MEANS Serious Future Focused Values Goal Achievement Self Self-Oriented Values Personal Accountability Rebellious Freedom Values Change & Independence Sympathy Relationship, Care Values Compassion & Connection Other Values Giving, Generosity & Others’ Needs Playful In-the-Moment Values Fun & Excitement ME-YOU Relationships POWER-CARE Transactions RULES- FREEDOM
  14. 14. Making Contact <ul><li>Reversal Theory Resources: Resources and Articles: http://typetalk.com/oka/2010/06/05/reversal-theory-motivation/ Video Clips: http://www.reversaltheory.net Research Community: http://www.reversaltheory.org </li></ul><ul><li>Speaker Contact Information: Jennifer Tucker, Ph.D. E: jtucker@tuckertalk.net T: @4tuckertalk </li></ul>

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