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Vividness effect on communication
How concrete and colourful language can influence people’s judgements
Participants in this experiment were asked to judge
the fitness (or unfitness) of a parent
They read transcripts of record...
Please assess the
parental fitness of
this woman
Participants were split into two groups
The first group read transcripts that gave extra vivid
details on the positive int...
How
sweet they
have matching
t-shirts!
She obviously
takes an interest in
what he’s passionate
about
Kids
have bumps
and scrapes all
the time
The school
nurse took good care
of him as you would
expect
The second group read transcripts that gave extra
vivid details around the negative events
They were just given the facts ...
This is a
pretty normal
bedtime
routine
I would
expect all parents to
help brush their
child’s teeth
I wonder
how he scraped
his elbow?
The school
nurse spilt
Mercurochrome while
cleaning up his scrape
– his mother should
h...
The facts remained identical in all scenarios however
those who heard vivid details for positive interactions
rated the mo...
Conclusions
1. The jurors made different judgements based on irrelevant vivid
details given in arguments
2. The extra deta...
Reference
Can the availability heuristic explain vividness effects?
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 51 (1986)...
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Vividness effect on communication

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How concrete and colourful language can influence people's judgements

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Vividness effect on communication

  1. 1. Vividness effect on communication How concrete and colourful language can influence people’s judgements
  2. 2. Participants in this experiment were asked to judge the fitness (or unfitness) of a parent They read transcripts of recordings describing a mother living with her seven year old son The transcripts contained 8 arguments for and 8 arguments against the mother
  3. 3. Please assess the parental fitness of this woman
  4. 4. Participants were split into two groups The first group read transcripts that gave extra vivid details on the positive interactions between the mother and her son e.g. brushing her son’s teeth at night They were just given the facts for the negative arguments e.g. her son visiting the school nurse to tend to a scratch on his elbow
  5. 5. How sweet they have matching t-shirts! She obviously takes an interest in what he’s passionate about
  6. 6. Kids have bumps and scrapes all the time The school nurse took good care of him as you would expect
  7. 7. The second group read transcripts that gave extra vivid details around the negative events They were just given the facts for the positive interactions between the mother and her son For both groups the extra details were carefully designed to be irrelevant in terms of judging the mother’s parental fitness
  8. 8. This is a pretty normal bedtime routine I would expect all parents to help brush their child’s teeth
  9. 9. I wonder how he scraped his elbow? The school nurse spilt Mercurochrome while cleaning up his scrape – his mother should have taken care of him first.
  10. 10. The facts remained identical in all scenarios however those who heard vivid details for positive interactions rated the mother as a fitter parent (5.8 out of 10) Those who heard vivid details for negative events rated the mother as a less fit parent (4.3 out of 10)
  11. 11. Conclusions 1. The jurors made different judgements based on irrelevant vivid details given in arguments 2. The extra details made it easier for jurors to recall particular arguments (either positive or negative) and made these arguments more credible 3. This is an example of the availability heuristic in action – immediately available examples having a disproportionate effect on the jurors overall assessment
  12. 12. Reference Can the availability heuristic explain vividness effects? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 51 (1986) 26—36 Jonathan Shedler and Melvin Manis

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