When message-frame fits salient cultural-frame, messages feel more persuasive

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Uskul, Ayse K. ; Oyserman, Daphna (2010)

The present study examines the persuasive effects of tailored health messages comparing those tailored to match (versus not match) both chronic cultural frame and momentarily salient cultural frame. Evidence from two studies (Study 1: n = 72 European Americans; Study 2: n = 48 Asian Americans) supports the hypothesis that message persuasiveness increases when chronic cultural frame, health message tailoring and momentarily salient cultural frame all match. The hypothesis was tested using a message about health risks of caffeine consumption among individuals prescreened to be regular caffeine consumers. After being primed for individualism, European Americans who read a health message that focused on the personal self were more likely to accept the message–they found it more persuasive, believed they were more at risk and engaged in more message-congruent behaviour. These effects were also found among Asian Americans who were primed for collectivism and who read a health message that focused on relational obligations. The findings point to the importance of investigating the role of situational cues in persuasive effects of health messages and suggest that matching content to primed frame consistent with the chronic frame may be a way to know what to match messages to.
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