Social Scientific Approaches


The article by Joseph N. Scudder discussing different social scientific approaches to persuasion breaks down different models and single variable approaches to persuasion which I will be using to analyze my artifact.  The social scientific theory uses empirical methods to study persuasion which means to validate information from experience and observations, using statistical and experimental methods (Scudder, 2013).  Within the single variable approaches to persuasion, a certain message effect looks to be true when it comes to medication advertisements on television.  The message effect I am talking about is the primacy-recency effect.  This effect discusses that the most important part or piece of information should come first, this is known as the primacy effect.  The recency effect is the information given at the end which too, has an impact.  Primacy-recency effect could be an example of making one remember something from the message, whether it be the beginning or end.  The artifact I have decided to analyze is Lunesta a sleep aid.  Many of us know this medication by seeing the green transparent butterfly that flies around the commercial helping people get a good night’s rest.  The advertisement discusses the medication good and bad.  The first time I saw this commercial I enjoyed it because of the green butterfly and the woman’s voice talking throughout the advertisement.  The commercial has a persuasive value to it in that it shows average people finding it hard to sleep and begins with the question of are racing thoughts keeping you up and are you waking up in the middle of the night?  It also, gives a feeling of calmness even when the advertisement is talking about all the scary side effects that could come with taking this medicine.  The primacy effect of this advertisement could be the questions being asked in the beginning of the commercial.  This catches people’s attention in the sense they are either relating or not with the questions, which then leads them to watch the rest of the advertisement and possibly be persuaded to research the medication more and end up trying it as well.  The recency effect could be the offer a zero co-pay or the statement of getting a good night’s rest.  In this case the people already watching and being persuaded more and more to try this medication may have made their decision once they saw that offer.  In this advertisement both the primacy and recency effects play a role in persuaded people to use Lunesta as a sleep aid.  Also, when people see that green butterfly we think of Lunesta, which in the end has a persuasive value to it.  The social scientific theory discusses many ways on how to change a person’s view on a certain topic or item, and I think a person who does not agree with sleep aids may be persuaded to change their mind with this advertisement especially if they had never tried a sleep aid and just heard sleep aids were bad.  Changing someone’s point of view can be hard, but with the right persuasion tools anything is possible.

Kaitlyn Everett

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