The Following Message Might Make You Mad: Forewarning and Inoculation Against Reactance
Turner, Monique M
MetadataShow full item record
If a persuasive attempt, be it a commercial advertisement, a Public Service Announcement, or a major public health campaign, threatens individuals' perceived freedom to make their own choices, psychological reactance can cause the attempt to be ineffective or even to backfire. Extant research points to two major ways of reducing reactance, the first being weakening the language of the persuasive message, and the second offering a freedom-restoring postscript. In the present research, a method to nip reactance in its bud by forewarning and inoculating individuals against their impending reactant state is proposed and experimentally tested. The data suggested that forewarning individuals against reactance made them more reactant, but inoculating them had no effect. In terms of boomerang effect, forewarning and inoculating seemed to work (marginally) for women, but backfire for men. Implications are discussed.