“Fear and Loving in Las Vegas: Evolution, Emotion, and Persuasion” – Griskevicius et al. (2009)

Perspectives on persuasion:

  • General arousal model – “arousal should inhibit deep processing & increase effectiveness of diagnostic heuristics”
  • Affective valence model- “effectiveness should depend on whether the context elicits positive or negative affect”
  • Evolutionary model (own) – “persuasiveness should depend on both the specific emotion that is elicited and the content of the particular heuristic”

Evolutionary model:

  • Functionality
  • Domain-specificity
  • “From an evolutionary perspective, emotions are conceived as activators of executive motivational sub-systems that direct energy in ways designed to deal with particular kinds of adaptive problems (Cosmides and Tooby 2000; Keltner et al. 2006)”.

Hypotheses (quoted):

  • H1: Fear should lead social proof appeals to be more persuasive compared to when such appeals are not used.
  • H2: Fear should lead scarcity appeals to be less persuasive compared to when such appeals are not used.
  • H3: Romantic desire should lead scarcity appeals to be more persuasive compared to when such appeals are not used.
  • H4: Romantic desire should lead social proof appeals to be less persuasive compared to when such appeals are not used.
  • H5: Although behavioral social proof appeals (“everybody’s doing it”) should be more persuasive under fear (H1) and less persuasive in a state of romantic desire (H4) relative to a neutral emotion control, the persuasiveness of attitudinal social proofappeals (“everybody’s talking about it”) should not differ as a function of emotion.
  • H6: Although distinctiveness-based scarcity appeals (“stand out from the crowd”) should be more persuasive in a state of romantic desire (H3) and less persuasive under fear (H2) relative to a neutral emotion control, the persuasiveness of limited opportunity scarcity appeals (“limited time offer”) should not differ as a function of emotion.

* Evolutionary approach to marketing.

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