Blinded Me with Science: Trivial Graphs and Formulas Make Ads More Persuasive

Tal, Aner and Brian Wansink (2016), “Blinded with Science: Trivial Graphs and Formulas Increase Ad Persuasiveness and Belief in Product Efficacy,” Public Understanding of Science, 25:1, 117-125.

19 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2014 Last revised: 29 Apr 2017

See all articles by Brian Wansink

Brian Wansink

Cornell University

Aner Tal

Cornell University

Date Written: September 24, 2014

Abstract

Appearing scientific is persuasive, even when unmerited. Including simple elements such as graphs (studies 1-2) or a chemical formula (study 3) increased belief in a medication’s efficacy. This appears to be due to the association of such elements with science, rather than increased comprehensibility, use of visuals, or recall. Further, study 2 shows a these effects are moderated by a person’s belief in science. Overall, the studies contribute to past research by demonstrating that even trivial elements can increase public persuasion even when they do not indicate scientific expertise or objective support.

Keywords: media and science, public understanding of science, rhetoric of science and technology, science and pop culture, science communications, scientific literacy, persuasion

Suggested Citation

Wansink, Brian and Tal, Aner, Blinded Me with Science: Trivial Graphs and Formulas Make Ads More Persuasive (September 24, 2014). Tal, Aner and Brian Wansink (2016), “Blinded with Science: Trivial Graphs and Formulas Increase Ad Persuasiveness and Belief in Product Efficacy,” Public Understanding of Science, 25:1, 117-125.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2500965 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2500965

Brian Wansink (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Aner Tal

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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