When Visual Communication Backfires: Psychological Reactance to Visual Imagery

Item Type Journal paper
Abstract Although many persuasive messages make use of imagery, very little is known about the potential for the visual components of an appeal to induce reactance. This study explored that issue by examining the effects of three message variations – camera angle (low vs. eye-level), antithesis (vs. thesis) (i.e., the juxtaposition of contrasting images), and facial expression of emotion (anger vs. happiness) – on reactance and subsequent persuasion. A repeated-measures experiment (N=240) using pro-environmental appeals found that variation in each of the visual features was associated with increased perception of threat to freedom and reactance as well as decreased persuasion. Political conservatives felt more threatened by any message than liberals, but there was no indication that they were differentially sensitive to image variations. The study demonstrates effects across a range of visual variations and, in so doing, opens the door for a programmatic analysis of imagery and reactance.
Authors Bünzli, Fabienne; Li, Yuwei; Dillard, James P. & Eppler, Martin
Journal or Publication Title Under review at Human Communication Research
Language English
Subjects business studies
information management
social sciences
behavioral science
Refereed Yes
Date 2022
Contact Email Address fabienne.buenzli@unisg.ch
Depositing User Dr. Fabienne Bünzli
Date Deposited 12 Nov 2021 13:47
Last Modified 16 Sep 2022 20:11
URI: https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/publications/264789

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Citation

Bünzli, Fabienne; Li, Yuwei; Dillard, James P. & Eppler, Martin (2022) When Visual Communication Backfires: Psychological Reactance to Visual Imagery. Under review at Human Communication Research,

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https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/id/eprint/264789
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