kimberley crofts

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an information and communication designer living in London

Age as a factor

Notes from Input and Output Variables Currently Promising for Constructing Persuasive Communications McGuire 2001

Maximum suggestibility occurs at around age 9 (Eron, Huesmann, Brice, Fischer, Mermelstein, 1983) and conformity kicking in at age 12. Adolescents are particularly suggestible, particularly politically (Krosnick & Alwin, 1989). As people get older they become less susceptible to persuasion as they are more critical of messages. Interestingly, education increases the ability of people to comprehend messages and they are then more likely to conform to the message. The example they give is the war ads of the 1940s that apparently had more influence with the more educated (Hovland, Lumsdaine & Sheffield, 1949). I think that there would be many other factors that would contibute to this however, such as a sense of duty and the ability to leave one’s family and go off to war. Surely the lower educated classes would not be able to afford this?

Seeing as it is the adolescents and children that are likely to have to deal with the problems of climate change (more than their parents), perhaps it is time to focus more on them in communications.

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