The Psychology of Persuasion: Vivid Messages
Are Not Necessarily More Persuasive
While on the way to get a cup of coffee, a solicitor approaches you.
The solicitor is from a nonprofit. The solictor has information with
pictures and stories. Would you be persuaded to make a donation to
It may seem intuitive that a message will be more persuasive when
presented in a vivid manner than a pallid manner. Using concrete
language and pictures may grab our attention. The problem is that
there is little evidence to suggest that the vividness of a message affects
the persusasiveness of the message.
In their review of studies on vividness, Taylor and Thompson (1982)
found little support for the vividness effect. Most of the studies
reported in their review article found no effect of vividness on
persuasion. This stands in contrast to our view that vividness
messages are more persuasive.
Rather than trying to make a message more vivid, messages could be
made more cogent. Solid evidence and a convincing rationale could be
provided to support a view.
Taylor, S. E., & Thompson, S. C. (1982). Stalking the elusive
"vividness" effect. Psychological Review, 89, 155-181.