An experimental investigation of the role of distraction and dilution

PaglieriStudies on persuasive arguments have generally found that claims supported by high-quality evidence are better accepted than claims supported by low-quality evidence. However, an experiment by Hoeken and Hustinx (2007) demonstrated that this effect was only observed in short texts (a claim with evidence), but not in longer texts (where information unrelated to the evidence was added at the end of the text). The present experiment was conducted to examine whether this effect of text length could be explained by distraction (the additional text at the end distracts the reader) or by dilution (the additional text makes the fragment less diagnostic for claim evaluation). Participants (N = 629) read two texts with a claim supported by high-quality or low-quality (anecdotal, statistical, or expert) evidence. The text was presented in one of the three versions: (1) short, (2) long with additional information at the end, or (3) new in comparison to Hoeken and Hustinx (2007) – long with additional information at the start. The data found support for the distraction explanation. An effect of evidence quality on claim acceptance was observed in two conditions: in the short text, and in the longer text with additional information at the start. The effect of evidence quality was not found in the longer text with additional information at the end.

  • Hornikx, J. (2016). Evidence quality variations and claim acceptance: An experimental investigation of the role of distraction and dilution. Paglieri, F., Bonelli, L., & Felletti, S. (eds.), The psychology of argument: Cognitive approaches to argumentation and persuasion (pp. 211-222). London: College Publications. [paper book]

A normative framework for argument quality: Argumentation schemes with a Bayesian foundation

syntheseIn this paper, it is argued that the most fruitful approach to developing normative models of argument quality is one that combines the argumentation scheme approach with Bayesian argumentation. Three sample argumentation schemes from the literature are discussed: the argument from sign, the argument from expert opinion, and the appeal to popular opinion. Limitations of the scheme-based treatment of these argument forms are identified and it is shown how a Bayesian perspective may help to overcome these. At the same time, the contributions of the standard scheme-based approach are highlighted, and it is argued that only a combination of the insights of different traditions will yield a complete normative theory of argument quality.

  • Hahn, U., & Hornikx, J. (2016). A normative framework for argument quality: Argumentation schemes with a Bayesian foundation. Synthese, 193 (6), 1833-1873. [link]

The potential effect of cultural priming on the effectiveness of cultural value adaptation

JCMS_coverIn international advertising, there has been a long-standing debate about standardization versus adaptation. A prominent empirical line of research addressing this issue has revealed that adapting advertisements to important cultural values is beneficial for persuasion and ad liking. Strikingly, this effect is absent for Western Europeans. The present study examines if Western Europeans are sensitive to cultural value adaptation in advertising if individualism-collectivism is primed prior to exposure to the ad. An experiment was conducted in which an ad with an individualist or a collectivist value appeal was presented after exposure to irrelevant primes or to primes consisting of images expressing individualism-collectivism. Results were in line with existing studies: no effect of adaptation was found, even after cultural priming. The results were interpreted through the cultural perspective of dynamic constructivism, according to which the European context may explain why Europeans are as positive about incongruent value appeals as congruent appeals. The experiment adds to the body of research indicating that value adaptation in advertising is not beneficial for marketers in the Western European region.

  • Hornikx, J., & Nijhuis, J. (2016). The potential effect of cultural priming on the effectiveness of cultural value adaptation in advertising. Journal of Cultural Marketing Strategy, 1 (2), 180-188. [link]

Consumer tweets about brands: A content analysis of sentiment tweets about goods and services

JCCSocial media allow consumers to easily share positive or negative information about a brand with other consumers, for instance through Twitter. Such Twitter use is a source of information that may affect the brand reputation. Therefore, it is important to gain more understanding of how Twitter is employed to evaluate brands and to communicate these evaluations with others. Previous research on Twitter use has shown that tweets about brands are more likely to be positive than negative. The present study integrates an agenda-setting perspective with studies on word-of-mouth and services marketing, which have suggested that this finding may be different for services than for goods. A quantitative content analysis of 1920 Dutch tweets for 24 different brands was performed. The analysis showed that services receive significantly more negative sentiment tweets than products. Implications of these results for monitoring consumers are discussed.

  • Hornikx, J. & Hendriks, B. (2015). Consumer tweets about brands: A content analysis of sentiment tweets about goods and services. Journal of Creative Communications, 10 (2), 176-185. [link]

The curiosity-evoking capacity of foreign languages in advertising

dujal_pbIn commercial messages, such as advertisements, foreign languages are sometimes displayed. Regardless of whether readers understand the foreign language utterance, researchers have claimed that such foreign language display evokes curiosity to read the ad, and improves ad and product evaluation. Whereas empirical research has established the impact of foreign language display on evaluation, no studies have been conducted on its curiosity-evoking capacity. In this research note, the importance of this capacity is highlighted, and a first study is presented that tested this capacity. The results did not find support for the curiosity-evoking capacity of foreign language display.

  • Hornikx, J., & Mulder, E. (2015). The curiosity-evoking capacity of foreign languages in advertising. Dutch Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4 (1), 59-66. [link]

Non-nativeness in communication: Use and effects of foreign languages in advertising

dujal_pbOne of the linguistic consequences of globalization is the increase in the number of people communicating with each other in a language that is not their own. Studies have started to examine how non-nativeness affects people in their production and evaluation of discourse. This special interest section brings together a collection of empirical papers in a particular domain of non-nativeness in communication, that is, the use and effects of foreign languages in job and product advertisements. These papers investigate how the use of foreign languages is appreciated by non-native users, what determines the occurrence of foreign languages, how recall of foreign languages compares to the recall of L1 advertising, and whether foreign languages attract the readers’ curiosity. Together, these papers demonstrate the growing academic interest in non-nativeness in communication.

  • Hornikx, J. (2015). Non-nativeness in communication: Use and effects of foreign languages in advertising. Dutch Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4 (1), 1-5. [link]

Foreign language display in advertising from a psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic perspective

9781466682627When targeting consumers on a global scale, companies make strategic use of languages in their advertising campaigns. This chapter presents an overview of theories and research regarding the effectiveness of the use of foreign languages (foreign language display, FLD) in advertising. The aim is to bring together theories and empirical studies from various domains, and to show principled explanations for the effectiveness of FLD from two perspectives. The first, psycholinguistic perspective examines the way in which foreign languages in advertising are mentally processed; the second, sociolinguistic perspective links the foreign language use to characteristics of the country where the foreign language is typically spoken. This chapter presents empirical evidence for the benefits and drawbacks of FLD, and identifies areas for further research.

  • Hornikx, J., & Meurs, F. van (2015). Foreign language display in advertising from a psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic perspective: A review and research agenda. In J. M. Alcántara-Pilar, S. del Barrio-García, E. Crespo-Almedros, & L. Porcu (Eds.), Analyzing the cultural diversity of consumers in the global marketplace (pp. 299-319). Hershey: IGI Global. [link]

Review of “The Sage handbook of persuasion: Developments in theory and practice (2nd edition)”

About ten years after The persuasion handbook: Developments in theory and practice (Dillard & Pfau, 2002), James Dillard and Lijiang Shen publish an updated, new version. In their SAGE Handbook of persuasion, they host a collection of 23 chapters that deal with fundamental issues in persuasion, that present a panorama of important theories and perspectives, and that demonstrate the importance of persuasion in diverse contexts and settings. […] Finally, how does this book relate to other books? For practical advice on how to design messages, Persuasive messages: The process of influence by William Benoit and Pamela Benoit (reviewed in this journal: Hornikx, 2008), nicely complements this handbook. For precise avenues that future research should focus on, Persuasion by Daniel O’Keefe (also reviewed in this journal: Hornikx, 2003) is excellent reading, but it does not outline the important contexts and settings in which persuasion plays a role, such as politics, health, and technology. In the broad spectrum of persuasion books on offer, this SAGE Handbook of persuasion is among the most prominent ones: written by some of the best scholars in the field, it covers a wide range of topics in a concise manner.

  • Hornikx, J. (2013). Review of “The Sage handbook of persuasion: Developments in theory and practice (2nd edition)” by James Dillard and Lijiang Shen. Information Design Journal, 20 (2), 187-189. [link]

English loanwords and their counterparts in Dutch job advertisements

BossenbroekA question which has not yet been addressed in loanword studies is to what extent people perceive loanwords as having different meanings than their native-language equivalents, and on what factors this may depend. Two factors determining association overlap between equivalent L1 and L2 words are their concreteness and cognateness. The aim of the current study was to determine experimentally to what extent English loanwords from Dutch job ads evoke the same associations as their Dutch equivalents, and to what extent this association overlap is predicted by the degree of concreteness and cognateness of these words. In an experiment, 60 Dutch participants wrote down associations with 30 English loanwords selected from corpora of Dutch job ads and with their Dutch counterparts, in two sessions separated by a six-week interval. As a baseline, they also wrote down three associations with English/Dutch word pairs which Van Hell and De Groot (1998) had found evoked a relatively small and a relatively large proportion of overlapping associations, respectively. The degree of concreteness and cognateness of these words was determined in separate norming studies involving 129 Dutch participants. It can be concluded that – in line with the Conceptual Feature Model – Dutch people have different associations with English loanwords from Dutch job ads than with their Dutch equivalents, and therefore link them to different conceptual features. The results showed that the mean overlap in associations between the English loanwords from Dutch job ads and their Dutch equivalents was 21.6%. This was significantly less than the percentage for the word pairs for which large overlap had been expected (30.6%), and similar to the percentage for the word pairs for which little overlap had been expected (21.4%). Regression analyses revealed that the degree of association overlap was significantly predicted by cognateness but not by concreteness.

  • Meurs, F. van, Hornikx, J., & Bossenbroek. G. (2014). English loanwords and their counterparts in Dutch job advertisements: An experimental study in association overlap. In Zenner, E. & Kristiansen, G. (Red.), New perspectives on lexical borrowing: Onomasiological, methodological and phraseological innovations (pp. 171-190). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter (pdf online).

Germans are not sensitive to the quality of statistical evidence

JOCC coverFor a long time, research in communication and argumentation has investigated which kinds of evidence are most effective in changing people’s beliefs in descriptive claims. For each type of evidence, such as statistical or expert evidence, high-quality and low-quality variants exist, depending on the extent to which evidence respects norms for strong argumentation. Studies have shown that participants are sensitive to such quality variations in some, but not in all, cultures. This paper expands such work by comparing the persuasiveness of high- and low-quality statistical and expert evidence for participants from two geographically close cultures, the Dutch and the German. Study 1, in which participants (N = 150) judge a number of claims with evidence, underscores earlier findings that high-quality is more persuasive than low-quality evidence for the Dutch, and – surprisingly – also shows that this is less the case for the Germans, in particular for statistical evidence. Study 2 with German participants (N = 64) shows again they are not sensitive to the quality of statistical evidence, and rules out that this finding can be attributed to their understanding of the rules of generalization. Together, findings in this paper underline the need to empirically investigate what norms people from different cultures have for high-quality evidence, and to what extent these norms matter for persuasive success.

  • Hornikx, J., & Haar, M. ter (2013). Evidence quality and persuasiveness: Germans are not sensitive to the quality of statistical evidence. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 13 (5), 483-501. [linkpdf upon request]