Communication Applications



Watch the below public service announcements (PSAs) and use the questions below to write your application paper 3. No need to describe the theory in detail — save space for your analysis. I already knew the theory and I am mostly interested in how you apply the theory to each of these PSAs.

1. Which component of the theory of reasoned action helps to describe the persuasion strategy underpinning EACH of these three PSAs? Why?

2. How do you predict the persuasive effects of these PSAs to current smokers? Briefly explain your predictions using the theory of reasoned action.

3. What would be your suggestions to increase the persuasion effects of these PSAs if we target current smokers at GSU campus? Explain clearly why.

PSA 1:

PSA 2:

PSA 3:

Some suggestions:

The first question asks you to tell if PSA 1 (then PSA2, then PSA 3) focuses on changing attitudes, or norms, or self-efficacy (that is perceived behavioral control) and why you think so. We know what attitude and self-efficacy mean in previous chapters. Now you learn about subjective norms. The TRA says you need these 3 factors to do something => this means persuasive messages to change behaviors should target not just attitudes, but also norms and self-efficacy.

Those 3 elements predict your intention to do something. The TRA also posits that these 3 factors might vary across contexts. For example, although you hate the idea of buying a diamond ring for your future wedding, you perceive that it is a norm to do so and you can buy it with your credit card (efficacy) => you’ll buy the diamond ring because the norm is so strong (everybody expects you to do so + tradition), despite the fact that you hate the practice (particularly after reading about unethical exploitation of Africans in diamond mines and watching movies like ‘Blood Diamond’).

However, in another situation, attitude may be the strongest factor influencing behavior. For example, face mask is not expensive nor difficult to wear while being effective to prevent the virus (high response efficacy), your family encourages you to wear it (norms), but you would not care because you think the virus cannot get you and wearing the mask makes you feel uncomfortable (attitude). We can clearly see that attitudes determine your mask-wearing behavior in this context, despite the presence of pro-mask norms and that you do have high mask-wearing efficacy.

Then, there are many situations where we have positive attitudes and high perceived supportive norms but do not intend to do things. Example: You have positive attitude toward running to get fit, your significant others would want you to do it (norms), but you think you can’t do it because you don’t have time (self-efficacy), does self-efficacy predict your running intention?

Similarly, many of us may like iPhone 12 (positive attitude) and perceive that significant others would like us to buy one (norms), but we simply don’t have the money (low efficacy) => Companies solve this problem through messages focusing on efficacy — telling us about low monthly payment options.

TRA is the first version of TPB (theory of planned behavior). They are basically similar.

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