Narrative voice matters! Improving smoking prevention with testimonial messages through identification and cognitive processes.

Publication TypeJournal Article
Año de publicación2020
AuthorsIgartua, JJ, Rodríguez-Contreras, L
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Start Page7281

Narrative messages are increasingly being used in the field of tobacco prevention. Our study is based on narrative persuasion and aims to analyze the psychological mechanisms that explain why the narrative voice is relevant to promote persuasive impact. An online experiment with a 2 (narrative voice) × 2 (message) factorial design was carried out. Participants (525 adult smokers) were randomly assigned to two experimental conditions (first-person versus third-person narrative message). To increase the external validity of the study, two different messages were used within each condition. After reading the narrative message the mediating and dependent variables were evaluated. Participants who read the narrative in the first person experienced greater identification. Moreover, mediational analysis showed that both counterarguing and cognitive elaboration played a significant role in the relationship between narrative voice, identification, and persuasive impact. This study confirm that narrative voice is not only an anecdotal formal choice but that it indirectly affects variables related to tobacco prevention, due to the fact that first-person messages activate a mechanism of affective connection with the message (increasing the identification with the protagonist) that decreases resistance to prevention (the counterarguing process) while simultaneously stimulating reflection or cognitive elaboration