The main aim of this experiment will be to determine the effects of physical attractiveness on persuasion. The hypothesis for the study states that physical attractiveness of the person on the advert tends to have a positive influence on the persuasion of the target audience.
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The participants for the research will comprise of 100 undergraduate students and five selected female models for running an advertisement that will be used in the assessment of the level of persuasion. The experimental design will make use of a matched subject design with independent variable being the ratings for the physical attractiveness, while the dependent variable being the ratings for the level of persuasion.
Basing on the on the conventional view that what is physically attractive is good, and the use of attractive people in persuasion scenarios such as advertising, television presenters and communicators is an effective approach to increase persuasion, a hypothesis will be developed in order to assess the effects of physical attractiveness on the level of persuasion.
This experiment will use advertising as a way of measuring persuasion. Basing on this, the hypothesis states that the physical attractiveness of the person in the advertisement tends to have a positive influence on the attitudes of the target audience towards the product that is being advertised.
Hypothesis: The physical attractiveness of a person used in an advertisement imposes a positive influence on the persuasion of the target audience.
The participants of this research will mainly comprise of 100 undergraduate students, comprising of 50 males and 50 females, who will be required to assess the level of physical attractiveness of the people used in the advertisement, after which their level of persuasion for the product being advertised will be assessed, which in this case will be to persuade the undergraduate students to open a student’s bank account for a specific bank.
A total of 5 female models of varying levels of physical attractiveness will be used for running the advertisements. The models will be selected from a range of fashion magazines in order to offer diverse physical characteristics that are used to measure the level of physical attractiveness basing on their hair, physical outlook, facial expression and complexion.
The experimental design will make use of a matched subject design, which significantly relies on the different experimental test subject groups being subjected to a specific treatment. The core objective behind the rationale of the design is that its helps in eliminating the probability of an influential variable imposing negative effects on the results.
- Independent variables: Ratings for the physical attractiveness (denoted by PAr) of the models to be used in the advertisement, which will be based on the average rating responses of the students on the selected models.
- Dependent variable: The Ratings for the level of persuasion of the different adverts by the different models (denoted by LOPr). This will be obtained by the average of the rating responses regarding the level of persuasion of the test students after viewing the advert.
Prior to the study, it is important to note that the consent of the participants will be needed with the main objective of eliminating instances of discomfort. This implies that the experimental research will take into consideration the principle of voluntary participation. Anonymity will also be preserved and that the experiment will not pose any potential harm to the participants.
In order to assess the level of physical attractiveness, the student participants will be pre-tested in order to assess the variations in the physical attractiveness of the models that will be used in the video advertisement. This will be done by a slide show of the female models to be used in the advert after which the students were issued with questionnaires to rate their level of physical attractiveness.
The assessment will be based on range scale from zero to four, with zero indicating unattractive while 5 indicating very attractive. The mean of the scales will be used to determine the level of the physical attractiveness of the female models to be used in the advertisement.
After the female models have been classified basing on the levels of their physical attractiveness in accordance with the pre-test assessment, an advertisement that runs for about 20 seconds will be created with the main objective of persuading the students to open a student’s bank account with the specified local bank.
This means a total of five advertisements will be created with the different models in different advertisement. It is important to note that the advertisements will be made under similar conditions, with the only difference being the female models used in communicating the message.
The participant subjects will be divided into five groups comprising of 20 students, with each group having 10 males and 10 female students.
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The advertisements run by the five different female models will be allocated randomly to the five subject groups, who will be supposed to view the advertisement and report the levels through which the advertisements managed to persuade them to open up student’s bank account with the local bank.
In order to assess the level of persuasion, students will range from a scale of 0 to 2, with 0 indicating not convinced, 1 indicating fairly convinced and 2 indicating totally convinced. The average of the scale for each group of the test subjects will be obtained and matched with the average of the scales obtained during the pretest to ascertain the level of physical attractiveness of the persons used in the advertisements.
The level of physical attractiveness for the female models for the advertisement will be rated by the use of likert scales of range between 0 and 4, zero will denote very unattractive, 1 will denote fairly unattractive, 2 will represent attractive, 3 will represent fairly attractive while 4 will represent very attractive.
The student participants will be asked to rate the level of physical attractiveness of the female models to be used in the advertisement basing on the above likert scale ratios. The mean value for each of the model will be obtained from the questionnaires in order to rate their level of physical attractiveness. This measure will serve as an independent variable for the experiment.
The level of persuasion after the subjects viewing the advert will be assessed using a likert scale of range between 0 and 2, 0 will be used to indicate not convinced, 1 will be used to indicate fairly convinced while 2 will be used to indicate fairly convinced.
The averages of the likert scales for the five groups of the test subjects will be obtained in order to determine effect of physical attraction on persuasion through a comparison with the level of attractiveness. This will serve as the dependent variable for this experiment.
Hypothesis: The physical attractiveness of a person used in an advertisement imposes a positive attitude of the target audience towards the product that is being advertised.
In the event that the hypothesis will be supported, the results will be noted by a positive correlation between the level of persuasion and the ratings for physical attraction. This implies that high ratings for physical attractiveness will report high ratings for persuasion and lower ratings for physical attractiveness will report lower rating of persuasion for the target audience.
The contribution of this research proposal will be of significant benefit to the field of consumer research, communication via mass media and in education set ups. Further research will be needed in order to increase the accuracy of the research by increasing the size of the participants and the scope of the research to include aspects such as personality and physical attractiveness.
Srinangesh, K. (2006). The principles of experimental research. New York: Butterworth Heinemann.