An important question in marketing research is how one might get consumers to like or dislike certain products. One possibility is that consumers like products that become associated in their mind with something that they already perceive to be positive. This sort of association is referred to as ‘evaluative conditioning’. Typically a neutral stimulus, such as a new brand or product, is paired with a positive stimulus, such as a favoured celebrity, and this allows some of the positive feelings and attitudes associated with the celebrity to be transferred to the product. The current study explores whether the principles of evaluative conditioning can be used to increase people’s liking of a new education channel logo.
Previous research has shown that ‘evaluative conditioning’ can be successfully used to influence participants’ attitudes and behaviour. For instance Chen et al. (2012) examined the impact of pairing an image of a celebrity with that of a sporting event on how positive people subsequently felt about the event. Participants viewed a short slideshow of images representing a sporting event (baseball or basketball), popular celebrities and distractor images such as landscapes. The images were shown in pairs. Those in the experimental condition always saw the sports event paired with the images of celebrities while in the control condition, the sport-related image was paired with a neutral images. Chen et al. (2012) found that those who had seen the sporting events paired with celebrities were subsequently more positive about the sports events than those in the control condition.
Another study, by Hollands et al. (2011), showed that evaluative conditioning can have an impact not just on people’s attitudes but also on their behaviour. They showed participants a brief slideshow of images of unhealthy snacks paired with images illustrating the negative consequences of unhealthy eating (the experimental condition) or paired with a blank screen (the control condition). They found that significantly more participants who had seen the images of snack foods paired with negative consequences subsequently made healthy eating choices than those who had been in the control condition. They conclude that the principles of evaluative conditioning can be used to improve people’s eating behaviour, at least in the short term.
The current study considers the effectiveness of evaluative conditioning in a specific, applied context. DE100 module team is launching an educational internet TV channel called DE100 IPTV. DE100 IPTV will show popular programmes relevant to psychology. The team has come up with a logo, and the aim of the current study is to explore whether the principles of evaluative conditioning can be used to make the logo more attractive to the audience. To address this question, an experiment similar to that by Chen et al. (2012) was conducted.
Although the current project followed the Chen et al. (2012) study design very closely, there were some differences. Different stimuli, specifically relevant to the topic of the study, were created and used. For instance, the positive image included a picture of happy students dressed in graduation gowns, rather than that of a celebrity, and the ‘neutral’ images included photographs of everyday objects. Also, the procedure was modified to reduce the time needed to complete the task, thereby reducing the possible effects of boredom. So, in the experiment, participants in the experimental condition always saw the DE100 IPTV logo paired with the positive image of graduating students, while in the control condition, the logo was paired with one of the neutral images.
The hypothesis was that significantly more participants in the experimental condition would report liking the DE100 IPTV logo than those in the control condition.
Between-participant design experiment was conducted because the participant participated either the experimental or the control condition.
Independent variable was whether the participants saw the graduation image paired with the image of the DE100 IPTV logo or they did not see it.
The dependent variable was whether participants like the DE100 IPTV logo after viewing the slide show or they did not like it.
The independent variable was built up from two conditions. In the experimental condition, the participants watched the slideshow where the IPTV logo paired with the bright graduated student. In the control condition the participant has watched the same slideshow, but this time the IPTV logo was paired with a neutral picture. All participants were tested in the same premises. The identity of the tester was the same as well. They have watched the identical slideshow depends on their condition group.
The data of the experiment were provided by the module team. It is presumed all the ethical guidelines were followed. Participants were recruited from family and acquaintances network. They have not been received any payment or incentives. Psychologist student or who heard about the experiment of Chen et al.’s, were not included. Forty participants took part in the study between age nineteen to sixty-six. The mean age was 38.5 years. Twenty-two were female, and eighteen were male. Twenty participants were randomly directed to the experimental, twenty to the control condition. There were no participants whose first language was not English.
The experiment was conducted in the research room of the John Radcliffe Hospital. The participant sat front of the desk opposite the experimenter. A laptop was used to play the video file -which was edited by the DE100 module team- every participant watched slideshow according to their designated group. The participants who were appointed to the experimental condition watched the video where the IPTV logo was paired with the positive image. The participants who were in the control condition watched the video where the IPTV logo was associated with the neutral picture. On the side of the experimenter was a folder with the participant consent form and the instruction of the experiment and the debriefing form about the real nature of the experiment. After seeing the video file, the participants were asked, whether they like the IPTV logo or not. Their answer was recorded on the response form where the only option was `yes` or `no.’
Participants were randomly allocated to the control or experimental condition and were tested one at a time in a quiet space with few distractions.
The experiment was described to the participant, and they were told they had the opportunity to withdraw at any time. Each participant heard the same instruction that they should ‘Watch the slideshow from beginning to end without interruption.’
The experimental or control condition slideshow was then played. Participants saw images of fictional internet TV channel logos, neutral everyday objects and a positive image of graduating students.
The order of presentation of the images was random in the control condition. In the experimental condition, the DE100 IPTV logo was always paired with the positive image of graduating students.
Each image was presented five times for 3 seconds. The slideshow took 4 minutes, and the full session was no longer than 15 minutes.
After watching the slideshow, participants were asked to complete the response form stating whether they liked the DE100 IPTV logo or they did not like it.
The purpose of the experiment was then explained to them in greater detail, and they were given the opportunity to ask any questions and withdrew their data from analysis.
This study investigated the relationship between pairing the DE100 IPTV logo with a positive image (the experimental condition) or a neutral image (the control condition) and whether participants subsequently said they liked that logo (yes or no). The hypothesis was that more participants in the experimental condition would like the DE100 IPTV logo compared to those in the control condition. The number of participants falling into the resulting four categories was recorded. The data are summarized in Table 1.
Table 1?Number of participants who liked/did not like the DE100 IPTV logo by experimental condition
Experimental (positive image) Control
Did participant like the logo? Yes 14 7
No 6 13
Table 1 shows that the proportion of participants who saw the DE100 IPTV logo paired with a positive image and subsequently said that they liked the logo (14 out of 20 or 70%) was greater than the proportion of control participants who said they liked the logo (7 out of 20 or 35%).
A chi-square test was conducted to investigate the effect of condition on participants’ responses. The result of the test was statistically significant: X2(1,??N=40)=4.91,?p<.05, V=.35, which means that there was a significant difference between the experimental and control condition in terms of how many participants reported liking the logo. The effect size was moderate. Therefore the hypothesis is accepted.