Seminar Series: Effects of experientiality in health communication

Anja Kalch

When are exemplars useful? Effects of experientiality in health communication

Health information often uses person-centered arguments to exemplify that other people are in a similar situation. But is it always useful to refer to other people’s experiences?

A long tradition in literature about narratives in health communication assumes that presenting human exemplars for prevention behavior increases persuasion effects. However exemplars range from short direct references to a person, or a quotation to long personal stories. Besides formal features, such as length and story elements, these evidence types give different insights into personal experiences, especially in terms of motivations and goal orientations (experientiality).

This seminar discusses the different types of personalisation and exemplification in health communication, and introduces experientiality as a theoretical concept to differentiate persuasion processes. Empirical results will be presented.

Anja Kalch studied Communication Science and Social Science at the University of Erfurt. Her master thesis focused on the effects of narrative health prevention messages embedded in a narrative television context. In 2010 she worked as a research and teaching assistant at Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen. Since October 2010 she has worked as a research and teaching assistant at Augsburg University at the Department of Media, Knowledge and Communication. Her PhD project focuses on the form and effects of personal experiences in health prevention messages.

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