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Message tailoring - Definition - Functional matching hypothesis

Match = persuasive communication presents references adapted to the characteristics and needs of the receiver (interests, attitudes, beliefs, motivations, efficiency, style, etc.).


Types of message tailoring - Functional matching effect

• According to individual characteristics (eg sociodemographic, attitude)
• According to the intra-attitudinal structure (e.g., emotional vs. cognitive bases)
• According to the motivational orientation (e.g., regulatory focus)
• According to the function of the attitude (e.g., classic typology)


According to individual characteristics - Functional matching effect

the information presented is more important to us if it activates something pertinent to us


Illustration Kreuter et al. (1999)

Functional matching effect - According to individual characteristics

3 conditions:
- default condition - addresses the entire population
- mixed condition - medium degree of adaptation to the individual
- tailored condition - adapted to each individual

=> participants in the tailored condition showed a more intensive treatment of information (they paid more attention to what they were reading because it stimulated their curiosity)


Illustration Rosen (2000) Study 1

Functional matching effect - According to individual characteristics

Sedentary subjects were encouraged to exercise.

when the messages were not convincing = negative attitude towards exercising

when the messages were convincing = positive attitude toward exercising

! Convincing messages have a bigger impact on people that have a negative attitude towards exercising than on those that have a positive attitude!
-> when we have a positive attitude towards an object, even if the messages are strong, we will not care as much about them and we won't reflect on the problem because we already hold the attitudes talked about in the messages


Falomir, Mugny et Invernizzi (2002)

Functional matching effect - According to individual characteristics

when smokers have a strong cohesion/identification -> they benefit from a flexible source

when smokers have low-cohesion /identification -> they benefit from a rigid source


According to the intra-attitudinal structure - Functional matching effect

Match = impression of ease of information processing (processing fluency; peripheric cue)

Mismatch = systematic treatment (more effort)

do i chose a laptop because i like it or because it is the best? if i chose it because i like it it is affective aspect (messages should be aimed at this)- if i chose because it is the best and not expensive it is a cognitive effect (messages should be aimed at this)


Edvards (1990)

According to the intra-attitudinal structure - Functional matching effect
(match hypothesis)

affective group exposed to cognitive info
cognitive group exposed to affective info

those in affective - react positively to affective messages and cognitive - react positively to cognitive messages = match


Millar & Millar (1990)

Structure attitudinale et persuasion
(mismatch hypothesis)

- participants were classified in affective or cognitive bases depending on their answers
- participants were exposed to messages that present either cognitive or affective arguments

- attitude affective - react better to cognitive messages
- attitude cognitive - react better to affective messages



See et al (EJSP, 2013)

(intégration selon l’atitude initiale)

- Initial attitude in favour of the message increases the influence of the tailored message (match > mismatch)
(it bases the argumentation on the same base that our attitude it is based)

- Initial attitude against the message reduces the influence of the tailored message to the dimension of the attitude (mismatch > match)
(when it is opposed, it is more likely to see the opposite effect)


Clarkson et PSPB_2010 - Tendence generale

(IntégraIon selon le degré de cerItude)

match > mismatch
- we are more open to a message tailored to the base of the attitude (cognitive vs. emotional), and more resistant to a message that is not tailored


Clarkson et PSPB_2010 - Certitude comme modérateur; deux explications:

(IntégraIon selon le degré de cerItude)

Crystallization: certainty decreases change
(the more certain I am about smth, the more difficult to change my mind)

Amplification: certainty reinforces the dominant trend (match)
- High certainty= match > mismatch
- Low certainty= mismatch > match

-> if i am uncertain of the credibility of an information, it is more likely that i will not change my mind


Ryffel & Wirth (2016)

(Intégration selon la force persuasive du message)

Match > Mismatch

match = increases the ease of processing the information => impression that the message is true (heuristic processing: processing fluency = peripheral cue).

- This process occurs mainly when the argument of the message is relatively weak (because this weakness is not important during heuristic processing)

(ex:if we think that it is nice to talk to a person because it enriches ourselves - if someone says that it is nice to talk to that person (it is not a strong argument) we accept this info because it matches our own opinions)


Functional matching effect
Selon l’orientation motivationnelle

Regulatory fit (Higgins, 2000, 2005)

Relationship between an individual's motivational orientation and the strategy for pursuing an objective (or the nature of the goal)

Preference for strategies that will support its orientation: (2 motivational bases)
- promotion (e.g., hopes, aspirations, accomplishment, advancement, gains,
positive consequences) and "eager strategies" (greed, desire)
- Prevention (e.g., obligations, responsibilities, risks, losses, safety) and
vigilance strategy

- "feeling right"
- increased engagement in the activity (pursuit of the goal)


Cesario et al (2004)

Regulatory fit et cadrage du message:

1) Regulatory focus (individual difference)

2) Message : new after-school program for grade school children
(promotion) Eager condition: positive outcomes (‘there will be a greater number of students who succeed in their post-academic life choices.’)

(prevention) Vigilant condition: negative outcomes (‘there will be a lower number of students who fail in their post-academic life choices’)

3) Attitude towards the program

Results: promotion prefer eager
prevention prefer vigilant


Lee & Aaker (2004)

(Regulatory focus induced)

Message: grape juice drink

- Promotion (the energy enhancing properties of the drink)
- Prevention (the disease-preventing properties of the drink).

Tagline (eagerness vs. vigilance):
- Promotion-gain frame: “Get Energized!”
- Promotion-loss-frame: “Don’t Miss Out on Getting Energized!”
- Prevention-gain frame: “Prevent Clogged Arteries!”
- Prevention-loss frame: “Don’t Miss Out on Preventing Clogged Arteries!”

Attitude towards drink brand

promotion prefer gain frame
prevention prefer loss frame


DeBono (1987)

Selon la fonction de l’attitude -> Self-monitoring:

Functional matching effect

Social adjustive - subjects are told that 80% of population holds a certain value

Value expressive - subjects are told that hold this value should support this measure

High self-monitoring - attitudes based on social norms

Low self-monitoring - attitudes based on own values

High self-monitoring + social adjustive = if it is socially acceptable they will support the measure

Low self-monitoring + value expressive = susceptible to the argument that matches their values


Snyder & DeBono (1985)

Publicité pour une marque de wiskey

high self-monitoring + image (appeal) = willingness to pay more

low self-monitoring + quality (appeal) = willingness to pay more