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      Reactance to Social Authority in Entertainment-Education Media: Protocol for a Web-Based Randomized Controlled Trial


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          Entertainment-education media can be an effective strategy for influencing health behaviors. To improve entertainment-education effectiveness, we seek to investigate whether the social authority of a person delivering a health message arouses the motivation to reject that message—a phenomenon known as reactance.


          In this study, using a short animated video, we aim to measure reactance to a sugar reduction message narrated by a child (low social authority), the child’s mother (equivalent social authority to the target audience), and a family physician (high social authority). The aims of the study are to determine the effect of the narrator’s perceived social authority on reactance to the sugar reduction message, establish the effectiveness of the video in improving behavioral intent to reduce the intake of added sugars, and quantify participants’ interest in watching the entertainment-education intervention video.


          This is a parallel group, randomized controlled trial comparing an intervention video narrated by a low, equivalent, or high social authority against a content placebo video and a placebo video. Using a web-based recruitment platform, we plan to enroll 4000 participants aged between 18 and 59 years who speak English and reside in the United Kingdom. The primary end points will include measures of the antecedents to reactance (proneness to reactance and threat level of the message), its components (anger and negative cognition), and attitudinal and behavioral intent toward sugar intake. We will measure behavioral intent using list experiments. Participants randomized to the placebo videos will be given a choice to watch one of the sugar-intervention videos at the end of the study to assess participant engagement with the entertainment-education video.


          The study was approved by the ethics committee of Heidelberg University on March 18, 2020 (S-088/2020). Participant recruitment and data collection were completed in December 2020. The data analysis was completed in April 2021, and the final results are planned to be published by August 2021.


          In this trial, we will use several randomization procedures, list experimentation methods, and new web-based technologies to investigate the effect of perceived social authority on reactance to a message about reducing sugar intake. Our results will inform the design of future entertainment-education videos for public health promotion needs.

          Trial Registration

          German Clinical Trials Registry DRKS00022340: https://www.drks.de/drks_web/navigate.do?navigationId=trial.HTML&TRIAL_ID=DRKS00022340.

          International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID)


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          Most cited references48

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          Gorilla in our midst: An online behavioral experiment builder

          Behavioral researchers are increasingly conducting their studies online, to gain access to large and diverse samples that would be difficult to get in a laboratory environment. However, there are technical access barriers to building experiments online, and web browsers can present problems for consistent timing—an important issue with reaction-time-sensitive measures. For example, to ensure accuracy and test–retest reliability in presentation and response recording, experimenters need a working knowledge of programming languages such as JavaScript. We review some of the previous and current tools for online behavioral research, as well as how well they address the issues of usability and timing. We then present the Gorilla Experiment Builder (gorilla.sc), a fully tooled experiment authoring and deployment platform, designed to resolve many timing issues and make reliable online experimentation open and accessible to a wider range of technical abilities. To demonstrate the platform’s aptitude for accessible, reliable, and scalable research, we administered a task with a range of participant groups (primary school children and adults), settings (without supervision, at home, and under supervision, in both schools and public engagement events), equipment (participant’s own computer, computer supplied by the researcher), and connection types (personal internet connection, mobile phone 3G/4G). We used a simplified flanker task taken from the attentional network task (Rueda, Posner, & Rothbart, 2004). We replicated the “conflict network” effect in all these populations, demonstrating the platform’s capability to run reaction-time-sensitive experiments. Unresolved limitations of running experiments online are then discussed, along with potential solutions and some future features of the platform. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.3758/s13428-019-01237-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
            • Record: found
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            On the Nature of Reactance and its Role in Persuasive Health Communication

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              Toward a Theory of Entertainment Persuasion: Explaining the Persuasive Effects of Entertainment-Education Messages


                Author and article information

                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Research Protocols
                JMIR Publications (Toronto, Canada )
                May 2021
                28 May 2021
                : 10
                : 5
                : e25343
                [1 ] Heidelberg Institute of Global Health Heidelberg University Heidelberg Germany
                [2 ] Department of Pediatrics Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, CA United States
                [3 ] Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai New York, NY United States
                [4 ] Africa Health Research Institute Durban South Africa
                [5 ] Department of Global Health and Population Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA United States
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Alain Vandormael alain.vandormael@ 123456uni-heidelberg.de
                Author information
                ©Alain Vandormael, Maya Adam, Violetta Hachaturyan, Merlin Greuel, Caterina Favaretti, Jennifer Gates, Till Baernighausen. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (https://www.researchprotocols.org), 28.05.2021.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Research Protocols, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on https://www.researchprotocols.org, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

                : 25 November 2020
                : 19 December 2020
                : 4 January 2021
                : 25 February 2021

                entertainment-education,sugar reduction,reactance,animated video,list experiment


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