To optimize effectiveness of persuasive technology, understanding also psychophysiological processes of persuasion is crucial. The current research explored cardiovascular reactions to persuasive messages using four persuasion principles proposed by Cialdini (authority, scarcity, consensus, and commitment) in a laboratory experiment. The study had a randomized within-subject design. Participants (N = 56) were presented with 4 × 14 persuasive messages while cardiovascular reactions were measured with electrocardiography. Findings showed significantly different cardiovascular arousal regarding inter-beat interval and standard deviations of normal-to-normal heart rate peaks during persuasive principles compared to baseline or startle reflex. Results show no relation between cardiovascular arousal and self-reported susceptibility to persuasion. However, during the presentation of authority-based persuasion messages, data of the first stimulus condition showed a negative correlation between self-reported susceptibility and inter-beat interval reactivity. This explorative study advances our knowledge of psychophysiological processes underlying persuasion and suggested that at least certain persuasive principles may relate to physiological changes.
Spelt, H., Westerink, J., Ham, J., & IJsselsteijn, W. (2018). Cardiovascular reactions during exposure to persuasion principles. In Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) (Vol. 10809 LNCS, pp. 267–278). Springer Verlag. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-78978-1_22