TULIPS – The Utrecht Logic in Progress Series

Upcoming Talks


Indicative conditionals in health communication

Should a health campaign emphasise the potential gains from compliance (e.g., ‘If you give up smoking, you’ll reduce your risk of lung cancer’) or the potential losses from non-compliance (e.g., ‘If you don’t give up smoking, you won’t reduce your risk of lung cancer’)? A large literature on so-called goal framing, or message framing, holds that such messages are equivalent (!) but should be persuasive in different contexts (see, e.g., Gallagher & Updegraff, 2012). For example, according to the influential risk-matching hypothesis (Rothman & Salovey, 1997), gain frames should be used with behaviours perceived to be low in short-term risk, and loss frames should be used with behaviours perceived to be high in short-term risk. As the risk-matching hypothesis has struggled to find support, calls have arisen for new theoretical frameworks (Nan et al., 2018; van’t Riet et al., 2016). We argue for an alternative approach grounded in research on conditionals, the linguistic vehicle of goal frames. We dispute the assumption that frames convey equivalent information and argue that frames must be interpreted in context to understand their persuasive effects. We make a first step towards this alternative approach. (Joint work with Peter Colins and Ulrike Hahn).

​Time: 15.30 – 17.00

Location: Janskerkhof 13, room 0.06 (Stijlkamer)