The effects of metaphor aptness and disease familiarity on motivation to resist persuasive vaccination communication.

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Anti-vaccination movements have been a reason to create persuasive vaccination communication. While metaphors have been shown to have persuasive effects, it should also be considered if aspects such as low metaphor aptness could contribute to resistance of vaccination communication. Additionally, it was investigated whether this differs between familiar and unfamiliar diseases. A between-subjects experiment was conducted in which the participant read a text that described the flu or tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) and contained either no metaphor, a low aptness metaphor, or a high aptness metaphor. Participants then filled out questions that measured motivation to resist persuasion (MRP). The study resulted in significantly higher MRP for TBE than the flu when the text contained no metaphor, and significantly higher MRP for the flu than TBE when the text contained a highly apt metaphor. The less apt metaphor showed no differences in MRP between the flu and TBE. The results were not in line with previous research, but plausible explanations may be found with the effects of processing fluency, risk perception, or communicator credibility.
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