Cultural effect on persuasion


Does the culture we are living in shape the way we get persuaded? I think the mindset may be determining proneness to messages. Indeed, for example Paek, Lee, and Hove (n.d.) found the possibility that East Asians are more receptive to norm messages for reasons of their habit to seek social conformity.

Although Jansen and Verstappen (2014) did not find a dependency between fear appeal messages used for persuasion and cultural orientation, Uskul and Oyserman (2010) could demonstrate an effect of cultural priming on persuasion. The state that individualists who were focusing on individualism were more influenced by health messages concerning the self and collectivists focusing on collectivism were rather impelled by health messages related to social impacts. Therefore, to increase communication’s persuasiveness, the message recipient can be prompted situationally to remember her/his cultural orientation (Uskul & Oyserman, 2010).

According to Kwon, Saluja, and Adaval (2015) priming for individualism or collectivism is decisive in how far a message receiver is taking the message, its endorser, and the fit between these two components into account. A collectivist attitude proved to be more conscious about the message, the communicating person, and the advertised product (Kwon et al., 2015).

Coming back to the question about the effect of cultural background to persuasion, research results seem to confirm such a relation, and a more individually or collectively focused mindset could be even directly primed as part of the persuasion strategy itself.



Jansen, C., & Verstappen, R. (2014). Fear Appeals in Health Communication: Should the Receivers’ Nationality or Cultural Orientation be Taken into Account?. Journal Of Intercultural Communication Research, 43(4), 346. doi:10.1080/17475759.2014.981675

Kwon, M., Saluja, G., & Adaval, R. (2015). Who said what: The effects of cultural mindsets on perceptions of endorser–message relatedness. Journal Of Consumer Psychology (Elsevier Science), 25(3), 389-403. doi:10.1016/j.jcps.2015.01.011

Paek, H., Lee, H., & Hove, T. (n.d). The role of collectivism orientation in differential normative mechanisms: A cross-national study of anti-smoking public service announcement effectiveness. Asian Journal Of Social Psychology, 17(3), 173-183.

Uskul, A. K., & Oyserman, D. (2010). When message-frame fits salient cultural-frame, messages feel more persuasive. Psychology & Health, 25(3), 321-337.