Media Technology MSc

MSc Thesis


Normative Social Influence in Persuasive Technology: Intensity versus Effectiveness


Thijs Waardenburg and Robbert Winkel




Persuasion is a form of social influence that implies intentional but voluntary change of a person’s behaviours, feelings or thoughts about an issue, object or action. Successful persuasion by means of persuasive technology relies on a number of factors and motivators. Recently, the so called social acceptance or rejection motivator has formed the backbone of a new type of persuasion, called Mass Interpersonal Persuasion, or MIP for short. This type of persuasion uses the social influence that is generated on online social networks to persuade people. Though it has been established that normative social influence can be used effectively in persuasive technology, it is unknown if the application of more social pressure also makes it more effective.

In order to test the hypothesis that the effectiveness of persuasion increases when the persuasion becomes more intense, a quantitative experiment was conducted on the online social network of Facebook. Although evidence to support the hypothesis was found, it cannot be concluded from this experiment that - when utilizing normative social influence in persuasive technology - more intense persuasion is also more effective.


Full Reference

Thijs Waardenburg and Robbert Winkel , "Normative Social Influence in Persuasive Technology: Intensity versus Effectiveness", Master's Thesis for the Media Technology programme, Leiden University (The Netherlands), 2011