Marketing Papers

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



This article examines whether drawing attention to specific parts of appeals for prosocial behavior (i.e., “message splitting”) can increase their effectiveness. Results of four experiments support this idea. Using attention-grabbing cues to guide attention toward the benefits of compliance and away from the costs increased message recipients’ willingness to donate cans of food to a community food drive (Experiment 1), volunteer time to help improve the environment (Experiments 2 and 3) and volunteer time to help further scientific inquiry (Experiment 4). Results of Experiment 4 underscore the proposed mechanism by showing that this message splitting technique reduces, rather than increases, compliance when used to direct attention toward the costs of compliance. Implications for research on information processing, helping behavior, and influence are discussed.


This is an unpublished manuscript.



Date Posted: 15 June 2018