Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Internet-Based Persuasion Assignment

Joe Chemo The topic of this assignment is Internet-based persuasion, and the challenge is to offer a social-psychological critique of an interactive web site that attempts to persuade people not to smoke. Successful completion of this assignment will add eight points to your course total.

To complete the assignment, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the web site and:

    • Test your Tobacco IQ
    • Get your personalized Smoke-o-Scope
    • Explore the rest of the web site

  2. Drawing on course material from the textbook and lectures, submit a one-page typewritten paper (double-spaced using 12-point font and 1" margins) that discusses the web site's strengths and weaknesses in persuading people not to smoke. For example, you might answer questions such as:

    • Which feature of the web site -- the Tobacco IQ Test, Smoke-o-Scope, E-Card, or something else -- is most persuasive, and why?

    • How does the web site compare with more traditional methods of persuasion such as television commercials, billboard advertisements, and other techniques?

    • Is the web site more persuasive when it comes to (a) preventing nonsmokers from smoking or (b) getting smokers to kick the habit?

    • What effect did the web site have on you personally?

    • Can you think of ways to make the web site more persuasive?

    When drafting your paper, be as specific as possible and cite psychological research and theory when relevant.

Important Note: This assignment is intended to be engaging and informative, but please remember that you can opt out of it if you prefer. As stated in the course syllabus: "If at any point you prefer not to complete an assignment (or if your attempt to complete it is unsuccessful), you can still receive full credit by turning in a one-page report discussing the barriers that prevented you from carrying out the assignment."

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