Persuasiveness of testimonials in donor registration awareness leaflets

C.M.J. van Hooijdonk (Speaker), Burgers, C. F. (Speaker)

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic


In the Netherlands, as in most countries, the number of people in need of an organ transplant exceeds the number of available donors. Although every Dutch adult is explicitly asked to make and register their decision about organ donation, only 33 percent of the Dutch population has done so (Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport, 2014). To advocate donor registration, promotional materials often contain positive testimonials of different type of sources, like physicians (professional experts), people having received a donor organ (experiential experts) and celebrities (celebrity endorsers). We investigate the persuasive impact of using these different types of experts. A total of 152 respondents participated in an experiment in which they were randomly assigned to one of the conditions in a 3 (source: professional expert vs. experiential expert vs. celebrity endorser) x 2 (photo: with vs. without) between-subjects design. Respondents were presented with an information leaflet containing two sections. The first section was equal across conditions and provided information about organ donation and donor registration. The second part contained one of three testimonials which expressed the shortage of donor organs and the importance of registering a decision on organ donation. In half of the conditions the testimonials were accompanied with a photo of the source. After reading, respondents filled out a questionnaire that measured source credibility and the persuasiveness of the message (attitude towards organ donation/intention to register). Finally, respondents were given the opportunity to actually fill out the registration form. The results indicate that the perceived credibility of the professional and experiential expert was higher than that of the celebrity endorser. Furthermore, when controlling for participant age, we found positive indirect effects of both the professional and experiential expert (vs. celebrity endorser) on attitude towards organ donation, intention to register and actual
Period12 Jun 2014
Event titleTABU-dag
Event typeLecture