Academic Writing

Entertainment Overcoming Resistance Model (EORM)

Entertainment Education programs have been found to create awareness and behavioral changes on social and health issues. The traditional definition of E-E refers to entertainment programs that are designed to convey known, prosocial effects to viewers. The wide range of definitions that describe E-E can be attributed to the variety of goals in E-E programming. Some programs are focused on informing viewers whereas others are focused on changing attitudes or behaviors.

The Extended Elaboration Likelihood Model highlights E-E’s role of resistance and narrative engagement. The Entertainment Overcoming Resistance Model was thus introduced as a way to consider how E-E programs can overcome resistance. EORM states that transportation, identification, similarity, and PSI help overcome various types of resistance to persuasion—enhancing persuasive outcomes.

The article examines how narrative transportation and character involvement reduce three forms of resistance: reactance, counter arguing, and perceived vulnerability. It compares effects between a dramatic-narrative and nonnarrative program that highlighted consequences of unplanned teen pregnancies. It revealed that the dramatic narrative reduced reactance, fostered parasocial interactions, and decreased perceptions of persuasive intent. Identification with characters in the narrative was found to reduce counterarguing— increasing perceived vulnerabilities to unplanned pregnancies. Transportation into the dramatic narrative though, was associated with counterarguing, contrary to the expectations.

Furthermore, noticing a hidden agenda to promote healthy behavior, disguised as entertainment was found to arouse reactance, while a more straightforward attempt to persuade, did not. This is an interesting find and I really liked the suggestions to address such behavior. The authors suggest that E-E creators should begin by first understanding the forms of resistance that operate within their targeted audience, since there are different types of resistance. It is suggested that perceived persuasive intent to be kept lower for audiences with high reactance and to use characters that users can bond with. Another suggestion is to focus on production features that facilitate empathy when the goal is to increase perceived vulnerability, rather than developing similar characters. These suggestions can be very helpful for E-E creators that want to communicate social issues. Being too pushy or being too cunning could turn the audience off to what you are trying to say, especially if it is a controversial topic for the viewer to begin with. So, using a charismatic character as a vehicle to carry the message seems to be a logical approach to me. The suggestion to focus less on the character but more on production features, when the goal is to increase perceived vulnerability, is a bit harder for me to grasp. Perhaps the idea is that in order to increase awareness a mere character would not suffice.

Koops van ’t Jagt, R., Hoeks, J. C. J., Duizer … (2017) conducted research to find out how a Spanish fotonovela (similar to a comic book), about diabetes communicated E-E messaging to high and low proficiency Dutch readers. The results found that when it comes to diabetes knowledge, readers of the fotonovela outperformed participants that were given a traditional brochure. This was true for both high and low proficiency readers. However, they did not score significantly higher than traditional brochure readers when it came to behavioral intentions. The researchers state that perhaps the lack of focus on measuring behavioral intentions could be a reason for the lack of visibility into behavioral significance and that in similar studies behavioral intention too had been found to be significant from E-E exposure.

I think EORM could be applied for advertising efforts, especially when advertising healthcare related products. However, if the advertisement is seen as too cunning or crafty, audiences might display reactance. So, advertising professionals would have to focus a lot on characters as well production features to evoke empathy. In practicality, this approach would be quite difficult to achieve in short 30 second – 1-minute advertisements. However, if advertising efforts were to focus on longer-formats, leveraging EORM could benefit both advertisers as well as audiences, especially when it comes to imparting knowledge.

My question to you is: would you be interested in product marketing efforts that utilize the EORM model? Where would you think such ads would be appropriate? For example, would you be receptive if an EORM ad was playing on your Facebook feed, interrupting something you were watching, or would you rather prefer that it shows up in search results when you are searching for a potential health concern? So, for example, you suspect you might have arthritis and you are trying to find more information on YouTube and happen to come across an E-E video series on YouTube about a character that suffers from similar health issues, would you prefer that piece over something that is served on your Facebook feed?


Koops van ’t Jagt, R., Hoeks, J. C. J., Duizer, E., Baron, M., Molina, G. B., Unger, J. B., & Jansen, C. J. M. (2017). Sweet Temptations: How Does Reading a Fotonovela About Diabetes Affect Dutch Adults with Different Levels of Literacy? Health Communication, 33(3), 284–290.

Academic Writing

Fear Appeals

Since 1953, fear appeals theory has undergone developments to keep up with the trends of the time. In the beginning, fear was the focus in fear appeals theories and perceived threat and perceived efficacy were introduced to the equation in the ’70s and ’80s. Past research on the subject matter was focused on conceptual and methodological issues and recent research, including the present study, focuses on quantitative methods to analyze fear appeals literature.

There are three main models of the fear appeals theory: Drive Theories, Parallel Response Models, and SEU Models. In fact, one could say there are four if one was to consider the Extended Parallel Process Model (EPPM), which draws upon elements from the former three models. Drive Theories is the oldest model that was used to explain fear appeal results. It suggested that the level of fear, aroused by a fear appeal, motivates actions. It proposed a U-shaped relationship between fear and attitude change, where a moderate amount of fear was thought to produce the most attitude change. The biggest contribution of the Parallel Response Model was the introduction of cognitive processing to the fear appeals theory. It introduced the idea that fear appeals produce danger-control and fear-control processes in subjects. The SEU models identify components and cognitive mediators that lead to message acceptance in fear appeals. The SEU models suggest that high-threat and high-efficacy produce the most message acceptance but fail to explain when and how.

I found the EPPM to be the most interesting of the models. The EPPM suggests that when people believe that they can perform the recommended response against a threat, they are more motivated to consciously think of ways to remove or lessen the threat. Usually, this means adopting the methods outlined in the message to control the danger. In contrast, when people doubt the efficiency of the recommended response or their ability to do it, they are motivated to control their fear and focus on eliminating the fear through denial.

The EPPM can be used to analyze how people have responded to the pandemic. It might also be noteworthy to pay attention to how their political affiliations and media consumption choices affect their responses to fear appeals as well. For example, the Far-Right has downplayed the threat of COVID by claiming that it is as dangerous as the common flu. They have also downplayed the effectiveness of wearing a mask to prevent the spread of the pandemic. Whereas the media outlets considered to be liberal or Left-Leaning by the Far Right have portrayed COVID as a serious threat and have promoted mask-wearing and social-distancing as effective and necessary measures to tackle it.

The findings from the metanalyses conducted by Witte, K., & Allen, M. (2000) suggest that high-threat fear, accompanied by equally high-efficacy messages is the most effective. It also suggests that feal appeals, without high-efficacy messages, run the risk of backfiring and producing defensive responses. In the light of this matter, do you think this is what happened with how the pandemic was portrayed and how it was received by American society? Was it portrayed as highly threatening and inevitable, making some people think that there’s not much they could do to protect themselves against it? Was there a lack of high-self efficacy and an overemphasis of high-threat that enabled certain Right Wing media institutions to strengthen their narrative of COVID being nothing more than the common flu or the ineffectiveness of wearing a mask? Hold on to that thought because you might want to consider the findings from the article I selected as well.

Gerjo Kok, Gjalt-Jorn Y. Peters … (2018) states that researchers have been misled in their interpretation when it comes to the effectiveness of fear appeals in promoting health behaviors. The study reviews empirical evidence to conclude that fear appeals are only effective in cases of high self-efficacy. The study uses smoking as an example to illustrate the discussion on fear appeals, with the goal of promoting political decision-making that is based on theory and evidence and suggests alternatives to fear appeals that can be used in health promotion messaging. The researchers suggest that fear appeals are more effective when combined with non-threatening messages that improve self-efficacy, which is in stark contrast to Witte, K., & Allen, M. (2000)’s recommendations.

The article provides an example of how messages related to coping tactics have garnered more attention from smokers as compared to fear appeals. Applying the suggestions from Gerjo Kok, Gjalt-Jorn Y. Peters … (2018) to the COVID responses in populations can shed some light on the behaviors we have seen in American society. What if COVID was presented in the media with a heavier focus on coping rather than fear appeals? Would such an approach have been more effective? I am aware that COVID is a different kind of danger as compared to smoking, which can be avoided solely by choice, whereas a contagious virus is at times unavoidable. That said, the spread of COVID would have been lessened if stricter measures were taken and if people had adhered to guidelines from the very beginning. Taiwan, being in such close proximity to the epicenter of the disease managed to handle the pandemic much better than the West.


Gerjo Kok, Gjalt-Jorn Y. Peters, Loes T. E. Kessels, Gill A. ten Hoor & Robert

A. C. Ruiter (2018) Ignoring theory and misinterpreting evidence: the false belief in fear appeals,

Health Psychology Review, 12:2, 111-125, DOI: 10.1080/17437199.2017.1415767

Witte, K., & Allen, M. (2000). A Meta-Analysis of Fear Appeals: Implications for Effective Public Health Campaigns. Health Education & Behavior27(5), 591–615.

Academic Writing

Elaboration Likelihood Model

Cacioppo and Petty intended ELM to be a generic theory on persuasion and attitude change. The theory is based on two assumptions about attitudes. The first is that there are people who hold correct attitudes. Correct attitudes are based on rational thought and help people in their daily functions. The second form of attitudes are based less on personal thought and more on external influences— especially on subject matter authorities. The two mental strategies that ELM poses based on these assumptions are central and peripheral routes of processing persuasive messaging.

Central route processing requires involvement by the subject when evaluating persuasive messaging. During central route processing, messaging is actively compared to prior knowledge of the matter and finally integrated or rejected based on mindful evaluation. In the peripheral processing route, participants are less motivated to self-analyze information and are influenced by peripheral cues based on source credibility or attractiveness. People cannot be categorically bucketed as central or peripheral information processes, so it is understood that people use both cues, perhaps one more than the other, in certain situations.

The chapter is more focused on how people react to political messaging and suggests that those who use more central processing are “elite” information processors compared to information “non-elites” , who are thought to be easily influenced by popularity or popular consensus. In other words, information elites do not only depend on the media to form political opinions, whereas nonelites use media as the only source when it comes to forming opinions.

“The effects of Online Reviews …”  explores how online reviews are used by males and females using the ELM models of persuasion. Here, based on prior research on gender and online behavior, paying attention to the quality of reviews is thought to be indicative of central processing (elite), whereas being persuaded by the quantity/popularity of the reviews as being indicative of peripheral (non-elite) processing.

The study, conducted in China, found that men displayed central processing when they were purchasing heuristically relevant items and were driven by the quality of the reviews more than women. Women were found to be driven by the number of reviews when basing their purchase decision. The study also found that for purchases driven by hedonic value, neither gender displayed a significance between review quality and quantity.

Being an advertising and marketing professional, I was interested in learning more about how this theory could be applied to e-commerce. The study is not without limitations, but the findings reinforce former findings of how men and women are different when it comes to persuasion processing.

ELM is a very relevant theory for digital marketers. As web and social media analytics tend to gather more and more user data, the room for influencing purchase behavior increases. ELM can be applied to personalize marketing and advertising materials to prospects. For example, users that are identified as better suited for central processing cues can receive advertising content that dives deeper into advanced use cases and configurations of a product while users that are more peripheral driven can receive more celebrity testimonials and “product in-action” type of content.

Furthermore, ELM can be used to identify purchasing behavior and product-research-preferences of users, so advertisers and marketers can serve relevant and compelling advertisements, which in turn will secure a better return on investment for advertisers while providing a more relevant ad experience for prospects.

So, my question to you is, do you think men tend to care about the quality of reviews more than women when they purchase something that serves a heuristic purpose online? The study seems to hint that men tend to care about review quality when it comes to items that are needed for practical purposes whereas they might tend to be less caring when they are purchasing something for fun. According to the study, women tend to be more driven by the number of reviews and less caring about how good the reviews are. Do you as a man or woman find yourself behaving similarly when you purchase something online?


Luo, Y., & Ye, Q. (2019). The Effects of Online Reviews, Perceived Value, and Gender on Continuance Intention to Use International Online Outshopping Website: An Elaboration Likelihood Model Perspective. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 31(3), 250–269.

Academic Writing, Miscellaneous

Cultivation Theory

George Gerbner first introduced the cultivation theory as a macrolevel system of explanation—an alternative to the micro-focused media research of his time. His approach consisted of three components: the media institutions, mass-produced messages, and the effects they cultivated on people. When first introduced, the theory focused, on a macrolevel, on broadscale institutional practices, widespread meanings, and long-term adoption. In essence, it focused on how mass-produced media messages from media institutions, when widely disseminated, shape public knowledge and belief in the long run.

Gerbner’s team was interested in primetime and children’s weekend morning programming as they analyzed entertainment programming for three commercial TV networks. They considered commercial TV as presenting a “total world of interrelated stories (both drama and news) produced to the same set of market specifications.” They also justified their choices stating that those programs had the most extensive viewership. So, in their view, any widespread meanings across the media landscape would be evident in such a sample. However, over time, researchers started to modify or even move away from certain aspects of Gerbner’s theory. The move towards a micro-focused approach is perhaps one of the most noticeable shifts. Another critical change in usage was the shift in focus from the importance of the media’s dominant meanings to constructing cultivation indicators and then testing which indicators closely relate to heavy TV viewing.

“Watching the rich and famous: the cultivation effect of reality television shows and the mediating role of parasocial experiences” by Jahng, M. R (2019), explores the relationship between reality TV exposure and college students’ beliefs on wealth and materialism. The research found that heavy viewers of reality TV consider wealth (as presented on the show) to be more prevalent and attainable than light viewers. The study also revealed that heavy reality TV viewers hold stronger materialistic beliefs than light viewers, supporting the cultivation theory’s genre-specific effects. The study and a growing number of researchers suggest that cultivation effects should be applied to specific genres rather than applying them broadly across television. The article also examines the impact of media migration by studying viewers’ interactions with reality show casts via social media. I found the article to be extremely engaging and interesting. I have never watched a full episode of reality TV. So, it was interesting to understand how reality TV influences the perceptions of heavy viewers. I also found the cultivation theory’s application to be noteworthy as it deviated from the original widespread media institution approach that Gerbner had proposed.

Social media is not just a secondary media consumption medium anymore. For some, it is the primary medium for news and entertainment—perhaps even replacing TV! Twitter allows users to consume unfiltered content from many sources and provides a hyper-focused experience to users who customize their feeds to keep up with their topics of interest. To study social media usage and its effects on people, the cultivation theory could be applied— exploring the relationship between heavy Twitter use and their beliefs on police brutality, for example. This could give journalists and media professionals more insight into how to rethink their TV content to narrow the polarization of information between audiences.

Social media advertising professionals can narrow their targeting because of the highly detailed personal information collected from social media platforms. Understanding public perceptions on social media privacy and being sensitive to those views is perhaps the best way forward for advertisers—as the ability to track and analyze a user across platforms and connected devices will only increase as more aspects of life become digitized. Most social media users are aware of cookies, tracking, and retargeting. Perhaps understanding how media messages about social media privacy affect user behaviors and perceptions could help social media platforms and advertising professionals to create better explanations of how user data is collected and used.  Macro and microanalyses of the cultivation theory can help advertising professionals garner how social media users feel about using their personal data.

Do you think heavy Twitter users care more and support the need for social justice movements such as BLM, compared to heavy Facebook users? I could rephrase this question by substituting Facebook users with heavy TV users, but I am more interested in users that have adopted new media over traditional media sources.


Jahng, M. R. (2019). Watching the rich and famous: the cultivation effect of reality television shows and the mediating role of parasocial experiences. Media Practice & Education, 20(4), 319–333.

Miscellaneous, My Digital Universe

Rock Vs. Water

Determination requires discipline and discipline requires consistency. Do the best you can and do your best to do it for the right reasons.

We can be a leaf in a stream and get taken wherever the water flows. We can also be a rock in the stream. But it’s better to be the stream.

The stream will flow where it needs to flow. It will go around the rocks or over the rocks to get there.

Consistency has power that a stale rock doesn’t. A rock can only resist. But water can overcome resistance.

A rock, that’s too heavy, cannot move. Though strong, it can only experience decay. Water sustains life. It is refreshing. It flows. It can carry. It can be useful. It can transform. If it is stored for too long, it will evaporate or seep into the soil and nourish the earth. When it is too cold, it can be hard enough to destroy the Titanic. If you boil it enough it will disinfect and get rid of the germs.

Be like water. Strength is not only what we can see or do. It is also what we can become!

Miscellaneous, My Digital Universe

Inside, looking out

The eyes reflect what the heart tries to hide,

Your thoughts won’t contain, although you fight,

Your concern for how I should fly my kite,

Is eating up the moments before your eyes.

Life is but a moment depleted,

So why focus on someone else’s misses?

Time is only moving forward,

Why not focus on your journey?

There are no secrets in life. A sincere smile shows a sincere heart. It reflects that a person has no qualms about what someone did or ought to do.

The words spoken behind someone’s back, a negative thought or dislikes cannot be hidden with a smile or a gesture.

It all shows.

There’s no magic about it. What you think of someone will show with your smile. What you told of someone will show through the one that you told it to.

Call it energy, vibes, juju … These are all ways that someone’s perception of another manifests and how the receptor experiences it.

Perhaps one solution is to not concern so much about other people’s lived experiences. Curiosity has a place. When curiosity becomes an obsession over what someone else is doing, you forget to live the very short life you have. Now you are not only meddling with the limited moments another has to experience life, but also wasting your own, on futile analysis’.

Ever wonder why faith causes so many problems in the world? It’s not so much the teachings of a faith but the application and interpretation of that faith that cause issues. Often times the application of faith is blatantly hypocritical when compared to the teachings.

Devotees are so concerned of how someone else is living their life that they feel the need to take on the role of a deity. Or, do they feel as if everyone must agree with exactly what they perceive to be correct in their minds? I don’t see an issue with someone’s firm belief that what they believe is right. However, when you impose that onto people and derive moral authority, it becomes a problem. Spiritual practices do not have measurements or evaluation procedures. For better or for worse, that leaves room for all sorts of things. If you can’t accept another human being based on their merits, I don’t mean the standards that you uphold to be worthy, but simply for who they are, perhaps you need to reevaluate your faith.

Is it a spiritual practice at that point? Or is it a crutch that you need to define who you are in terms of who someone else is?

Part of the issue lies in hierarchical view points that dominate our society. Whether we like to admit or not, modern society in general, still operates under the pretense of importance that people attach to professions, qualifications and achievements. So instead of seeing the most obvious oneness, we are programmed to compare, dissect and position ourselves in relation to those we meet.

Ever thought what a human would look like to an alien? At a glance, an extra terrestrial would categorize animals based on their common characteristics. And all humans, regardless of color, race, gender or qualifications will be categorized under one generic umbrella.

If we need faith to feel good about ourselves in relation to another, to me there’s little value in that belief. A spiritual practice, first and foremost should nourish and sustain the individual practitioner. Next, it should create harmony and unity with everything around them. It should dissolve and dismantle illogical untruths that one accumulate as they grow up in a world with conflicting opinions and ideas.

At the end, truth shouldn’t require any justification. If it requires persuasion, think twice. If something is so true, wouldn’t it be undeniable obvious? Wouldn’t it be inescapably comprehensible? Is it fair for some individuals to understand it and not others, if something is true? Or is truth like mathematics? If so, wouldn’t it be math and not the truth? Can truth be relative? If that’s the case, what’s the point of enforcing laws?

Miscellaneous, My Digital Universe

So, you think you know it all?

Don’t expect someone that didn’t see you break a sweat to understand your journey.

Sometimes it’s all about how you interpret something. For some, a journey is straightforward, so when they see someone that is curious and don’t mind getting lost, they may interpret the wanderer as someone that’s lost. But, isn’t life more about the journey and less about the destination? Then again, sometimes it’s less about the journey and more about the destination.

Some journeys, like the Annapurna circuit in Nepal, is about the journey AND the destination. Which brings me to my point: it’s always better not to jump to conclusions about another’s experiences or choices. Don’t play God.

A person’s experiences in life, what they do and why they do it, is a subjective mystery for everyone (except the person). Who can see the insides of someone’s mind, their emotional state, their true desires, to be able to accurately decipher why they chose chocolate over ice cream?

Perhaps I am one of those that feel as if I can sense the pressure of the probing eyes of those who know me, wandering what I’m doing with my life. I feel as if I can sense their judgmental (not always negative) interpretations as to what may be going on with me. Perhaps they are right. If so, they know about the inner workings of my mind and heart more than I do. But, do they really? On the other hand, they are making judgments based on their subjective understanding of the world and the even more limited understanding of who I am as a being. For in reality, we all pick and choose what we share with the external world.

We share our sense of fashion with total strangers by the way we dress (whether we intend to or not), while our smile can communicate our stress-levels to someone that’s known us for years. Since there’s no exact science (to my knowledge) that accurately decipher what’s goes-on inside someone, the goal is not to figure out how to get that information. It’s none of our business to figure out something that another person is purposely hiding. THAT, is an invasion of privacy and extremely annoying. What’s more annoying is when people THINK they know what’s going on and try to interpret or TELL the person as if they know what’s going on with them.

In my opinion, it’s better to make anyone feel at ease and accepted, so they can freely share and be themselves around us without fear of judgment. Let them define who they are to us. Listen more and remind yourself to put your interpretations in check. That will open up an opportunity for honest conversations rather than playing hide and seek. Hide and seek is best played with kids, not adult behavior.

Miscellaneous, My Digital Universe

My Sri Lankan road trip

I come from a family that loves the open road. During road trips, my two siblings and I gave my parents a headache from the time we got into our minivan. I remember packing little snacks and claiming the window seat, every time! I liked to put down the window and feel the cool breeze run across my face. In Sri Lanka, where I grew up, you could smell the ocean when you got close to the coast and smell tea when you got close to the mountains.

I live in the U.S. now, but recently my whole family went back to Sri Lanka. The kids were all grown up and the love of the open road had only gotten stronger over the years. We have been out of the country for some time and were excited to be back on the road where cattle, monkeys and even elephants made frequent appearances.

Driving in Sri Lanka is very different than driving in America. For one, people drive on the opposite side of the road (like they do in England). Unlike the straight, flat roads in Texas, Sri Lankan roads are bumpy, winding, narrow and full of surprises. Depending on which part of the island you are driving through, you can expect to see scenic mountain views with lavish waterfalls, white-sand beaches, landscaped tea estates and herds of elephants crossing the road! Ah, and… coconut trees–they are everywhere!

Everything about a Sri Lankan road trip is amazing. There are road-side vendors selling all sorts of exotic fruits, hand-made crafts, pottery, furniture, souvenirs, etc. You’ll also see cattle, water buffalo and elephants crossing the road at their leisure–so you have to watch out! And I love the paths in central Sri Lanka that are surrounded by green paddy fields and tall pine trees found at higher altitudes.

My family loves to make pit stops during road trips. It offers a chance to get out and take a few pictures or buy some fruit from a roadside vendor. When we were visiting the eastern coast of Sri Lanka on our last trip, we saw some fishermen bringing in their daily catch. So we pulled over and gave them a hand. Pulling a net full of fish is a community activity. A rhythmic dance-like movement helps the fishermen pull their catch ashore. The net is so heavy!

If you ever get a chance to visit this beautiful island, I can guarantee you one thing: you will not be bored. It is an adventure that will take you into a world of “exotic overload.”

By Cheran Ratnam

If you have a road-trip experience you want to share, tell us about it at, RoadLoans would love to go along for the ride. Don’t forget to send pictures.