When should you say “I think” and when should you say “I feel”?

Three studies explored think (“I think . . . “) versus feel (“I feel . . . “) message framing effects on persuasion.The authors propose a matching hypothesis, suggesting that think framing will be more persuasive when the target attitude or message recipient is cognitively oriented, whereas feel framing will be more persuasive when the target attitude or message recipient is affectively oriented. Study 1 presented cognitively and affectively oriented individuals with a think- or feel-framed message. Study 2 primed cognitive or affective orientation and then presented a think- or feel-framed message. Study 3 presented male and female participants with an advertisement containing think- or feel-framed arguments. Results indicated that think (feel) framing was more persuasive when the target attitude or recipient was cognitively (affectively) oriented. Moreover, Study 2 demonstrated that this matching effect was mediated by processing fluency. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Source: “”Think” Versus “Feel” Framing Effects in Persuasion” from Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 36, No. 4, 443-454 (2010)

Cialdini’s seminal book on influence is here. I also recommend his more recent release Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive.

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