L'empathie virtuelle: Une condition d'optimisation de l'implication des récepteurs de messages de prévention ?

Pénélope Daignault, Guy Paquette


The level of receivers' involvement towards advertisements aimed at preventing risky behaviours (e.g. speeding, drinking and driving, unprotected sexual relations) largely determines the nature of the emotional and cognitive processes linked to information processing. In a high-involvement situation, the receiver relates to the message's content, a vicarious experience that relies on empathetic abilities, such as role taking and transposition. Thus, we advance that the empathy level is an indicator of one's involvement potential. We tested this hypothesis with 233 participants from the province of Quebec, in a road safety advertisements exposure context. The lnterpersonal Reactivity Index (Davis 1980), to which we added a sub-scale allowing us to measure a virtual dimension of empathy, was used to measure the participants' empathy level (low, moderate, high). The perceptual analyzer and the spontaneous cognitive responses technique were used to evaluate the emotional and cognitive dimensions of involvement. Results show that the very empathetic participants are generally more involved towards the messages than the less empathetic participants. 


persuasion; social marketing; involvement; empathy

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Studies in Communication Sciences | ISSN: 1424-4896