“Make it Happen!” Verbs as Markers of Agency Increase Message Effectiveness

Formanowicz, Magdalena; Pietraszkiewicz, Agnieszka; Roessel, Janin; Suitner, Caterina; Witkowska, Marta; Maass, Anne (2021). “Make it Happen!” Verbs as Markers of Agency Increase Message Effectiveness. Social psychology, 52(2), pp. 75-89. Hogrefe 10.1027/1864-9335/a000435

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Verbs may be attributed to higher agency than other grammatical categories. In Study 1, we confirmed this hypothesis with archival datasets comprising verbs (N = 950) and adjectives (N = 2115). We then investigated whether verbs (vs. adjectives) increase message effectiveness. In three experiments presenting potential NGOs (Studies 2 and 3) or corporate campaigns (Study 4) in verb or adjective form, we demonstrate the hypothesized relationship. Across studies, (overall N = 721) grammatical agency consistently increased message effectiveness. Semantic agency varied across contexts by either increasing (Study 2), not affecting (Study 3), or decreasing (Study 4) the effectiveness of the message. Overall, experiments provide insights in to the meta-semantic effects of verbs – demonstrating how grammar may influence communication outcomes.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Social Neuroscience and Social Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Pietraszkiewicz, Agnieszka

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology

ISSN:

1864-9335

Publisher:

Hogrefe

Funders:

[UNSPECIFIED] Polish National Science Foundation

Language:

English

Submitter:

Agnieszka Pietraszkiewicz

Date Deposited:

12 Apr 2021 16:32

Last Modified:

12 Apr 2021 16:32

Publisher DOI:

10.1027/1864-9335/a000435

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/155201

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/155201

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