Preaching Takeaways from the Latest in Social Science

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Our research roundup for pastors.

“Long-term Persuasive Effects in Narrative Communication Research: A Meta-Analysis”

Corinna Oschatz and Caroline Marker, Journal of Communication, August 2020

“A single narrative message has a stronger persuasive impact than a non-narrative message on attitudes and intentions at immediate [measurement] as well as on attitudes, intentions, and behaviors at delayed measurement. Both message types did not differently affect the participants’ beliefs.”

Our read: Narrative preaching is probably effective at helping put beliefs into action but may not be great at forming those beliefs in the first place.

“Do good causes leave bad impressions? Exploring the impact of photo frames and newsfeed updates on social impressions of Facebook users”

Kylie J. Wilson and Elizabeth L. Cohen, Communication Research Reports, September 2019

“Showing support for social causes on social network sites using photo frames or newsfeed posts could make users seem benevolent, but paradoxically, these displays could also make users seem inauthentic and self-involved. … Results show posting multiple expressions can make users seem less socially attractive. Some expressions of support can enhance users’ social attractiveness by making them seem more authentic and less self-involved, but only for female users.”

Our read: As you address social issues in your preaching, take care to avoid “cause of the week” syndrome. And if you’re addressing them to make yourself look good, people will sense it.

“The Best Laid Plans: Why New Parents Fail to Habituate Practices”

Tandy Chalmers Thomas and Amber M. Epp, Journal of Consumer Research, October 2019

“Consumers regularly …

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