Actual persuasiveness: Impact of personality, age, and gender on message type susceptibility

Ana Ciocarlan*, Judith Masthoff, Nir Oren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPublished conference contribution

19 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)


Persuasive technologies use a variety of strategies and principles to encourage people to adopt and maintain beneficial behaviours and attitudes. In this paper we investigate the influence of Cialdini’s seven persuasive principles on people’s choices, actions and behaviour. In contrast to related work investigating perceived persusaion, this study analyses actual persuasion. We also investigate the impact of personality, age and gender on people’s susceptibility to different message types. Furthermore, we investigate if people’s susceptibility to different persuasive messages is consistent over time. The findings suggest that certain persuasive principles have a greater influence on a person’s actions than others, with Reciprocity and Liking being the most effective. Our results differ from work investigating perceived persuasiveness, suggesting that what people perceive to be more persuasive is not necessarily what will persuade them to perform an action. Moreover, the study showed that people’s susceptibility to different principles is dependent on their personality traits, and it remains constant with time. The findings from this study have implications for future work on personalising persuasive strategies and designing digital behaviour change interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPersuasive Technology
Subtitle of host publicationDevelopment of Persuasive and Behavior Change Support Systems - 14th International Conference, PERSUASIVE 2019, Proceedings
EditorsHarri Oinas-Kukkonen, Khin Than Win, Evangelos Karapanos, Pasi Karppinen, Eleni Kyza
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9783030172879
ISBN (Print)9783030172879, 9783030172862
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event14th International Conference on Persuasive Technology, PERSUASIVE 2019 - Limassol, Cyprus
Duration: 9 Apr 201911 Apr 2019

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference14th International Conference on Persuasive Technology, PERSUASIVE 2019

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to acknowledge and thank all the volunteers who participated in the experiment and provided helpful comments. The first author is funded by an EPSRC doctoral training grant.


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