Sunday, August 9, 2009


There are a number of ways people can be persuaded to adopt a behavior. As learned in class, the persuasiveness of a message depends on the message characteristics. A person's response depends on whether they are effected by these characteristics which can include a fear-inducing message; a message that presents one or both sides of an argument; a message with a lot of detail, or simple argument; a serious or humorous message.

When people are exposed to a message, they do one of two things: they make a snap decision because they barely think about the message, or they make a decision after thinking about the message a lot.

The Coalition for Cellphone-Free Driving is based in Alberta, Canada. The coalition was formed in 2005 by a group of graduate students at the University of Alberta. The coalition, a group of organizations and companies, is commited to reducing cellphone use while driving. The group is led by Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti. The coalition has created a website that addresses the problem, using a cellphone while driving. They effectively pair their resesearch, studies and firshand accounts with video to illustrate the hazards of using the cellphone while driving. They do a good job of using persuasion messages: fear; preripheral route processing; central route processing to help the driver reach the conclusion: CELLPHONES AND DRIVING ARE A DEADLY MIX. (Please click on website Resources: Fatal Distraction to view videos.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Classical conditioning states that if a stimulus is introduced and it causes some type of emotional response, when we introduce a second stimulus that does not cause an emotional response, the second stimulus will result in the same emotional response as the first.

Therefore, when the cell phone is introduced as the first stimuli, an individual responds in a positive manner because the cell phone will offer them the ability to stay connected, communicate, with others while they are driving. The second stimuli, the headset, when introduced, and if it repeatedly paired with the cell phone, will eventually produce the same positive response.

Cell Phone = Positive Response
Headset = Positive Response
Subliminal messages are used to influence people. These messages are embedded in advertisements and traditionally they have been used to get the consumer to buy products. If somehow subtle images, were included in conventional cell phone advertisements, would the consumer's unconscious mind be influenced? Could subliminal messages after being viewed by an individual who uses the cell to stay connected with others while driving, somehow help change that behavior?
When people see an ad pairing a product with something positive, the association will be very strong. So, if using the cell phone while driving is reptetively paired with danger, car crashes, and lost of life on our highways, that pairing should be very strong. It should help those of us who use the cell phone while driving change our behavior. So far, this has not been the case. Perhaps ad campaigns, and stronger messages need to be "louder", and front and center so that all get the message.

Monday, August 3, 2009


If images of people using headsets while operating a motor vehicle are displayed repetitively, we will begin to view this behavior as positive, and more people will use the headsets while driving. They will develop a positive response.


The "jury is still out" on whether or not subliminal messages effect behavior, using a cell phone while driving. If images like these, although not subtle, are somehow embedded in "Shut Up and Drive" messages, flashed, and displayed repetitively will they influence the driver? Not sure.

Sunday, August 2, 2009



In our society celebrities often influence our behavior. So when we see Cameron Diaz, talking on a headset, or David Beckham being photographed using a hands-free device, many especially the young, are influenced by their behavior and begin to emulate them.


Headsets, Bluetooth, hands-free devices, that allow drivers to pay attention to the road and talk at the same time are technological fixes that have become extemely popular in the last five years or so. Those who must talk while they are driving outfit themselves with these devices in order to avoid being ticketed. There are some downsides though, consumers, often complain about reception. So it takes some shopping around in order to purchase one that fits an individual's needs.

There are other devices that may deter teen cell phone usage while driving. The Key2Safe driving device, which has provisional patents, is a device that not only detects, but disables all phones while a vehicle is in motion. Another device, the Owner Compliance Key, has a similar concept.
However, there are new reports now that these hands-free devices may not be as much of a deterrent as previously thought. Crash data is showing that there is no advantage tousing these devices.


States have incorporated social engineering tactics to try to reduce the number of drivers driving and using their cell phones, but these tactics have not been successful thus far. For example, in 2007 there were as many as 7,000 drivers stopped for cell phone violations in Connecticut. Some offenders got off light as they were not even ticketed for the violation; many others who received tickets did not pay!

The media, too, has stepped up its campaign against driving and talking on cell phones by continually citing reports that offer more evidence that driving and chatting do not mix.


The first cell phone prototype was invented in 1973 by Dr. Marvin Cooper, an employee of Motorola. The prototype was called Motorolo Dyna-tac. Dr. Cooper has been credited with being the first person to ever place a call on this mobile phone. Ten years later the FCC authorized cell phone service in the United States.

In 1984, cell phones were marketed to the public. The phones were quite expensive. Their big price tag - a whopping $3,500 ensured that only those with big incomes could afford to buy them. These cell phones looked very different than they look today. They were big, 16 oz., cumbersome devices and they were very hard to handle. The mobile cell units were actually installed in cars, usually in the front console and were connected by a curly cord that was in the way.

Dr. Cooper's invention has had both a positive and negative impact on society.

Friday, July 24, 2009


I'm sure most of you have had this experience. You're driving along, you look over at the car moving along next to you, and the driver is busy "yukking" it up on a cell phone and negotiating his car at the same time. I don't know about you, but this infuriates me! The driver on the phone is breaking the law in the state of Connecticut if he's not using a headset. The driver on the phone is jeopardizing his own safety and yours as well.

Studies have shown that when someone is talking on a cell phone, or texting and driving, the risk of that person having a car accident is four times greater than if he/she were not using the cell. We all know this - there is no question, talking on a cell phone, or texting while driving can cause accidents - endanger the driver's life, and other's also. That's why many states including Connecticut have laws on their books that restrict the use of cell phones while driving. The law was enacted to help save lives and the law clearly states:

  • Drivers 18 years of age and older need hands-free accessories to legally use cell phones or mobile electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle.

  • New drivers who are 16 or 17 years of age are restricted from using any type of cell phone or mobile device while driving even with hands-free accessories.

There are some exceptions which deal with emergency usage. But other than emergencies, if someone is caught breaking the law, they could receive a ticket, at least a 30-day suspension of their driver's license and they may be required to attend an operator retraining class if there are other violations. Check out CT laws