Emdr Disturbs Psychological Processes of Persuasion Leading to More or to Less Actual Behavior Change


  • A. Dijkstra
  • E. Kloen
  • V. Simonetti


Background. The effects of persuasive health communications are influenced by activated self-regulatory processes. In the present study, the method of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is studied to understand these processes. It is hypothesized that EMDR disturbs these processes that take place in the working memory. Methods: Participants from a university sample (N=124) were asked to listen to the persuasive message in a randomized laboratory experiment. In the EMDR condition, they were also instructed to follow with their eyes a dot on the computer screen. Findings: The effects of EMDR on actual fruit and vegetable consumption after two weeks dependend on pretest scores on Cognitive Self-affirmation Inclination (CSAI): In people who scored high on CSAI, EMDR significantly lowered the consumption, but in people who scored low on CSAI, EMDR significantly increased the consumption. Discussion: The results suggest that EMDR disturbed defensive processes that lower persuasion in people with low CSAI, and self-affirming processes that support persuasion in people with high CSAI.






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