How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Altercasting is a method of persuasion where a person is cast into another (alter) role where it is easier to persuade them or where they naturally act in desired ways.
There are two main types of altercasting:
Processes that may be used in altercasting (in either type) include:
You're a good carpenter. Can you make me a window?
You look like a kind person. Can you sign our petition against animal cruelty?
Right. You make the coffee and I'll see who'll be there.
Ow, it hurts! Look, I'm bleeding.
Altercasting makes use of social role theory, whereby we tend to conform to social expectations, including taking different roles that are placed upon us. This is very similar to Althusser's interpellation, where much social interaction involves calling one another into roles. There is also a pattern whereby we tend to see ourselves through the eyes of others, such as in the looking-glass self, then act in alignment with this view. This again reflects our desire to be like other people or to conform to their expectations of us, so that we can belong to their social group and gain esteem and consequent status.
Advertisements often use this principle of showing you how you should act, either by directly addressing you or creating sympathetic characters with whom you empathize. In this way you are drawn into desired ways of acting, which of course involves buying and using the advertised products.
Turner, M.M., Banas, J.A., Rains, S.A., Jang, S., Moore, J.L. and Morrison, D. (2010). The Effects of Altercasting and Counterattitudinal Behavior on Compliance: A Lost Letter Technique Investigation, Communication Reports, 23, 1, 1–13
Weinstein, E.A. and Deutschberger, P. (1963). Some Dimensions of Altercasting. Sociometry. 26, 4, 454–466