Author(s): Petraglia J
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Abstract A topic gaining attention in the field of education has been that of "authenticity"-the creation of learning environments that provide learners with richer and more realistic contexts in which to apply knowledge and practice skills. The subject of authenticity has yet to attract much attention in the field of public health and specifically in health communication and education, although these fields have long experience with the problem of getting audiences to translate knowledge into action. This article reviews the rationale for an interest in authenticity as it relates to health communication and education and notes that "authenticity" does not inhere in information but is an appraisal made by a member of the public who is persuaded to view the information as especially relevant to his or her health behavior and consonant with his or her prior experiences. This article argues that a public health communicator or educator can encourage such appraisals by using narrative formats that provide rich contextualization. But contextualizing behavior change information in the form of stories is not enough; there is a dialogic dimension to persuasion that aids in the process of authentication. Creating opportunities for dialogue between behavior change narratives and their audiences has its own challenges, but nonetheless deserves to be a priority in public health.
This article was published in Health Commun
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals