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Anti-smoking TV ads should use anger, study suggests

Date:
April 29, 2014
Source:
Dartmouth College
Summary:
Anti-smoking television advertisements that appeal to viewers' emotions are more persuasive when they use anger rather than sadness, a study suggests. Previous studies have shown emotional expression is a crucial part of persuasion, and that audience members' perceptions of emotions affect their attitudes and behaviors. Previous research also has shown anti-smoking TV ads that convey negative emotions such as anger and sadness are more effective than non-emotional approaches.
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FULL STORY

Anti-smoking television advertisements that appeal to viewers' emotions are more persuasive when they use anger rather than sadness, a Dartmouth-Cornell study suggests.

The study appears in the Journal of Health Communication.

Previous studies have shown emotional expression is a crucial part of persuasion, and that audience members' perceptions of emotions affect their attitudes and behaviors. Previous research also has shown anti-smoking TV ads that convey negative emotions such as anger and sadness are more effective than non-emotional approaches.

In the new study, researchers from Dartmouth College's Geisel School of Medicine and Cornell University examined how viewers process those negative emotions. They produced anti-smoking TV ads in which an actor delivered anti-smoking messages to 115 college students with either anger or sadness by using different vocal tones and facial expressions. To measure the role of emotions in the ads, the researchers manipulated the actor's expressed emotions while keeping the story the same.

Results showed the anger-framed ad was more effective because it increased the perceived dominance of the speaker, which increased anti-smoking attitudes and predicted strong intentions not to smoke. The findings also showed participants who watched the anger-framed message didn't find the actor likable or empathetic, but those factors were not associated with intention to quit smoking.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Dartmouth College. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sunny Jung Kim, Jeff Niederdeppe. Emotional Expressions in Antismoking Television Advertisements: Consequences of Anger and Sadness Framing on Pathways to Persuasion. Journal of Health Communication, 2014; 1 DOI: 10.1080/10810730.2013.837550

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Dartmouth College. "Anti-smoking TV ads should use anger, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140429133813.htm>.
Dartmouth College. (2014, April 29). Anti-smoking TV ads should use anger, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140429133813.htm
Dartmouth College. "Anti-smoking TV ads should use anger, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140429133813.htm (accessed April 27, 2015).

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