Fear appeals motivate acceptance of recommendations: evidence for a positive bias in the processing of persuasive messages

E. Das, J.B.F. de Wit, W. Stroebe

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

194 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Three experiments are reported that tested the hypothesis that the use of fear appeals in health persuasion may lead to positively biased systematic processing of a subsequent action recommendation aimed at reducing the health threat and, consequently, to more persuasion, regardless of the quality of the arguments in the recommendation. The levels of participants' vulnerability to as well as the seventy of a health risk were varied independently, followed by a manipulation of the quality of the arguments in the subsequent action recommendation. The dependent variables included measures of persuasion (attitude, intention, and action), negative affect, and cognitive responses. The results show that participants who felt vulnerable to the health threat were more persuaded, experienced more negative emotions, and had more favorable cognitive responses. Both negative emotions concerning one's vulnerability and positive thoughts concerning the recommendation mediated the effects of vulnerability on persuasion. © 2003 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)650-664
Number of pages15
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume29
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Fear appeals motivate acceptance of recommendations: evidence for a positive bias in the processing of persuasive messages'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this