Fear-based information campaigns

Fear-based information campaigns confront people with the negative consequences of risky behaviour by capitalizing on their fears. The confrontational character of this type of information evokes interest and keeps the attention. Fear motivates people to adjust their behaviour. However, this adjustment is not always a safe alternative. In general, fear is considered a strong motivator of human behaviour. International studies show that fear appeals can have positive effects on attitude and intended behaviour provided that, besides creating fear, there is also a clear (campaign) message about feasible and convincing behaviour alternatives. However, a number of studies show an unintended negative effect in which participants deny, trivialize, or ridicule the message. In general, foreign television spots about road safety are much more frightening than those in the Netherlands which use humour as a central element. Some researchers are of the opinion that information based on positive emotions such as humour, romance, and sexuality can be just as effective. It has not yet been proven that fear appeals in the field of road safety are more effective among specific target groups such as the young or males. (A) This fact sheet may be accessed by Internet users at: http://www.swov.nl/rapport/Factsheets/FS_Fear_appeals.pdf. (The title of the Dutch version of this fact sheet is: 'Angstaanjagende voorlichting').


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 6p
  • Serial:
    • Publisher: Institute for Road Safety Research, SWOV

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01060874
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Institute for Road Safety Research, SWOV
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-043 940
  • Files: HSL, ITRD
  • Created Date: Sep 10 2007 1:22PM