Response efficacy: The key to minimizing rejection and maximizing acceptance of emotion-based anti-speeding messages

This study sought to improve understanding of the persuasive process of emotion-based appeals not only in relation to negative, fear-based appeals but also for appeals based upon positive emotions. In particular, the study investigated whether response efficacy, as a cognitive construct, mediated outcome measures of message effectiveness in terms of both acceptance and rejection of negative and positive emotion-based messages. Licensed drivers (N = 406) participated via the completion of an on-line survey. Within the survey, participants received either a negative (fear-based) appeal or one of the two possible positive appeals (pride or humor-based). Overall, the study's findings confirmed the importance of emotional and cognitive components of persuasive health messages and identified response efficacy as a key cognitive construct influencing the effectiveness of not only fear-based messages but also positive emotion-based messages. Interestingly, however, the results suggested that response efficacy's influence on message effectiveness may differ for positive and negative emotion-based appeals such that significant indirect (and mediational) effects were found with both acceptance and rejection of the positive appeals yet only with rejection of the fear-based appeal. As such, the study's findings provide an important extension to extant literature and may inform future advertising message design.


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  • Accession Number: 01152622
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Mar 9 2010 11:57AM