Scary or gross, just not both


Cancerous lung 

Researchers at the University of Missouri have determined that the most effective anti-smoking ads either induce fear or disgust—not both. When the two reactions were elicited simultaneously the viewer was overwhelmed, and the ad backfired.

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Scary or gross, just not both

  1. Note to self: no more anti-smoking ads featuring Cheney.

  2. Funnily enough, I find my fear disgusts me. I’ll have to ponder that over a smoke…

  3. Effective in getting attention, or effective in changing behaviour?

    There is a lot of research that shows when it comes to making a difficult change, such as overcoming an addiction, the factors that determine success are confidence and readiness to change. Fear might help us along the way to readiness, but it also undermines our confidence that we can succeed.

    For example, it’s very common for someone who has just admitted they are an alcoholic to get drunk. Why? Because they are under stress and turn to the pattern they have been relying upon.

    See, for instance, James O. Prochaska’s influential 1985 work, Stages of Change and the Transtheoretical Model.

  4. Lung cancer is by and large a pediatric mental illness (nicotine addiction born of social/peer conditioning prior to age eighteen). Rather than treat it as such, we futz around with taxation policy, packaging grossitude, and regulated marketing. Can anyone explain why we haven’t got this one licked yet, I wonder…

  5. Fear comes from proximity to danger (are you prepared for it, will it hurt, will it happen soon) and is an emotion of the mind. Disgust is vicseral and while it can manifest in proximity to fear (I digust myself!) it always implies a prior knowledge. We aren’t disgusted by new things. We are disgusted by old fears, by old sensations, etc. Fear and disgust, themselves, cannot be temporaneous by this explanation of what they are. They arise from each other! The purpose of the ad is inspire a next action but if the feeling after it is confusion (a mixed emotion) this is obviously a weak enticement to action.

  6. are you a smoker?

  7. I have been struggling with quitting for many years. My wife is trying to quit also.

  8. What do you mean by “backfired”?
    After seeing fearful and disgusting ad campaign, people smoke more?

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