To enhance message impact, threat appeals often include disgusting imagery. Theorizing multi-emotion messages may benefit from juxtaposition of the argumentation and emotion literatures. Doing so yields a distinction between the thematic and supporting functions of emotion, which allows precise predictions concerning when and why emotions are persuasive. Two studies exposed participants to a message on flossing (N = 374) or meningitis vaccination (N = 290). Emotion data were gathered just before, during, and just after exposure. The results replicated across studies such that (a) the over-time fear curve predicted persuasion, whereas peak fear did not, and (b) the over-time disgust curve did not predict persuasion, whereas peak disgust did. The main ideas are synthesized in the argument structure model.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language