Threat Appeals as Multi-Emotion Messages: An Argument Structure Model of Fear and Disgust

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-126
Number of pages24
JournalHuman Communication Research
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

Fingerprint

Model structures
Fear
appeal
Emotions
emotion
threat
anxiety
Persuasive Communication
persuasion
Imagery (Psychotherapy)
vaccination
argumentation
Meningitis
Vaccination
time

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

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abstract = "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.",
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Threat Appeals as Multi-Emotion Messages : An Argument Structure Model of Fear and Disgust. / Dillard, James; Shen, Lijiang.

In: Human Communication Research, Vol. 44, No. 2, 01.04.2018, p. 103-126.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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