A Dartmouth-Cornell study suggests that anti-smoking TV advertisements that appeal to viewers' emotions are more persuasive when they use anger rather than sadness.
The study appears in the Journal of Health Communication. A PDF is available on request.
Previous studies have shown emotional expression is a crucial part of persuasion, and that audience members' perceptions of emotions affect their attitudes and behaviors. Previous research also has shown anti-smoking TV ads that convey negative emotions such as anger and sadness are more effective than non-emotional approaches.
Results showed the anger-framed ad was more effective because it increased the perceived dominance of the speaker, which increased anti-smoking attitudes and predicted strong intentions not to smoke. The findings also showed participants who watched the anger-framed message didn't find the actor likable or empathetic, but those factors were not associated with intention to quit smoking.