Harboring Hope and Avoiding Anxiety: the Role of Emotions in Determining the Effectiveness of Fear Appeals

Nidhi Agrawal, Northwestern University, USA
Geeta Menon, University of Pennsylvania, USA
This paper examines the effects of incidental emotions on the processing and effectiveness of fear appeals. We propose that the valence and uncertainty associated with an incidental emotion interactively determine whether a subsequent exposure to a fear appeal will be effective. The valence of the incidental emotion determines whether the fear appeal is processed with an open or defensive mindset whereas the certainty of the emotion determines whether the fear appeal is processed in depth. Three studies manipulate the four emotions of happiness, hopefulness, sadness, and anxiety to examine these interactive effects and underlying processes.
[ to cite ]:
Nidhi Agrawal and Geeta Menon (2010) ,"Harboring Hope and Avoiding Anxiety: the Role of Emotions in Determining the Effectiveness of Fear Appeals", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 146-149 .