New research has shown that fear has the ability to change people’s behaviour. This is contrary to popular belief that fear may often produce a backlash effect when used as an emotion to encourage behavioural changes. Instead, fear produces a small but yet pertinent change in people’s attitudes and behaviours across various domains.
It has been found that appeals which evoke fear are commonly used to direct messages to the public and propagate certain behaviours. For instance, in the advertising domain, advertisers often instil a sense of fear in potential customers, and subsequently presenting the product as a solution to such fear. This can be seen in insurance, where the fear of death and injury compels people to buy the product. Moreover, it is worthy to note that women are especially susceptible to behaviour change by fear.
Even though fear should not be seen as the ultimate solution due to its small effect, there are very few cases in which the fear appeal is not effective. More often than not, presenting such an appeal more than doubles the probability of behaviour change than presenting an appeal with little or no fear.
Furthermore, the authors explained ways in which the fear appeal can be made even more effective. The ways are to increase the amount of fear, reinforce the message that the product will be able to achieve a desired result or further emphasize the severity and susceptibility of the issue being addressed.
Category(s):Mental Health in Asia
Source material from Psyblog