Fear versus humor: the impact of sensation seeking on physiological, cognitive, and emotional responses to antialcohol abuse messages.
ABSTRACT This study investigates the differences in physiological, cognitive, and emotional responses to existing emotional antialcohol abuse advertisements (fear vs. humor appeal) between high and low sensation seekers. A 2 (Message Type) x 2 (Sensation-Seeking Tendency) x 4 (Message Repetition) mixed-model experiment with repeated measures was conducted with 71 college students. The results, based on self-reports, indicated that fear messages generated more interest and perceived danger of excessive drinking regardless of sensation-seeking tendency, whereas humorous messages were rated as more likeable than fear messages, and the difference was bigger among low sensation seekers than among high sensation seekers. One interesting finding was that for both fear and humor appeals, low sensation seekers showed greater emotional responses (greater corrugators activities and greater zygomatic activities) than high sensation seekers overall. The implications of the current study as well as suggestions for future study were discussed.