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Effects of fear arousal on memory for marketing stimuli

Authors Chan, Agnes Pui Yiu
Issue Date 2001
Summary The psychology literature has long assumed that arousal and memory are interrelated. Specifically, emotional arousal has been assumed to cause a narrowing of attention and hence a general impairment of memory performance. On the other hand, recent advances in cognitive psychology and psychobiology have found support for an enhancing effect of emotional arousal on memory. Some reports suggest that physiological responses to arousal-eliciting stimuli can explain these conflicting effects. Although there is a large and growing body of research investigating the effects of fear arousal, or arousal in general, on memory, investigations in the marketing domain appear limited. The present study attempts to investigate the effects of fear arousal, in particular arousal that elicits various autonomic responses such as increased heart rate, increased blood pressure and hormonal discharge, on memory for marketing stimuli. Specifically, it demonstrates that fear arousal has systematic effects on the short- and long-term memories for information items preceding and succeeding it. In other words, the position of information in relation to the fear-inducing stimulus and the time of memory test have systematic effects on the observed fear-memory relationship. Understanding the above relationship is especially important for public policy makers who fiom time to time advertise on radio and TV to warn the audience of possible health or safety problems. These ads often contain threatening sounds or motions that elicit strong fear arousal. Similarly, the work holds implications for advertisers who purchase media slots during fear-arousing media programming. This thesis seeks to understand how fear influences memory for important information that is presented by advertisers in these situations.
Note Thesis (M.Phil.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2001
Language English
Format Thesis
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