Fear patterns: a new approach to designing road safety advertisements



Publication Details

Algie, J. & Rossiter, J. R. (2010). Fear patterns: a new approach to designing road safety advertisements. Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community, 38 (4), 264-279.


This research studies fear patterns within fear appeal anti-speeding television commercials. A pattern of fear is the sequence of fear arousal and fear reduction, if any, that is felt by the viewing audience when exposed to a fear appeal advertisement. Many road safety advertisers use fear appeals, such as “shock” advertising, that result in fear arousal, leaving the viewer feeling extremely tense. The moment-to-moment reactions of young drivers to 12 road safety commercials are gauged using a dynamic, temporal measure of fear. The fear patterns generated from each ad are analyzed and a new perspective on creating fear appeal road safety advertisements, with an emphasis on fear-relief, fear-partial relief, and fear-only patterns, is discussed.

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