TitleAn event-related potential (ERP) study of attention allocation in the processing of a fear appeal and its relation to HPV vaccine acceptance
NameVenkatesan, Aarathi (author), Contrada, Richard J (chair), Chapman, Gretchen (internal member), Leventhal, Howard (internal member), Yanovitzky, Itzhak (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
DescriptionThe present study had two general aims. The primary purpose was to test whether varying the level of threat content in a fear appeal affects attention allocation to the communication. It was predicted that a high threat fear appeal would capture and sustain more attention than a low threat fear appeal and that this increase would facilitate deeper message processing. The second objective was to examine the effect of dispositional and personal relevance factors on the decision to obtain a vaccine that protects against strains of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). To test these hypotheses, a sample of college women (n = 72) were randomly assigned to listen to either a high threat or low threat fear communication about HPV. A dual-task paradigm was used to measure attention allocation in real-time wherein participants listened to the fear appeal while completing an unrelated visual stimulus discrimination task. Measures of P300, an event-related potential (ERP) component believed to reflect resource allocation, were obtained during message exposure. A follow-up interview was conducted 6-weeks after the experimental session to assess vaccine uptake, information seeking behavior, and knowledge retention about HPV. Women who expressed intentions to obtain the HPV vaccine were more likely to have made plans to get the vaccine or were already vaccinated at the time of follow-up (OR = 29.18, CI = 1.53 to 557.53, p < .05). The high threat fear appeal was associated with more knowledge retention about HPV at the time of follow-up than the low threat communication, β = .38, p < .05. The results also suggest that attention allocation during message exposure was positively associated with HPV knowledge retention (β = .23, p < .05) and the likelihood of having obtained or made plans to obtain the vaccine (OR = 1.02, CI = 1.004 to 1.04, p < .05). In the high threat condition, number of sexual partners was positively associated with intentions to consult a doctor about HPV (β = .33, p < .05) and to talk to friends about the vaccine (β = .32, p < .05). However, lack of sexual activity, parental disapproval, and concerns over vaccine safety were the most cited reasons for not wanting or being unsure about the vaccine. The present study has made a significant methodological contribution by incorporating a dual-task paradigm and a real-time measure of attention allocation to assess message processing.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby AArathi Meenakshi Venkatesan
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.