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Using Fear Tactics To Promote Healthy Choices

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Fear tactics have been used many times over the years but is it a good thing to use these tactics to influence medical care? An example of fear are anti-smoking campaigns which have used vivid images depicting damage to the lungs caused by smoking.

Here is what we know from prior studies: teens react more intensely and emotionally to these commercials than adults. Researchers looked at two groups. Adults 22-24 years old and adolescents 12-14 years old. Each participant viewed six 10-second substance abuse commercials. Electrodes were placed on muscles to measure negative emotional responses.

Marketing has become a science and the thought is that some of this knowledge could be used to help impact health.

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