Write a 3–4-page assessment in which you examine how advertising manipulates emotions, particularly fear.

Fear is not only a powerful emotion but also a powerful motivator. Advertisers know this and use fear appeal in advertising messages as a tactic to motivate their target audience into behaving in a certain way.

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By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

•   Competency 2: Apply social psychological research and theory to examine social perception, social interaction, and social influence.

•                     Describe the emotional tone of advertising.

•                     Describe the behavior promoted in advertising.

•                     Apply a theory or concept related to social psychology to explain the effectiveness of appealing to fear in advertising.

•   Competency 3: Analyze social psychological theory and research to explain personal, professional, and social issues.

•                     Explain the social conditions that foster fear.

•                     Explain how individual differences and perceptions perpetuate fearfulness.

•   Competency 7: Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent with expectations for professionals in the field of psychology.

•                     Write coherently to support a central idea with correct grammar, usage, and mechanics as expected of a psychology professional.

Use APA format and style



Another aspect of human functioning—emotion—has proven to be even more challenging to study than cognition. There are so many theories on emotions, but none are all inclusive; therefore, emotions continue to be mysterious, and the study of emotions is considered a work in progress. Emotions appear to be out of conscious control, yet they provide feedback that aids in self-understanding and information about our perceptions of the social world.



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It is important to examine the purpose that emotions serve to us as individuals, and how they promote our cultural animal nature (Baumeister & Bushman, 2014). Equally important is looking at how emotions are both helpful and hurtful in decision making, and to what extent our emotions may be manipulated by others, such as in marketing that appeals to emotion. Emotional regulation is part of emotional intelligence. Without an ability to self-regulate emotion, a concept known as affect regulation, emotions can fuel depression, aggression, and other self-defeating behaviors.


Baumeister, R. F., & Bushman, B. J. (2014). Social psychology & human nature (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.




•               To deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of the business community.

•                     When was the last time you were consciously affected by an ad you saw on TV? How did it affect you? Why did it affect you?

•                     Why is fear such a powerful emotion?




The following e-books or articles from the Capella University Library are linked directly in this course. Note: Some of the articles listed are fairly old and are included here because they are considered seminal works in the field.

•   Cook, I. A., Warren, C., Pajot, S. K., Schairer, D., & Leuchter, A. F. (2011). Regional brain activation with advertising images . Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, 4(3), 147–160.

•   Griskevicius, V., Goldstein, N. J., Mortensen, C. R., Sundie, J. M., Cialdini, R. B., & Kenrick, D. T. (2009). Fear and loving in Las Vegas: Evolution, emotion, and persuasion . Journal of Marketing Research, 46(3), 384–395.

•   Hastings, G., Stead, M., & Webb, J. (2004). Fear appeals in social marketing: Strategic and ethical reasons for concern . Psychology & Marketing, 21(11), 961–986.

•   Moore, D. J., & Lee, S. P. (2012). How advertising influences consumption impulses: The role of visualization, anticipated emotions, taste anticipation, and hedonic rationalization . Journal of Advertising, 41(3), 107–120.

•   Mukherjee, A., & Dubé, L. (2012). Mixing emotions: The use of humor in fear advertising . Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 11(2), 147–161.

•   Park, T., & Salvendy, G. (2012). Emotional factors in advertising via mobile phones . Intl Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 28(9), 597–612.

•   Parry, S., Jones, R., Stern, P., & Robinson, M. (2013). ‘Shockvertising’: An exploratory investigation into attitudinal variations and emotional reactions to shock advertising . Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 12(2), 112–121.

•   Rossiter, J. R., & Jones, S. (2004). Special issue editorial: Fear appeals in social marketing campaigns . Psychology & Marketing, 21(11), 885–887.



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Course Library Guide

A Capella University library guide has been created specifically for your use in this course. You are encouraged to refer to the resources in the Introduction to Social Psychology Library Guide to help direct your research.

Internet Resources

Access the following resources by clicking the links provided. Please note that URLs change frequently. Permissions for the following links have either been granted or deemed appropriate for educational use at the time of course publication. Note: To access the videos in Clips for Class, use the link, then scroll to the appropriate video.

Cengage Learning. (2014). Clips for Class: Social: Emotion and Affect: When emotions make better decisions – Antonio Damasio | Transcript . Retrieved from






•   Search for research articles that examine how advertising appeals to our emotions, in particular, our fears.

•   Watch the following three types of advertising messages. Try to watch more than one example of each type of advertising. Make notes about the overall message and tone. To make this more time efficient, you may consider watching ads on YouTube. Search for the type of ad, and then use the filter to narrow your results. For example, you can narrow the political ads results by filtering for ads from this year.

•                     Political advertising.

•                     Public health advertising.

•                     Commercial advertising.


After watching the ads, complete your assessment. Include the following:

•   Describe the overall tone of each type of ad. What emotion is the ad trying to arouse?

•   Describe the behavior the ad is seeking to encourage.

•   Apply one theory or concept to explain why appealing to fear can be highly effective.

•   What social conditions foster fearfulness?

•   Explain how individual perceptions and experiences perpetuate fearfulness.

Your completed assessment should be 3–4 pages in length, excluding title page and reference page, and use references from at least two scholarly resources. Be sure to follow APA guidelines for format and style.

Additional Requirements

•   Include a title page and reference page.

•   At least three current scholarly or professional resources.

•   APA format.

•   Times New Roman font, 12 point.

•   Double spaced.