The ambiguous effects of advertisements promoting social change
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Violent content is frequently used in social cause advertising campaigns as a means of discouraging anti-social behaviour. This practice stands in stark contrast to studies in media that suggest exposure to violent content strongly influences an individual’s disposition to engage in violent behaviour at a later date. The present research investigates the effect of violence in social cause advertisements on implicit attitudes toward violence. Individual differences in response to the violent advertising stimulus were found. Social cause advertisements are effective in weakening implicit associations with violence for a non-aggressive individual. On the other hand, these campaigns are ineffective for aggressive individuals.
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