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Negative ads can cause a physical reaction

NEWARK, Del., Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Negative political ads makes a person want to turn away physically, but the mind remembers negative messages -- sometimes incorrectly -- U.S. researchers say.

James Angelini of the University of Delaware, Samuel Bradley of Texas Tech University and Sungkyoung Lee of Indiana University analyzed ads that aired during the 2000 presidential election.

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For the study, the researchers placed electrodes under the eyes of willing participants and showed them a series of 30-second ads from George W. Bush, the Republican candidate for president in 2000, and Al Gore, the Democratic candidate.

The electrodes picked up on the "startle response" -- the automatic eye movement typically seen in response to snakes, spiders and other threats. Compared to positive or neutral messages, negative advertising prompted greater reflex reactions and a desire to move away, the researchers said.

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