The emotional divide: Alpha wave asymmetry of the frontal lobes during mild, moderate and high fear commercials.

Date
2009-01-01
Authors
Nacin, Corinne
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Joel C. Geske
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Altmetrics
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Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication
Abstract

Advertising is embedded into everyday American life. Many television commercials aim to connect with the audience on an emotional level. Amongst these emotions, fear is often used to gain consumer attention. Theorists believe that moderate fear is the most effective level of fear to gain consumer attention, and cause behavioral changes. The emotion of fear also has effects on human physiology. Two different theories describe that the emotion of fear is linked to frontal lobe asymmetry, claiming that the emotion of fear will activate the right side of the frontal lobes. This study examined the modulated levels of fear (low, moderate and high) to determine if fear does activate the right hemisphere of the frontal lobes. Specifically, this study predicted that moderate fear would activate the right hemisphere of the frontal lobes by decreasing amplitude and frequency of alpha EEG waves, more than low and high fear. Significant results were not found when comparing moderate fear to low and high fear in the right frontal lobe. However, mean scores for moderate fear compared to low and high fear scores reveal a trend of activation indicating moderate fear to activate the right hemisphere more than the other two levels of fear. Also, results show significant differences in alpha activation when moderate fear was compared to happy and neutral advertisements.

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