Persuasion theories posit that both affective and executive processes in
response to health messages are important for successful behavior change.
However, it remains unclear how the brain networks responsible for these
processes interact while viewing persuasive messages. The current fMRI study
asked 65 adolescents (ages 15 to 19) to make momentary affective appraisals in
response to 10 anti-drug public service announcements (PSAs) previously found
to be strongly convincing, 10 found to be weakly convincing, and 10 comparison
advertisements not related to drugs. Results showed that while both strong and
weak anti-drug PSAs elicited arousal-related brain activity in limbic (amygdala,
nucleus accumbens, OFC) and medial prefrontal brain regions, strong compared
to weak anti-drug PSAs elicited more arousal-related activity in lateral prefrontal
cortical regions associated with executive control (IFG, MFG). A functional
connectivity analysis also showed greater functional co-activation between
amygdala and the lateral prefrontal cortex during strong compared to weak antidrug
PSAs. A memory test given to a subset of 30 subjects after a one-week delay suggested that strongly convincing anti-drug PSAs were associated with
better declarative memory. In contrast to extant views of an antagonistic
relationship between limbic and prefrontal neural networks, the present findings
demonstrate that strongly persuasive messages elicit increased simultaneous activation in brain regions responsible for emotional arousal and executive control.
University of Minnesota M.A. thesis. May 2012. Major: Psychology. Advisor: Angus W. MacDonald III, Ph.D., 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 34 pages.
Ramsay, Ian Spicer.
Persuasive messages are characterized by limbic and prefrontal co-activation and improved recollection..
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