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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Exploring the Effects of Visual Appeals in an HPV Prevention Campaign: An Eye-Tracking Study

Elizabeth (Beth) Avery Foster, Associate Professor of Public RelationsCollege of Communication and Information

Guided by Witte’s (1994) extended parallel process model, this eye-tracking experiment (N = 75) investigates the influence of different types of visuals (i.e., fear appeal, non-fear appeal, and text only) on visual attention, perceived threat, perceived efficacy, and behavioral intention. The results reveal that (1) visual attention (i.e., time spent on visual) is higher for the fear image than for the non-fear image; (2) both fear and non-fear visual appeals increase people's perceived threat, and this effect is partially mediated by their visual attention to the appeals; and (3) for two types of efficacy (perceived self-efficacy and perceived response efficacy), only perceived response efficacy moderates the strength of the mediated relationships between visual attention and behavioral intentions to vaccinate via perceived threat, such that the mediated relationship is stronger under high response efficacy than under low response efficacy.​ 

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