"When Visual Cues Activate Moral Foundations: Unintended Effects of Visual Portrayals of Vaping Within Electronic Cigarette Video Advertisements." Human Communication Research, 2018.

Sijia Yang, Erin Maloney, Andy Tan, and Joseph N. Cappella
Research Area: 

Within multimodal persuasive messages, the roles of visual cues in producing unintended effects have been understudied. In an experiment on a sample of former and current smokers (N = 991), the researchers manipulated the presence of visual vaping cues within electronic cigarette video advertisements (N = 25) to evaluate opinions towards vape-free policies. Such cues diminished the effects of pro-vaping arguments to increase support for vape-free policies, inadvertently benefiting public health. Consistent with the moral foundations theory (MFT), endorsement of the care/harm moral foundation strengthened message effects. Furthermore, cognitions and emotions related to moral intuitions mediated the effects of visual vaping cues. These findings suggest that MFT can help explain unintended effects of visual cues when outcomes are related to morality.