Warning vs. Beauty (12-08-20)

Wang and colleagues investigated responses to environmental advertisements, but their findings are applicable, outside the specific situation in which data were collected. The researchers report that their study indicates “a difference in beauty-related experience between warning- and vision-based advertisements, with higher scores in the ‘interesting’ dimensions and lower scores in the ‘boring’ ones, accompanied by the more intense ‘awesome,’ ‘inspiring,’ and ‘surprising’ experiences for warning-based than for vision-based advertisements. . . . If the natural environment of one place/region is adequate, it would seem more suitable to choose a vision-based appeal; otherwise, it would seem more appropriate to choose a warning-based appeal. . . . [analyses indicated] more negative emotional or aesthetic experiences for warning-based advertisements. More positive experiences were elicited by vision-based advertisements.” Information was provided about the types of advertisements viewed: “Warning-based advertisement aims to warn persons to focus on environmental issues and to persuade them to protect or beautify the environment by presenting negative or threatening environmental information or realities. . . . vision-based creative advertisements attempt to persuade individuals to protect the environment by presenting a beautiful ecological landscape or natural environment.”

Shen Wang, Meililao Yuan, Yuan Bai, and Meifena Hua. “Beauty is Not in the Eye But in the Inner Head: Evidence from Environmental Advertising.”  Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, in press, https://doi.org/10.1037/aca0000361