Tobacco use is one of the greatest preventable causes of mortality worldwide. Some televised anti-smoking campaigns using anti-tobacco public service announcements (PSAs) have led to smoking reduction. Not all have been effective, prompting a search for objective methods of PSA evaluation, beyond the self-report measures employed today. Identifying the neural correlates of effective PSAs could improve the evaluation and design process, and thus increase the efficacy of anti-addiction public campaigns. Neuroimaging provides a set of tools to study brain response to sensory stimuli, such as PSAs. Health communication research has identified measures of message format (""""""""message sensation value"""""""", MSV) and content (argument quality or """"""""strength"""""""", AS) as critical variables of PSAs. Preliminary data demonstrate construct and suggest predictive validity of MSV and AS instruments. Our fMRI data show that PSAs have distinct brain correlates and that low MSV PSAs may be associated with greater prefrontal and limbic activation than high MSV PSAs. These results resonate with theories postulating a competition between message's information components for limited cognitive resources. If PSA format competes with PSA content for attentional resources, then attention- grabbing (high MSV) format could impede the learning of a message's argument. We propose using Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent (BOLD) functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to evaluate the brain effects of PSAs in 64 regular smokers. Study goals are to identify a) brain systems that respond differentially to MSV and AS and b) patterns of brain activity predictive of the surrogate PSA outcomes, thus tying PSAs features, the brain systems mediating them and PSA outcomes. We will use a 2x2x12 mixed design (MSV;2 levels, within subjects) x Argument Strength (AS;2 levels, between subjects) x Replications (12 PSAs, within subjects) to test the brain and behavioral effects of MSV and AS. Participants will be assigned to high or low AS groups and view a pseudorandom sequence of high and low MSV PSAs while BOLD fMRI is measured, followed by cognitive and behavioral outcome measures. Bridging the addiction, communications, and neuroscience research, this project will explore new methods of PSAs evaluation and design and increase the ability of anti-addiction media campaigns to combat addiction and save lives. Tobacco use is one of the greatest preventable causes of mortality worldwide. Large-scale media campaigns using televised anti-tobacco public service announcements (PSAs) have led to significant reduction in smoking in some cases, but not others, prompting a search for objective methods of PSA evaluation, beyond the current self-report measures. Cognitive neuroscience and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) provide a set of tools to objectively and non-invasively study brain response to media. These tools have not yet been applied to health communications in general and PSAs in particular. Our preliminary fMRI data suggest that PSA format and content are critical message parameters with distinct brain signatures that correlate with short-term PSA outcome measures. Based on theories of communication and our experimental data, we propose using fMRI to evaluate the effects of PSA content and format features on brain activity in 64 regular smokers. A """"""""mixed"""""""" statistical design will be used to test the effects of measures of PSA format (Message Sensation Value) and content (message Argument Strength) within and between subjects. Brain activity will be the primary outcome measure. We will also explore the relationship of brain activation patterns to surrogate outcomes of persuasive impact, such as attitudes, perceived effectiveness, and recall. Bridging the fields of addiction, communication and cognitive neuroscience research, this project will set the stage for development of evidence-based methodology to evaluate and design anti-addiction PSAs and to the more effective public health communications in general.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDA1-MXG-S (18))
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Kautz, Mary A
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University of Pennsylvania
Schools of Medicine
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Wang, An-Li; Ruparel, Kosha; Loughead, James W et al. (2013) Content matters: neuroimaging investigation of brain and behavioral impact of televised anti-tobacco public service announcements. J Neurosci 33:7420-7
Langleben, Daniel D; Moriarty, Jane Campbell (2013) Using Brain Imaging for Lie Detection: Where Science, Law and Research Policy Collide. Psychol Public Policy Law 19:222-234
Strasser, Andrew A; Orom, Heather; Tang, Kathy Z et al. (2011) Graphic-enhanced information improves perceived risks of cigar smoking. Addict Behav 36:865-9
Langleben, Daniel D; Loughead, James W; Ruparel, Kosha et al. (2009) Reduced prefrontal and temporal processing and recall of high ""sensation value"" ads. Neuroimage 46:219-25