AbstractsMedical & Health Science

The mere exposure effect: application to emotionally-laden stimuli

by Nicole Louise Aimers

Institution: Swinburne University of Technology
Department: Faculty of Health, Arts and Design
Degree: PhD
Year: 2015
Keywords: Mere exposure effect; International Affective Picture System (IAPS); Cigarette health warning images; Message rotation frequency
Record ID: 1052164
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.3/399117


The mere exposure effect refers to the observation that repeated, unreinforced exposure to a stimulus increases affective evaluations of that stimulus. Nicole applied the theory of mere exposure to cigarette health warnings and identified that liking ratings of high sensation seeking individuals initially increased with repeated exposure. In addition, for both low and high sensation seekers, the health warning images became more pleasant and less arousing over the course of exposure. These findings were problematic, especially because high sensation seekers are more likely to engage in the behaviour that the warnings are designed to eliminate. Nicole’s research called into question the reliance on the health warning images as an effective medium for communicating the detrimental effects of smoking.