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Journal of Communication ISSN 0021-9916

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Exemplication Effects in the Promotion of Safety and Health


Dolf Zillmann
Department of Psychology and College of Communication and Informational Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0172

After explicating essentials of exemplication theory, research demonstrations of the effects of exemplar presentations on the formation and modication of beliefs about safety and health, as well as on the consequences of these beliefs for self-protective behavior, are summarized. Affective reactivity connected with exemplications, especially with exemplications presented in pictorial formats, is given special consideration. The implications of theory and research for the promotion of safety and health via the media of communication are then enumerated. The inuence of exemplications on matters of personal welfare is further considered in concert with the inuence projected by complementary theoretical approaches that focus on strategic decision making. doi:10.1111/j.1460-2466.2006.00291.x

Exemplification theory (Zillmann, 1999, 2002) addresses the formation and modication of beliefs about phenomena and issues on the basis of samplings of experienced and directly or indirectly witnessed concrete, unitary occurrences that share focal characteristics. The theory examines the conditions under which such samplings are aggregated and come to represent, impartially or in distorted ways, the whole of the respective phenomena and issues. Affective reactivity to exemplifying occurrences is central to the theory as it fosters depth of information processing and gives impetus to emotive action. Much of the research generated by the theory (Zillmann & Brosius, 2000) focuses on assessments of risks to safety and health, as well as on contingent apprehensions that motivate risk avoidance and related protective behavior. More specically, the research concentrates on the formation of beliefs about threats to the welfare of others and ultimately of the threats to self, along with beliefs about effective and ineffective coping with these threats, on the basis of the exemplication of threats and their management in the informative and entertaining media of communication. Before summarizing some of the pertinent findings, we shall review the essentials of exemplification theory and the mechanisms invoked by it in particular. Presentation of research demonstrations is then followed by the extrapolation
Corresponding author: Dolf Zillmann; e-mail: zillmann@ua.edu.
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of recommendations for safety and health promotion via the communication media.
Exemplification theory of beliefs about safety and health

Exemplification manifests itself through exposure to its elementary units, so-called exemplars. As an informational item, an exemplar is defined by primary characteristics that allow its grouping with others of its kind (e.g., a smoker as a case among smokers). Secondary characteristics are free to vary but are subject to quantification (e.g., smokers who did or did not get lung cancer). There may be any number of further characteristics, all of which are again subject to quantification. In the context of personal welfare, an exemplar comprises a person with specifiable physical and behavioral characteristics who experiences conditions that threaten to impair, are in the process of impairing, or have impaired this persons welfare and/or who experiences conditions that promise to repair, are in the process of repairing, or have repaired such impairment. Three essential heuristics or processing automatisms (Bargh, 1996; Kahneman, 2001) are called upon to explain the formation of beliefs about the distribution of secondary characteristics or exemplar properties within encountered samplings as well as about the distribution of those exemplar properties in samplings never encountered. The latter indicates the generalization of recognized exemplar features from a known sampling to a potentially larger aggregate of like exemplars, their population. Aspects of this extrapolation are detailed elsewhere (Zillmann, 1999). Sufce it to state that the indicated generalization is presumed to be the rule and to point to the economy and practicality of the implicit inductive inference. Exemplification theory posits a quantication heuristic that continually monitors the relative distribution and prevalence of exemplars exhibiting distinct features. Whether exemplars are immediately encountered or their earlier encounter is retrieved from memory, it is assumed that exemplar groupings are screened to discern the magnitude of subgroupings (e.g., smokers who got cancer relative to smokers who did not). In the main, such screening should be performed nonconsciously, but on occasion it may become conscious, enable articulation, and provide estimates for the deliberate contemplation of implications and dependent actions (Ajzen, 1985, 1991; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975). However, whether screening reaches awareness or fails to do so, it is expected to yield incident assessments in at least ordinal terms (e.g., few, many, a lot of cases). Moreover, comparative assessments may be conducted, yielding a sense of relative incidence rates (e.g., a subgrouping is larger than another) and changes in incidence rates over time (e.g., a subgrouping is larger than before). Again, the degree of difference or change should be apparent in at least ordinal terms. The quantication heuristic thus projects that persons attain, with minimal cognitive investment, a sense of the prevalence of occurrences that are of consequence to them. They should, for example, be able to ascertain the relative frequency of health complications from particular behaviors performed in their
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social environment and convert their quantitative impressions to estimates of the magnitude of health threats that others and they themselves face. The quantification heuristic is complemented by the representativeness heuristic (Kahneman, 2001; Kahneman & Tversky, 1973). This heuristic projects, essentially, that judgments about event populations are extrapolations based on the scrutiny of exemplar groupings and that in this extrapolation the provision of abstract quantitative information about exemplar distributions is secondary, if not immaterial (Loewenstein, Weber, Hsee, & Welch, 2001). The implicit devaluation of base-rate information (i.e., numerical stratication) from the assessment of event populations is also known as the base-rate fallacy (Bar-Hillel, 1980). A secondary projection of the representativeness heuristic is that the generalization from samples of events to populations of events is independent of the size of the samples. Although the reliability of such generalizations is known to increase with sample size, the representative heuristic is presumed blind to this circumstance in that it treats generalizations from exceedingly small exemplar groupings as subjectively persuasive, if not as compelling. The third automatism invoked by exemplification theory is the availability heuristic (Kahneman, 2001; Tversky & Kahneman, 1973). It projects that judgments about event populations are greatly affected by exemplars that, at the time judgments are rendered, are available in the sense of being cognitively obtrusive. Such availability depends on the ease with which exemplars are accessed in memory and retrieved from it. Ready availability thus manifests itself in the mostly nonconscious and nondeliberate retrieval through which particular exemplars impose themselves from memory and thereby exert disproportional inuence on the contemplation and evaluation of the exemplied event population. Access to exemplars is largely controlled by two presentational variables: the recency and frequency of exposure (Bargh, 1996; Higgins, 1996; Kahneman, Slovic, & Tversky, 1982). First, the likelihood of spontaneous availability of exemplars is known to increase with the recency of their activation. Recently activated exemplars exert greater inuence on the perception of issues than exemplars whose activation occurred at a more distant time. Second, the likelihood of spontaneous availability of exemplars is known to increase with the frequency of their activation. Frequently activated exemplars, then, exert greater inuence on issue perception than do rarely activated ones. In contrast to the recency of exemplar activation, which creates only a short-lived accessibility enhancement because the effect is continually diminished and annulled by that of the more recent activations of alternative constructs, the frequency of exemplication fosters an enduring inuence on the perception of phenomena and issues. Accessibility from frequent exposure to exemplars is therefore not transitory but chronic (Bargh, 1984; Bargh, Lombardi, & Higgins, 1988; Higgins, 1996). In considering media inuence, such chronic accessibility is pivotal, as its effects are likely to dominate those of the recency of activation in most situations, barring only those of immediately preceding activation. Although extraordinary perceptual qualities of exemplars may enhance their accessibility to some degree (Nisbett & Ross, 1980), the quality of overriding importance
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for their availability and ultimately for their inuence on judgment resides in the information they convey and, along with it, in the affective reactivity the information elicits. Theories of evolution (Kety, 1970) have highlighted the biological signicance of emotion in this connection. It is argued that the encounter of endangering situations triggered emotional reactions that, among other things, fostered superior neuroendocrine conditions for the storage and retrieval of information about the situations in question and that the thereby-created enhancement of informational access and availability had survival value because it served the preparation of effective coping behavior in similar future encounters. The enhancement of storage and retrieval of information about biologically inconsequential events could not have such utility and, hence, never materialized. To the extent that the indicated mechanisms have not appreciably changed, it should be expected that situations of consequence to an individual evoke affective reactivity that elevates environmental scrutiny, part of which is the facilitation of information coding into memory and of access to that information (Christianson, 1992; Spear & Riccio, 1994). Research on the retention and retrieval of emotional events has, in fact, led to clearly articulated mechanisms for the mediation of superior access to the information about these events. A structure within the limbic system, the amygdala, has emerged as the moderator that determines the significance of events at the onset and during acute emotions (LeDoux, 1992). It is this structure that serves self-preservation by continually monitoring the environment for threats and that, upon their encounter, provides estimates of their magnitude and of the urgency of coping action. The behavior-energizing emergency reaction (Cannon, 1929) unfolds alongside these emotional developments. An essential part of the reaction is the systemic release of adrenal catecholamines. Part of this release, in turn, is the central diffusion of epinephrine. The excitatory effect of these hormones persists during emotion and lingers for several minutes after the cessation of emotion. Superior conditions for information coding prevail throughout the entire emotional episode (Bower, 1992). The mechanism for the superior coding of emotion-arousing exemplars thus can be stated as follows: Amygdaloid monitoring discerns exemplar salience that prompts the activation of central norepinephrine receptors, and the enhanced sensitivity of these receptors creates the conditions for superior coding of emotional exemplars into long term and, at times, indelible memory (Cahill, Prins, Weber, & McGaugh, 1994; McGaugh & Gold, 1989). The significant consequence of such facilitation of information processing is that affect-evoking exemplars spontaneously avail themselves whenever the exemplified issues are encountered and contemplated. Their dominance in the competition for attention ensures their overrepresentation in any screening for relevant occurrences and biases issue assessments in their favor. In the assessment of health risks, for example, exemplars associated with affective reactivity will receive disproportional attention and thereby render overestimates of the incidence and magnitude of threats to health. A final consideration concerns the concreteness of exemplars. Exemplars are by definition elementary occurrences that can be expressed in simple propositional
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form, mostly as attributional or causal relationships (e.g., somebody smokes, somebody got ill from smoking). Accordingly, exemplars may be immediately witnessed occurrences but also linguistic representations thereof. They may, moreover, be pictorial representations, at least in part. Pictures, especially pictures representing motion, can function as exemplars. So can any combination of image and text. The problems with the processing of abstract, especially with the quantitative specification of phenomena and issues, have been indicated already. They are apparent in the comparison of the simplicity of exemplars with the difficulty of interpreting complex and detailed accounts. Exemplars, particularly those that feature directly perceptible events, place few demands on processing and consequently should avail themselves from memory more readily than the specifics of abstractions. Ease of exemplar processing, then, may be seen as another essential factor in the proposed dominance of exemplifications over abstractions in the formation of impressions and beliefs about threats to safety and health.
Exemplification theory of protection motivation and behavior

In exemplification theory, affective reactivity is considered part and parcel of risk assessments. Apprehensions, worries, and acute fears may predate such assessments, follow them, or materialize concurrently. The covarying intensity of these affective concomitants of risk assessment is considered to motivate risk-diminishing and riskavoiding behavior. In accordance with emotion theory, affect intensity is thought to create action readiness (Frijda, 1986) and instigate appropriate overt behaviors (Rolls, 1999; Zillmann, 1996). Recent developments in cognitive science underscore the importance of affective reactivity in the assessment of risks and in response motivation. Slovic, Finucane, Peters, and MacGregor (2002) proposed an affect heuristic and assigned it a prominent role among the established risk-related heuristics. Kahneman (2001) spoke of affective valence as a natural assessment (p. 710) whose dispositional qualities are readymade for the substitution of alternative risk attributes. The consequence of this substitution is that judgment, action readiness, and associated behavior are more strongly, if not dominantly, inuenced by affective reactivity. Loewenstein et al. (2001) similarly assigned pivotal power to affective reactivity in risk assessment. A distinction is drawn between anticipatory and anticipated emotions, with the former concept subsuming apprehensions about, and acute fear of, immediately threatening conditions and the latter referring to undesirable and unpleasant prospects that lack immediacy. Risk assessment entailing anticipatory affect is in focus and treated as a feeling state of extraordinary consequence for decision making. It is shown, in particular, how risk is inuenced by affect, mostly through mental imagery, and how such affect-guided assessments contrast with assessments derived from expected-utility models that concentrate on the severity and likelihood of threatening outcomes without consideration of immediate affect (Harless & Camerer, 1994).
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The affect models strong emphasis on emotional reactivity and heuristic information processing does not preclude that risk assessments, especially those concerning safety and health, are routinely subjected to cognitive scrutiny and elaboration. It is, in fact, the affective reactivity associated with risk assessments that gives impetus to the contemplation of threatening circumstances. Such contemplations, which constitute the core of cognitive theories of reasoned action (Fishbein, 1967; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975) and planned behavior (Ajzen, 1985, 1991), are essential in rming up, or in correcting and possibly overruling, the more intuitively derived assessments. Most importantly, the pondering of decisions that these theories entail is vital to the construction of behavioral strategies for dealing with endangering situations. Additionally, such contemplation is likely to produce the articulation of deliberate intentions to pursue particular safety- and health-protecting courses of action, not merely for the moment but over extended periods of time.
Exemplification research on risk perception, affective reactivity, and protective actions

Much of the research on exemplification and the formation of beliefs has been summarized by Zillmann and Brosius (2000). Only investigations that pertain directly to personal safety and health are summarized here. Exemplification research initially ascertained the effects of representative versus biased exemplar distributions relative to the effect of formal quantifications. A news report focusing on the difficulties of controlling weight after successful weight loss was manipulated to feature negative versus positive exemplars (i.e., interviews with persons who failed to control their weight vs. persons who succeeded in controlling it) along with the actual ratio of regainers/controllers (Zillmann, Perkins, & Sundar, 1992). The failure rate was reported to be about one third, expressed either as a percentage (32%) or less precisely as the minority of cases. In a condition of representative exemplication, the ratio was accordingly expressed by the interviews of three weight regainers and six weight controllers. The order of presentation was at random. Another condition brought the exemplar distribution more in line with the focus of the report, namely, the difculty of controlling weight. In violation of representativeness, it featured six regainers and three controllers, again in random sequence. A third condition escalated this bias in presenting all nine exemplars as regainers. The findings show the expected dominance of exemplification over formal quantifications. The presentation of ratios, whether precise or roundabout, proved totally inconsequential. Exemplification, in contrast, fostered assessments of weight control in accordance with the degree of representativeness. Representative exemplification yielded the most accurate estimates of the prevalence of weight regainers. In the two conditions of misexemplification, the error of estimation increased with the degree to which representativeness was violated. Specifically, estimates of the incidence of persons regaining the weight they had lost earlier increased with the number of
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exemplifications of such persons. Additional research (Zillmann, Gibson, Sundar, & Perkins, 1996) established that these effects of representative and biased exemplications on beliefs about the prevalence of cases of interest were stable over time (i.e., over a 2-week test period). More systematically varied ratios of exemplar to counterexemplar distributions (e.g., 4:0, 3:1, 2:2, 1:3, 0:4) established further that estimates of the prevalence of focal cases closely follow their relative occurrence in exemplifying chains of cases and that this happens irrespective of the provision of consistent or contradictory formal quantifications (Brosius & Bathelt, 1994). In summary, potentially enduring beliefs about the prevalence of focal events, health risks and protective behaviors included, are formed on the basis of their relative occurrence in exemplifying event groupings and are largely unaffected by the pronouncement of formal quantifications. The prediction of disproportional influence of emotion-conveying and affecteliciting exemplars on the assessment of issues, of risk to others and self in particular, has received support from numerous investigations. Aust and Zillmann (1996) manipulated a television news program about salmonella poisoning in a restaurant. The report opened with the facts about persons having come to harm and then presented interviews with grieving relatives. With the text held constant, these interviews were given calmly or in a highly agitated, emotional manner. In a control condition, the interviews were omitted. The ndings show that, compared to no interviews, both types of exemplication via interviews elevated the assessment of risk to others and to self. However, the exemplication interviews with acutely distressed, grieving persons yielded particularly high assessments of the risk of iniction with salmonella poisoning. Estimates of the risk to self were lower than estimates of others risk. This relationship between risk to others and self has been observed in various studies (Zillmann & Brosius, 2000). Zillmann and Gan (1996) similarly altered a health newscast about the risk of developing melanoma skin cancer from excessive sun exposure. The report was directed at seaside vacationers trying to get a good tan at the beaches. It was informative in detailing the etiology of melanoma and concluded with a plea to take protective measures. The original version of the program showed a small tumor in a rather sanitized fashion. For the emotion-arousing condition, this footage was replaced by explicit, shocking imagery of melanoma at a more advanced stage. The findings show that the involvement of just one emotional exemplar in an otherwise highly fact-focused program is capable of elevating assessments of risk to others and self. Unexpectedly, however, these effects were not apparent immediately after exposure but manifested themselves over time. The fact that they were in evidence 2 weeks after exposure is consistent with the argument that, over time, the influence of emotional imagery comes to dominate the fading effect of text, thereby fostering assessments of increased risk to others and self, along with creating a heightened readiness for taking protective measures. Or, more accurately, whereas text tends to lose its impact over time, imagery retains it and thus holds risk
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assessments at their initial level. Immediately after exposure, text may prove compelling and render the added influence of imagery immaterial. A survey of prophylactic behavior capable of lowering the risk of skin cancer (Rimal & Real, 2003) suggests that increased risk perception fosters increased use of sun blockers and self-examination for melanoma. Such behavior also increased with the conviction of its protective effectiveness. Regarding the use of diagnostic protective measures, risk apprehensions in the form of acute affective worries (Davey, 1993) emerged as more effective motivators for screening tests than risk apprehensions in purely cognitive terms. Women who worried greatly about developing breast cancer were particularly keen to obtain mammograms (Lerman, Trock, Rimer, Boyce, et al., 1991; McCaul, Branstetter, Schroeder, & Glasgow, 1996; McCaul & Tulloch, 1999). In contrast, women whose worries dissipated upon learning that their test proved negative felt less compelled to subject themselves to future screenings (Lerman, Trock, Rimer, Jepson, et al., 1991). Affective worries also emerged as a driving force in the acceptance of regular diagnostic screening for other cancers, such as skin cancer (Friedman, Webb, Bruce, Weinberg, & Cooper, 1995), colorectal cancer (Macrae, Hill, St. John, Ambikapathy, & Garner, 1984), and prostate cancer (Wolf & Schorling, 1998). Moreover, acute affective worries have been consistently observed in families with a history of specific cancers (McCaul & Tulloch, 1999). Women of a family in which other women developed breast cancer, for example, tend to be deeply worried and, presumably because of it, highly motivated to take diagnostic tests on a regular basis (Valdimarsdottir et al., 1995). McCaul, Branstetter, ODonnell, Jacobson, and Quinlan (1998) found the acute worries of such women to persist for extended periods of time and spoke of chronic emotional upheaval, this in contrast to the comparatively rapid recovery from occasional worries by women without a family history of cancer. These observations are consistent with the proposal that witnessing a person held dear come to harm will stir emotional reactivity that manifests itself in the creation of highly accessible, enduring affective memory that, in turn, mediates a prolonged readiness for protective actions. As this immediately experienced emotion-arousing exemplification of a family members disease will be repeatedly encountered, it will give frequent impetus to self-protective behavior and thereby assure its longevity. Additionally, the experience of protracted worrying is bound to instigate reflection that is likely to foster cognizance of the rational basis for welfare concerns (in this case, genetically determined vulnerability) and, in large part because of this cognizance, a deliberate commitment to the continuance of diagnostic interest and preventive actions. In the absence of pertinent research, it remains unclear, however, to what extent similarly constructive worries (Davey, 1993) can be repeatedly instigated by media presentations of the demise of persons of affect-evoking appeal and to what extent such exemplar instigations can produce an appreciable facilitation of self-protective behavior.
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These findings should not be interpreted as evidence of an unqualified linear relationship between health worries and protective actions, however. It has been observed, for instance, that particularly acute worries about breast cancer can markedly diminish and even abolish any resolve to obtaining regular breast examinations (Lerman, Rimer, Trock, Balshem, & Engstrom, 1990). A lack of response efcacy is known to stie or simply prevent self-protective behaviors at elevated levels of fear (Witte & Allen, 2000), but in light of ready access to breast screenings, such lack can hardly be accepted as an explanation of acutely worried persons failure to act in the interest of their own welfare. As references to alternative moderator variables such as hypersusceptibility and contingent fatalism are largely speculative, the occasional counterintuitive deciency in self-protective behavior at high anxiety levels remains perplexing and awaits resolution. Working with apprehensions about the crime of carjacking, Gibson and Zillmann (1994) varied two exemplars in a news report that provided statistics on the relative frequency of carjackings associated with minimal, minor, severe, and deadly violence. The two manipulated exemplars detailed carjackings in one of these four violence categories. Consistent with the ndings reported earlier, the provision of base-rate information proved inconsequential for risk assessments. The presence of the exemplars, in contrast, elevated the assessment of risk to others and self in the exemplied categories. Estimates of fatalities from carjackings, for instance, rose from minimal through minor and severe to deadly violence, despite the fact that base-rate information projected the opposite. Additionally, the effect of exemplication increased with the passage of time, a 1-week test period in this case. The disproportional influence of affect-laden imagery is further evident from a study by Zillmann, Gibson, and Sargent (1999). An article about accidents at amusement parks was differently illustrated. No photographs were employed in a control condition. The experimental conditions featured either one photograph of joyfully screaming roller-coaster riders, one photograph of a person on a stretcher being moved into an ambulance by medics, or both these photographs. Notwithstanding the provision of accident statistics, the presence of the injury-signaling ambulance image elevated assessments of risk to others and self above the assessments in all other conditions. Imagery appears to assert its effects even when affective reactivity is unlikely or, at best, of modest intensity (Zillmann et al., 1999). Reports about the protability and nancial risks of farming, although amply embellished with accurate statistics, yielded markedly modied estimates of farmers success and failure as the result of the inclusion of a single photographic exemplar of either a wealthy or a poor farmer (i.e., a farmer in front of his airplane and supertruck vs. a farmer plowing his elds with dilapidated farming implements). The modication was always in the direction suggested by the photographs. Such effects are consistent with the proposed accessibility dominance of imagery over text. Alternatively or as a supplementary inuence, they may result, at least in part, from the framing of text (i.e., from its biased interpretation) that is imposed by the continual presence of the images.
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The incidental placement of innocuous photographs into text has also been found to affect issue assessments (Gibson & Zillmann, 2000). A news report on the territorial expansion of ticks and the dependent threat of Lyme disease involved either no photographs, a close-up of both the stationary and the migrating tick, or additional photographs of tick-bite victims of different apparent ethnicity. Although the text gave no indication of the ethnicity of victims, ethnic groups that were pictorially represented were perceived to be at increased risk of catching Lyme disease. Interestingly, the presence of the somewhat threatening tick images alone fostered elevated risk estimates and did so for all ethnic groups. The tick images also prompted more careful processing of the textual information. Evidence thereof comes from superior performance on a test focusing on Lyme disease symptoms by respondents who read the text in the presence of the images as compared to those reading it in their absence. Finally, it has been noted that seemingly irrelevant exemplifications are capable of heightening risk assessments (Perkins, 1999). A television program featured homeowners who shared their concerns about the dangers of radon gas. The text, although held constant, was sectioned such that it could be delivered by different numbers of homeowners. When it was delivered by a larger number of speakers (four to eight), as compared to a smaller number (two), it yielded elevated estimates of risk and greater acceptance of the radon testing of homes. The greater number of speakers appears to have created the impression that the concern is widely shared, and this impression may have mediated the perception of greater communal risk that implicitly includes greater personal risk. In summary, then, emotion-conveying and affect-eliciting exemplars do exert disproportional influence on the assessment of safety and health risks to others and self. This influence is not short lived, such as in priming. Although research demonstrations have not gone beyond 2-week periods, the influence, depending on the intensity of affective reactivity and its effect on information storage and accessibility, appears capable of spanning months, if not years. In this context, the influence of exemplification via imagery, especially threatening imagery, proves to be particularly effective. In text-image admixtures, images are likely to affect the interpretation of text, biasing it in the direction of the image contents. Additionally, threatening images are likely to create curiosity, foster increased attention, and facilitate the processing of related information. Finally, exemplifications that give the impression that concerns are socially shared may elevate the perception of risk to others and self.
Implications for the promotion of safety and health via the communication media

Consideration of the indicated effects of exemplifications on the formation and modification of beliefs, affective reactivity, and action readiness leads to the following recommendations for the effective promotion of safety and health via the communication media.
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1.

The use of so-called base-rate information in the formal quantication of diverse groupings at particular risks to personal welfare is largely ineffective. The same applies to the formal quantication of particular protective actions taken by diverse groupings.

Such quantifications are characterized by poor comprehension (especially with regard to exceedingly small and large numbers, such as minute probabilities and high event frequencies) as well as by similarly poor delayed accessibility that is essential for rendering appropriate assessments at later times (Kahneman, 2001; Loewenstein et al., 2001). Additionally, these quantications, as they are applied to a great variety of issues, are readily confused with one another. Conditions that give quantifications high diagnostic utility (Krupat, Smith, Leach, & Jackson, 1997) or simply great personal signicance (Knobloch, Zillmann, Gibson, & Karrh, 2002) may dene the exception. Such conditions may activate sufcient motivation for the careful processing of the abstractions. In terms of dual-mode processing theories (Chaiken, Liberman, & Eagly, 1989; Petty & Cacioppo, 1986), central or systematic rather than peripheral or heuristic processing would be required. This requirement may well be met by acutely safety- and healthconscious persons. It would appear, however, that such persons constitute a comparatively small minority. As the research consistently demonstrates, safety and health messages are usually not processed with great cognitive investment. 2. Beliefs about the relative frequencies of occurrences that pertain to personal welfare, both situational and social occurrences, are commonly based on the frequencies of their exemplication. Comparisons tend to be construed in ratios. Assessments of the minority versus majority of occurrences, along with subquantications (e.g., a small minority, the overwhelming majority), are obviously ratio conceptions. So are assessments of prevalence, ascendance, or decline. These quantications are approximate rather than precise. The relative distribution of pertinent exemplars in safety- and health-promoting messages thus may be expected to foster beliefs that approximately reect the exemplied quantications.

The elementary quantitative assessments via heuristic information processing usually dominate the potentially more valid systematic assessments. Irrespective of the involvement of formal quantifications, then, the presentation of exemplars in specific distributions is likely to foster corresponding beliefs about their distributions at large. 3. Beliefs about the likelihood of occurrences, and about safety and health risks and success or failure in coping with them, are extensions of the beliefs about the relative frequency of these occurrences.

The assessment of others risks is applied to self whenever assessing persons believe exogenous and endogenous conditions to be parallel. The same applies to
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the assessment of coping effectiveness. To the extent that persons believe the exogenous and endogenous conditions to be different, risk to self is modified in accordance with the perceived discrepancy in these conditions. That is, risk to self will be corrected downward when persons believe themselves to have the advantage over others in coping with the risk, and it will be corrected upward in case persons believe themselves to be more vulnerable than others. Finally, if others risks and personal risks share neither exogenous nor endogenous conditions, the assessment of personal risks does not follow that of others risks and must be expected to be independent of each other. The exemplification of others endangerment and its overcoming thus determines quantitatively approximate perceptions of threats and coping actions for self as well as for others, although the assessment of personal risk is likely to be modified to some degree. Generally speaking, and presumably for reasons of overly optimistic beliefs of self-efficacy in coping (Bandura, 1997; Taylor, Wayment, & Collins, 1993), assessments of risk to self may be expected to fall below those of others risk. 4. Exemplars conveying others emotional experiences and eliciting appreciable affective reactivity exert disproportional inuence and, mostly because of superior accessibility, do so over extended periods of time. These exemplars imposition in consciousness essentially produces overestimates of their prevalence and heightens assessments of risk to personal welfare (Kahneman, 2001; Slovic et al., 2002).

Although the selective use of emotional exemplars violates the criteria of representative exemplification, these exemplars can be used to draw attention to pressing safety and health issues, to alter beliefs concerning risks, and to create a greater readiness for protective and corrective action. The use of emotionally stirring exemplars holds promise of motivating such actions more than purely rational appeals (Loewenstein et al., 2001; Slovic et al., 2002). Because such exemplars are likely to reinstate, at least in part, the central and autonomic concomitants of earlier-felt agony instigated by witnessing or directly experiencing similar situations, they are considered capable of reviving apprehensions in emotional terms, thereby motivating and driving the performance of actions that diminish or remove the threats to safety and health (Frijda, 1986; Zillmann, 1991, 1996). 5. The use of exemplifying imagery, mostly as a complement to informative text, has emerged as a powerful means of creating risk consciousness and of motivating protective and corrective action. Exemplication via emotionally stirring imagery also holds great promise of instigating behavior conducive to safety and health. The effects of such imagery, again owing to superior spontaneous accessibility, should be long term rather than for the moment. The exemplication of safety- and health-threatening conditions via emotionally stirring imagery is capable of fostering curiosity and therewith a need for further information about threats of harm and actions to avert harm or, at least, diminish its potential impact.
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In this connection, recent research on exemplifying imagery and information seeking is of interest (Zillmann, Knobloch, & Yu, 2001). This research shows that images conveying threats to health and safety, when embedded in articles that provide fuller accounts of the image-related threats, arouse curiosity about these threats and ultimately foster more extensive and more careful reading of the articles. Findings concerning the use of the Internet (Knobloch, Hastall, Zillmann, & Callison, 2003; Zillmann, Chen, Knobloch, & Callison, 2004) are particularly suggestive in this regard. More extensive and attentive reading of newsmagazine articles was achieved by attention-arousing imagery as well as by textual lead frames presented in overviews with hyperlinks to the corresponding articles. Taken together, these ndings suggest that relevant imagery and properly framed leads not only can serve to attract readers, listeners, and viewers to pertinent health and safety massages but also may function as markers that dene a guide way to specic audiences. To the extent that lead framing and imagery can be used to reach audiences with distinguishing characteristics, health and safety messages may be designed, analogous to established tailoring procedures (Champion & Huster, 1995; Rimer et al., 2001), with sensitivity to the known characteristics. However, it would not be the individual with known concerns, vulnerabilities, and propensities to whom a message is tailored, but the group of known shared traits (Mickey, Durski, Worden, & Danigelis, 1995). Such message tailoring for groups that relies and depends on selective exposure (Knobloch, Dillman Carpentier, & Zillmann, 2003) has received little attention, and its viability remains to be determined. Considering deliberate information seeking, there can be little doubt that the new communication technology is rapidly becoming the main source of information about personal welfare (Doolittle & Spaulding, 2005). It has been observed, for instance, that women with breast cancer tended to consult medical books more than other sources shortly after the initial diagnosis but that a year and longer thereafter the Internet served as the primary provider of information about cancer (Satterlund, McCaul, & Sandgren, 2003). Similarly, the Internet is increasingly used to obtain information about the rendering of healthcare to family members and possibly other loved ones (Bernhardt & Felter, 2004). There is ample reason, then, to expect that the Internets acceptance as a provider of health information will continue to grow and also that nearly universal access to the net will be achieved. In view of these likely developments, the promotion of public safety and health, in order to be effective, might have to concentrate on this medium of information conveyance.

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