Harnessing the Selective Effects of Arousal in the Context of Persuasive Message Delivery: Violent Video Games, Reactance, Post-Scroll Messaging, and Anti-Violence Messages
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The present dissertation explored the effectiveness of inserting anti-violence, pro-social messages into violent video games. In light of previous, inconsistent findings relative to the effectiveness of in-game persuasive message placement, this study introduced the notion of "post-scroll" video game messaging (i.e., insertion of a persuasive message immediately after the end of a game level or sequence). The theoretical framework employed in this work suggested that video game play would be associated with heightened levels of arousal. Subsequently, the expectation was that heightened levels of arousal would influence message processing on a conditional basis. The results indeed suggested that the combination of high arousal and low levels of message induced state reactance was associated with a number of favorable message outcomes. The results also suggested that the ability to detect message reactance potential was markedly compromised in highly stimulating media environments. Specifically, the current findings indicated that highly aroused message evaluators may rely on externally provided cues when assessing a message's reactance potential. Taken as a whole, the current work's findings provided initial evidence that post-scroll messaging can be a fruitful means of persuasive message delivery.