Cognitive Processing of Fear-Arousing Message Content

Jerold L. Hale, Robert Lemieux, Paul A. Mongeau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Path analyses were conducted to test models consistent with predictions made by the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) and Heuristic-Systematic Model (HSM) of cognitive processing. Levels of fear-arousing message content and trait anxiety were controlled. Broken out by fear-arousing content, a control analogous to issue involvement, the data show antagonistic message processing. For low-fear message recipients, messages were processed centrally (systematically). For high-fear message recipients, there is evidence of peripheral (heuristic) processing. Broken out by trait anxiety, a control analogous to both chronic fear and need for cognition, there is evidence of both concurrent and antagonistic processing. For low-anxiety people, there is evidence of simultaneous processing of central (systematic) and peripheral (heuristic) cues. For high-anxiety people, there is evidence of central (systematic) processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-474
Number of pages16
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Cognitive Processing of Fear-Arousing Message Content'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this