Event Abstract

Against smoking public service announcements, a neurometric evaluation of effectiveness

  • 1 Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
  • 2 Brainsigns srl, Italy

Tobacco causes more than 6 million of deaths per year [CDC website] use is the leading cause of preventable death and smoking-related illness worldwide. Research has shown that antismoking advertising may help reduce this habit [Bala et al. 2013]. Nowadays, public service announcements (PSAs) are considered “Effective” or “Ineffective” on the base of official reports concerning behavioral/attitudinal changes toward healthier patterns and health-related savings following the exposure to the PSA [e.g. Atusingwize et al. 2015]. Nevertheless, several studies suggest that the analysis of neurophysiologic signals variations in response to advertising can provide insights into subjects’ emotional and cognitive reaction to them [Astolfi et al. 2008, Vecchiato et al. 2011a, Vecchiato et al. 2011b, Cherubino et al. 2016]. In the present pilot study three neurometric indexes have been used for the evaluation of the efficacy of antismoking PSAs in a reduced sample of voluntary participants. The study applied the gathering of the electroencephalographic (EEG) rhythms variations, as well as the heart rate (HR) and galvanic skin response (GSR). The neurometric indicators here employed, previously used in several studies concerning TV commercials evaluation [Vecchiato et al. 2012, Vecchiato et al. 2014, Maglione et al. 2015], were: the Approach-Withdrawal (AW), the Effort (Eff) and the Emotional indexes (EI). ANOVA results suggested a significant higher values for AW , Effort and Emotional indexes (p=0,02; p= 0,03 and p= 0,01 respectively) related to the perception of the “Effective” antismoking PSA against the perception of the “Ineffective” one (Fig.1). Furthermore, behavioral data were collected, asking subjects, at the end of the recording session, to list all the advertisements they remember to have just watched. Subsequently they were asked to rate the advertisements they remembered assigning a score from 0 to 10. Behavioral results showed that 71.43% of the participants remembered the Effective PSA while only the 14.28% of the subjects remembered the Ineffective one. The Effective PSA reported an average score of 8±d.s.2.34 (with one subject rating the Effective PSA 4 and all the other subjects rating it between 8 and 10). The Ineffective PSA was remembered by 1 participant and the assigned rate was 5. A logistic regression analysis was then performed only between the Effective PSA recall values and each of the indexes; a statistical significance was reported for EI values (p=0.004), but not for the AW (p=0.19) or the Eff (p=0.76) indexes. Similarly, a correlation between rating scores of the Effective PSA and the estimated neurometric indexes values has been performed, but it didn’t reach the statistical significance: Eff (r=0.35), EI (r=0.09), AW (r=0.30). The sum the results here presented, support the observation that the neurometric approach to the study of anti-smoking PSAs revealed to be consistent with the classification of effectiveness based on behavioral and economic data. Since this is a pilot study, the results obtained need further investigation, in terms of enlarged stimuli sample and number of participants to provide indications concerning a possible neurometric pattern of the relevant features to be included in the realization of effective anti-smoking PSAs.

Figure 1


The present work was supported in part by the European Commission by Horizon2020 project HCO-06-2015, “SmokeFreeBrain”, GA n. 681120. Authors thank the students and the personnel of Residenza Universitaria Don Bosco of Rome for their availability.


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Keywords: EEG, alpha, theta, TV commercial, advertisements, emotion, GSR, HR, Skin conductance

Conference: SAN2016 Meeting, Corfu, Greece, 6 Oct - 9 Oct, 2016.

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation in SAN 2016 Conference

Topic: Oral Presentations

Citation: Cartocci G, Maglione A, Modica E, Rossi D, Cherubino P and Babiloni F (2016). Against smoking public service announcements, a neurometric evaluation of effectiveness. Conference Abstract: SAN2016 Meeting. doi: 10.3389/conf.fnhum.2016.220.00096

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Received: 01 Aug 2016; Published Online: 01 Aug 2016.

* Correspondence: PhD. Giulia Cartocci, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy, giulia.cartocci@uniroma1.it