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Assessing Physiological, Neural, and Self-Reported Response to Tobacco Education Messages

Principal Investigator: Meghan Moran (CTP contacts: Matthew Walker and Mario Navarro)

Funding Mechanism: Centers of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation Grant (CERSI)

ID number: 3U01FD005942-03S1

Award Date: 9/1/2018

Institution: Johns Hopkins University 


This project uses neuroimaging, physiological, and self-report measures to assess responses to FDA tobacco education messages from “The Fresh Empire”, “The Real Cost” and “This Free Life” campaigns. To align with FDA campaign target audiences, the project will recruit 100 adolescents (ages 12-17, stratified by race/ethnicity), 50 young adults (ages 18-24, stratified by LGBT status), and 50 adult smokers (ages 25-54, stratified by past-year quit attempt). Physiological measures will assess indicators of arousal (such as heart rate variability) and affective response (such as facial muscle activity). Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), a brain monitoring technique, will measure activation of different brain areas to assess message processing and acceptance. Eye tracking methods will be used to assess attention to messages and message features. Self-report measures will assess message efficacy (e.g., perceived effectiveness, recall, comprehension, agreement with the message main point) and indicators of persuasive processes (e.g., identification with characters, transportation into the message, emotional response, counterarguing). Outcome measures will include changes from baseline in knowledge, attitudes and behavioral intent. Findings will enhance the understanding of effective tobacco education messaging tactics and may inform future tobacco education campaigns.

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