Research Article: Threat appeals reduce impulsive decision making associated with texting while driving: A behavioral economic approach

Date Published: March 7, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Yusuke Hayashi, Anne M. Foreman, Jonathan E. Friedel, Oliver Wirth, Wojciech Białaszek.

http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0213453

Abstract

The primary purpose of the present study was to examine the effectiveness of threat appeals in influencing impulsive decision making associated with texting while driving. The participants in the treatment group were exposed to a threatening message about the danger of texting while driving, whereas those in the control group were exposed to a non-threatening message. Following the exposure to either message, the participants completed a delay-discounting task that assessed the degree of impulsive decision making in a hypothetical texting-while-driving scenario. A comparison between the groups revealed that the threat appeals reduced the degree of impulsive decision making associated with texting while driving. In addition, the threat appeals led to greater anticipated regret from texting while driving, less favorable attitudes toward texting while driving, and decreased intentions to text while driving in the future in the treatment group. These results suggest that video-based threat appeals are promising intervention strategies for the public health challenge of texting while driving. Implications from the behavioral economic perspective are discussed.

Partial Text

Distracted driving is defined as driving while attention is drawn away from the driving task to focus on another activity [1]. The form of distraction can be visual (e.g., looking away from the roadway), manual (e.g., taking a hand off the steering wheel and manipulating a device or object), or cognitive (e.g., thinking about something other than driving), and all of these forms of distraction increase the risk of a motor vehicle crash [1]. In the United States, 3,450 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes caused by distracted driving in 2016 [2] and an estimated 391,000 people were injured in 2015 [3]. The total economic costs of distraction-related motor vehicle crashes in the United States were estimated to be greater than $40 billion in 2010 [4].

Table 1 shows the demographic characteristics and perceived efficacy and threat for both groups. No significant differences among groups were found for gender, χ2(1) = .00, p = .964; age, t(98) = -.83, p = .411; years of higher education, t(98) = -.45, p = .656; years driving, t(98) = -.45, p = .652; past TWD frequency, t(98) = .33, p = .740; or perceived efficacy, t(98) = 1.00, p = .321. With respect to the perceived threat of potentially killing someone due to texting while driving (i.e., manipulation check), there was a significant difference between groups, t(98) = -7.01, p < .001. The first purpose of the present study was to examine the effectiveness of threat appeals in influencing impulsive decision making associated with texting while driving. The participants in the treatment group were exposed to the threatening message about the danger of texting while driving, whereas those in the control group were exposed to a non-threatening message. The results show that the threat appeals reduced the degree of impulsive decision making associated with texting while driving, as assessed by the delay discounting task. The threat appeals also improved attitudes toward texting while driving and reduced intentions of engaging in texting while driving in the future.   Source: http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0213453

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.