DOI: 10.1002/mar.21947 ISSN: 0742-6046

Emotions in fear communication: A cross‐cultural neuromarketing approach

José M. Mas, Andrés Gómez, Oliver Carrero
  • Marketing
  • Applied Psychology


This research analyzes how the receiver's emotional response to fear communication differs across cultural groups of origin (Europe vs. Latin America), as well as individual traits such as the level of fear of each individual, motivated by the lack of previous studies that address the receiver's reaction from a cross‐cultural perspective in this type of communication. To achieve this objective, this work was born from the conjunction of two lines of research, which are synergistic. On the one hand, we have focused on works based on the theory of the appeal to fear, which, as we have seen, discusses the different reactions that the news receiver may have to fear communication. On the other hand, studies concerning the uncertainty avoidance theory explain different emotional behaviors in the face of fear, depending on the individual's cultural biases. We analyze whether the culture of origin moderates the emotional response to this type of communication, as well as whether culture of origin also influences the relationship between the level of personal fear and the emotion felt about the fear communication. To answer these questions, we have used neuromarketing techniques to analyze the emotional response to a series of images taken from The New York Times, the most widely‐circulated English‐language general daily newspaper. We selected these images by grouping the issues that generated the most concern among the world's population in 2022. The present research results indicate a significant discovery: persons originating from Latin American cultures displayed a notably more significant emotional response to fear communication than individuals from European cultures. This underscores the major impact of cultural context on the emotional processing of fear communication.

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