Visual communication of health risks: emotional differences between designers and users.

PhD thesis

Hsieh, H. 2011. Visual communication of health risks: emotional differences between designers and users. PhD thesis Middlesex University School of Health and Social Sciences
TypePhD thesis
TitleVisual communication of health risks: emotional differences between designers and users.
AuthorsHsieh, H.

The central aim of this research was to determine whether differences exist between those with and without formal training in design in emotional response to visual stimuli of health risks. In achieving this aim, two studies were conducted. Study 1 measured emotional responses to visual warnings for cigarette packets in 215 Taiwanese participants using a Chinese translation of the abbreviated PAD Emotion Scales. A Chinese version of the NEO-FFI personality test was implemented to assess personality constructs and investigate the extent to which personality traits are related to the emotional measures. Study 2 replicated Study 1, based on a sample of 324 participants and employing expanded stimuli, which included different kinds of health risks. Study 2 further investigated participants‘ judgements of effectiveness and good-design with regard to visual messages of risks, and investigated how four gradational levels of expertise in design influenced emotional response. The effect of fear appeals was also a consideration in Study 2.
Analyses revealed differences between the emotional responses of designers and users. The NEO-FFI showed that the designers scored highly on Neuroticism and Openness in comparison with the users. Multiple regressions indicated that only Openness predicted pleasure scores of the users, but no such effect was observed for designers. Thus, personality was not a direct influence on emotional differences between designers and users. There were effects of level of expertise on all three dimensions of the PAD Emotion Scales. In addition, there were effects of participants‘ sex on the dominance scale, although these were less pronounced than the effect of expertise. Emotions appeared to be strong predictors of judgements of effectiveness and good-design, but no significant main effects were found between groups of different levels of expertise as to their judgments of effectiveness and judgements of good-design towards the stimuli. The influence of fear appeals showed apparent differences between the groups.
Overall, these results bridge a gap in our knowledge of emotional differences between designers and users in responding to health risks. Implications for visual communication of health risks, emotional design, as well as directions for future research are discussed.

Department nameSchool of Health and Social Sciences
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print03 Feb 2011
Publication process dates
Deposited03 Feb 2011
CompletedJan 2011
Output statusPublished
Additional information

A Thesis Submitted to The School of Health and Social Science - Psychology, Middlesex University in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

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