Due to the controversial evidence regarding the efficacy of threat campaigns on driving behavior, we addressed the effects of explicit vs. implicit threats. As in other areas of advertisements, we hypothesized that an implicit threat would be more effective, i.e., generate more anxiety than an explicit threat. Furthermore, we hypothesized that such effects would be moderated by driving experience: more experienced drivers when threatened will rely on driving skills and perform in a less cautious manner vs. less experienced drivers who have not yet acquired these skills, and therefore will tend to calm their fear by exercising more caution. Driving behavior in this experimental design was addressed by the Hazard Perception (HP) task. Results were as expected. Anxiety was higher under implicit vs. explicit threat. HP scores however were overall the same for both groups. Implicit priming generated less-cautious behavior in high-experienced drivers while generating more caution for less-experienced drivers. Demonstrating in a single experiment all three driving patterns following threat, namely, no change in driving behavior (whole sample), more cautious driving behavior (less-experience) and less cautious behavior (more-experience), potentially comprises an important step in resolving the aforementioned disparity concerning effects of threat campaigns on driving behavior.
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- Driving experience
- Hazard perception test
- Threat priming