Cognitive and Emotional Processes of Metaphorical Cancer Communications

Cognitive and Emotional Processes of Metaphorical Cancer Communications

The proposed project offers a novel integration of growing research in psychology showing that metaphor is a mental tool that helps people to grasp abstract ideas in terms that are more concrete. Applying this research to cancer communication leads to the hypothesis that messages that use metaphor to compare cancer risks to concrete hazards, and to compare cancer prevention behaviors to concrete prevention practices, will elicit an energizing level of cancer worry and strengthen efficacy cognitions. This knowledge of how metaphor-induced emotions and cognitions interactively influence behavior suggests new strategies for creating metaphoric messages that will be uniquely effective at motivating behaviors that reduce cancer risk. 


Current Project
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Project ID
NIH0071500

Project Administration

Principal Investigator:

Contact Information

Mark Landau
785-864-8121
Fraser Hall Room 445
University of Kansas
1415 Jayhawk Boulevard
Lawrence, KS 66045-7556

Project Publications

Landau, M.J., Arndt, J., & Cameron, L.D. (2018). Do metaphors in health messages work? Exploring emotional and cognitive factors. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 74, 135-149.

Spina, M. Arndt, J., Landau, M.J., & Cameron, L.D. (2018). Enhancing health message framing with metaphor and cultural values: Impact on Latinas’ cervical cancer screening. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 52, 106-115.

Mosley, A.J., Swanson, T.J., & Landau, M.J. (in press). Embodied health. In K. Sweeny & M. Robbins (Eds.), Wiley Encyclopedia of Health Psychology.

Project Presentations

Landau, M. J. (2015). Metaphoric cancer messages: How and when they motivated prevention behavior. Invited presentation given at the colloquium series of the Cancer Control and Population Health group. KU Medical Center.

Cameron, L.D., Landau, M.J., & Arndt, J. (2017). Metaphor use in skin cancer prevention messages: Mediating and moderating roles of affective risk appraisals. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, San Diego, CA.

Project News

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