How Persuasive Are Health Advertisements in First-Person Shooter Games? Exploring Knowledge-Activation and Thought-Disruption Mechanisms Academic Article uri icon


  • 2018 Eastern Communication Association. This study examined whether persuasive health messages embedded in shooter games have broad or targeted effects on players willingness to engage in risk behaviors (N = 145). Participants presented with in-game health messages discouraging alcohol-impaired driving of motor vehicles showed reduced willingness to drink alcohol and to operate both motor and nonmotor vehicles, compared to those in a no-message gaming control condition. There were no spillover effects on willingness to smoke cigarettes or marijuana, thus implying targeted persuasive effects. In addition, players experiencing high instead of low cognitive load showed decreased postexperiment willingness to drink and operate nonmotor vehicles, thus suggesting that playing a game under high cognitive load can influence players attitudes. The findings replicate previous research and further expand on knowledge-activation and thought-disruption mechanisms underlying the persuasiveness of health messages.

published proceedings

  • Communication Research Reports

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Pea, J., Khan, S., Burrows, C. N., & Blanton, H.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Peña, Jorge||Khan, Subuhi||Burrows, Christopher N||Blanton, Hart

publication date

  • August 2018