The persuasion network is modulated by drug-use risk and predicts anti-drug message effectiveness

Richard Huskey, J. Michael Mangus, Benjamin O. Turner, René Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


While a persuasion network has been proposed, little is known about how network connections between brain regions contribute to attitude change. Two possiblemechanisms have been advanced. One hypothesis predicts that attitude change results from increased connectivity between structures implicated in affective and executive processing in response to increases in argument strength. A second functional perspective suggests that highly arousing messages reduce connectivity between structures implicated in the encoding of sensory information, which disruptsmessage processing and thereby inhibits attitude change. However, persuasion is amulti-determined construct that results from bothmessage features and audience characteristics. Therefore, persuasivemessages should lead to specific functional connectivity patterns among a priori defined structures within the persuasion network. The present study exposed 28 subjects to anti-drug public service announcements where arousal, argument strength, and subject drug-use risk were systematically varied. Psychophysiological interaction analyses provide support for the affective-executive hypothesis but not for the encoding-disruption hypothesis. Secondary analyses show that video-level connectivity patterns among structures within the persuasion network predict audience responses in independent samples (one college-aged, one nationally representative). We propose that persuasion neuroscience research is best advanced by considering network-level effects while accounting for interactions between message features and target audience characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1902-1915
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Elaboration likelihood model
  • FMRI
  • Functional connectivity
  • Persuasion
  • Public service announcements


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