Young people learn more from positive messages than negative warnings

Young people are more likely to pay attention to health and safety campaigns with positive messages than negative warnings, according to new research

The study, conducted by University College London, involved 52 volunteers aged nine to 26. Participants were presented with a range of events, such as disease or car accidents, and asked to assess the risk of such an event happening to them. They were then shown the actual statistics for each event, and asked again to evaluate their risk.

Younger participants were less likely to learn from negative information, while the ability to learn from positive messages was the same across all ages in the study.

Researchers say the results might help shed light on why health warnings and graphic images on cigarette packaging has had little effect on reducing the number of teens that take up smoking.

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