Study Aims to Determine Which Anti-Drug Messages are Most Effective


A team of researchers at Ohio State University is trying to determine what anti-drug messages are most likely to cause potential drug abusers to say no to drugs.

28 participants watched 32 30 second PSAs while in an functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner. Half were at high-risk of drug abuse and half were at low-risk. Drug abuse risk was assessed with a self-report measure that the participants had completed earlier.

The researchers looked specifically at connectivity patterns between different parts of the brain while the anti-drug messages played.

Later, the participants rated each PSA on how strong its arguments against drug abuse were.

The study found that low-risk potential drug abusers were able to accurately tell researchers, which messages their brains found most effective while high-risk potential drug abusers were not.

Researchers say the findings point to evidence that people at high-risk for drug abuse are processing anti-drug messages differently than low-risk people.

The study appears in the December 2017 issue of the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

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