DRUGS OR DROGAS: WHICH ONES TO TAKE? A study on the role of the Foreign Language Effect in the persuasiveness of anti-drug campaigns targeting Spanish native speakers.

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To expand knowledge on the role of the foreign language effect in the persuasiveness of anti-drug campaigns targeting Hispanics, the present study investigated the effect of language (L1-Spanish/L2-English) and appeal (rational/emotional) on the persuasiveness, emotionality, rationality, and cognitive effect of anti-drug campaigns. The aim of the present investigation is to improve future language strategies as part of the academic field of communication and linguistics. In addition, research on anti-drug campaigns might prevent future drug use, given the increasing popularity of drugs among festival visitors. The materials consisted of four anti-drug campaigns: English rational campaign, Spanish rational campaign, English emotional campaign, Spanish emotional campaign. One condition per participant was randomly assigned to 173 Spanish native speakers between 18-30 with English as a second or foreign language. Persuasiveness, emotionality, rationality, and cognitive effect were measured with an online questionnaire. Findings proved a significant effect of general emotionality of language, and a significant interaction effect between language and appeal for emotionality of ad and cognitive effect. The foreign language effect occurred for Spanish and English, implying that Spanish was perceived as more emotional than English by the Hispanic participants. The present study suggests combining emotional appeals with Spanish or rational appeals with English to increase emotionality and comprehensibility of future anti-drug campaigns targeting Hispanics.
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