The Sacramento Bee:
Can graphic images persuade people to make lasting changes to their behavior? The answer, according to psychological research, is probably not.
Dr. Howard Leventhal, the Board of Governors Professor of Health Psychology at Rutgers, agrees that photos are in fact stronger than words, but that images may not lead to long-term behavioral effects. Leventhal states, “You don’t need a lot of threat to get something to happen as long as the threat is associated with a clear, simple plan of action. For cigarettes, it’s more complicated, you may need a more potent level to get people to change.”