It’s predominantly because people evolved to respond intuitively to all sorts of threats, rather than think about them too much. To think about them would require time and effort, so it was eminently more efficient to respond to the fear first and think about it later.

Fear can have a powerful effect on our behaviour—motivating us to eat less, give up smoking and buy products. It’s that power that has researchers focused on the applications of fear in marketing and modifying consumer behaviour, writes Dr Paul Harrison.

So much of our buying behaviour is about insuring ourselves against a scary world and a frightening future. The technique is so common, you’ve probably heard it all before. For the uninitiated, when it comes to fear…

– Dr Paul Harrison

via Researchers probe the use of fear in marketing – Talking Shop – ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).