Neuroimaging study of HIV-prevention public service announcements

Project Details


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Public service announcements (PSAs) are the key component of media public health HIV prevention efforts targeting HIV risk behaviors. Growth in Web-based advertising and health education extends the potential applications of PSA. Improved methods of PSA evaluation beyond the traditional approaches based on self- report could help improve effectiveness of PSA. We have previously shown that functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain could be a novel tool for objective evaluation of anti-tobacco PSAs. Ongoing work by our group and others, suggests that the brain fMRI correlates of elaborated cognitive processing and personal relevance of PSA can predict positive behavioral changes after anti-tobacco PSA exposure. The present proposal is to extend the data on the brain and behavioral effects of anti-tobacco PSA to the field of HIV/AIDS prevention. Our preliminary fMRI study in healthy young men and women viewing generic PSAs promoting safer sex (SS PSA) that feature predominantly Caucasian actors and heterosexual themes, show gender and race differences in the brain fMRI response to these PSA. African American men who have sex with men (AA MSM) are at highest risk for HIV infection in the US, yet most HIV prevention PSAs are not tailored for this population. We propose to evaluate the impact of the level of personal relevance (tailoring) of HIV prevention PSA on their intended outcomes, by comparing the brain and behavioral outcomes of more and less personally relevant (tailored and untailored) SS PSA in a cohort of 44 AA MSM assigned to view either tailored or untailored SS PSA. We hypothesize that tailoring is likely to be at least as importan for the effectiveness of SS PSA as it is for anti-tobacco PSA. Our specific hypotheses are that (1) SS PSAs tailored to viewer's sexual orientation and race will be better remembered and associated with greater change in the condom use attitudes, than the untailored SS PSA~ (2) Tailored SS PSA induce greater activation in the brain areas related to the self-referential and elaborative process, than the untailored PSA and (3) Brain activation in regions associated with the self-referential process will predict subsequent recall of the PSA and change in condom use attitudes. The proposal would be the first to translate the rapidly growing fund of knowledge on the neuroscience of persuasive communications developed predominantly in the field of tobacco control, to a population at highest risk for HIV acquisition and transmission in the US. The proposal is innovative in its combination of technology, study population and the trans-disciplinary approach. The novelty of this proposal is further underscored by the rapid growth of specialized and personalized Web based venues, through which individuals can access personally relevant health communications. Performance of the project will enable the proposed principal investigator to merge his extensive experience in neuroimaging research on addiction and on public health communications at the intersection of HIV/AIDS and SUD research.
Effective start/end date4/1/133/31/18


  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: $160,000.00
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: $160,000.00


  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Public Administration


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