Don t show me Comparative optimism and selective exposure to prevention information among drivers

[Speaker] Perrissol, Stéphane:1
[Co-author] Bardin, Brigitte:1, Smeding, Annique:2, Gargiulo, Danilo:3
1:Toulouse University (France), 2:University of Savoie (France), 3:Paris 8 University (France)

Most of drivers consider they have fewer risks than other drivers to have a car accident. This tendency refers to comparative optimism (CO). CO may be related to negative consequences for driving behaviour. Although some research has shown that intervention programs can reduce CO, one can question large-scale prevention campaigns' efficacy. One reason concerns an aspect of Festinger's cognitive dissonance theory, selective exposure. People tend to avoid information that is inconsistent with and could challenge their attitudes. Consequently, we hypothesised that more optimistic drivers were more likely to expose themselves to prevention information, presumably because they did not feel concerned by the danger mentioned. Based on an abstract concerning complying with the Highway Code, 176 French drivers had to estimate their interest in reading a longer text. Then, they completed McKenna's CO scale. Results are consistent with the hypothesis. Recommendations for prevention will be discussed.
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