Anti-drug ads may be designed to prevent illicit drug use, but might they also lead to a greater desire for experimenting
with drugs? Priming theory suggests the ads could cause viewers to exaggerate drug use prevalence and expose
gaps in viewers’ experiential knowledge. By keeping the concept of adolescent drug use salient, anti-drug ads may
trigger social comparison and make them wonder why drugs are so popular. Two studies explore such a possibility. Results
from an initial between-participants experiment (N = 65) indicate curiosity-arousal may be an unintended function of
viewing anti-drug ads. A follow-up study (N=28) replicates the findings and further examines likely causes of curiosityarousal.