Morally Driven and Emotionally Fueled: The Interactive Effects of Values and Emotions in the Social Transmission of Information Endorsing E-cigarettes
Drawing upon the literature on moral foundations theory and the social transmission of information, our study investigated the effects of values and emotions on the sharing of pro-vaping messages on Twitter. Tweets (N = 9,542) containing top pro-vaping hashtags during the time of e-cigarette or vaping use–associated lung injury (EVALI) and the federal vape bans were analyzed. A lexicon-based machine classifier customized to vaping discourse and the NRC Word-Emotion Association Lexicon were used to produce the frequencies of moral and emotional words in the corpus. Mixed-effects hurdle negative binomial models were performed to predict the likelihood of a post receiving one and more retweets. Results showed that moral foundations, particularly Authority/subversion and Care/harm, and emotions of anger and sadness predicted the sharing of pro-vaping tweets. Interaction effects indicated that both emotions had a stronger effect on eliciting shares when a post contained lower levels of moral foundations. This study provides insights into the mechanism of how pro-vaping messages are amplified on Twitter, emphasizing the roles of moral values and emotions in enabling the process.