alexa Heuristic versus systematic information processing and the use of source versus message cues in persuasion.
Social & Political Sciences

Social & Political Sciences

Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

Author(s): Chaiken Shelly

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In Exp I, 183 undergraduates read a persuasive message from a likable or unlikable communicator who presented 6 or 2 arguments on 1 of 2 topics. High involvement (HI) Ss anticipated discussing the message topic at a future experimental session, whereas low-involvement (LI) Ss anticipated discussing a different topic. For HI Ss, opinion change was significantly greater given 6 arguments but was unaffected by communicator likability. For LI Ss, opinion change was significantly greater given a likable communicator but was unaffected by the argument's manipulation. In Exp II with 80 similar Ss, HI Ss showed slightly greater opinion change when exposed to 5 arguments from an unlikable (vs 1 argument from a likable) communicator, whereas LI Ss exhibited significantly greater persuasion in response to 1 argument from a likable (vs 5 arguments from an unlikable) communicator. Findings support the idea that HI leads message recipients to employ a systematic information processing strategy in which message-based cognitions mediate persuasion, whereas LI leads recipients to use a heuristic processing strategy in which simple decision rules mediate persuasion. Support was also obtained for the hypothesis that content- vs source-mediated opinion change would result in greater persistence.

This article was published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and referenced in Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

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