The Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion

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On New Year’s Day, 1986, U.S. President Ronald Reagan and U.S.S.R. Premier Mikhail Gorbachev appeared on television in each others countries. It was the first time that American and Russian leaders had exchanged messages that were simultaneously televised. Reagan’s message, broadcast without warning during the popular Soviet evening news, spoke of world peace and called for the development of new defensive weapons. Gorbachev’s message, which appeared while many Americans were watching coverage of the traditional Tournament of Roses parade, also spoke of peace but decried seeking security with new weaponry. How effective were these messages likely to be? What would be the major determinant of effectiveness—the substance of the messages, or the appearance and demeanor of the speakers? If the messages produced attitude changes, would these changes last and would they lead to changes in behavior?