Message Elaboration versus Peripheral Cues
It is now clear that a wide variety of variables can affect a person’s motivation and/or ability to consider issue-relevant arguments in either a relatively objective or in a relatively biased manner. However, according to the ELM, extensive issue and argument processing is only one route to persuasion or resistance. When people are relatively unmotivated or unable to process issue-relevant arguments, attitude changes may still occur if peripheral cues are present in the persuasion situation. In fact, the ELM postulates a tradeoff between argument processing and the operation of peripheral cues: as argument scrutiny (whether objective or biased) is reduced, peripheral cues become relatively more important determinants of persuasion, but as argument scrutiny (whether objective or biased) is increased, peripheral cues become relatively less important. In the first part of this chapter we discuss the tradeoff between relatively objective processing and the operation of cues, and in the second part of this chapter we discuss the tradeoff as it applies to biased processing.
KeywordsNonverbal Behavior Personal Relevance Argument Quality Source Expertise Weak Argument
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