ERIC Number: ED267364
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Evidence for Heuristic Processing of Persuasive Messages: A Priming Approach.
Wilson, Dawn K.; And Others
Recent research in persuasion shows that while message recipients often use little cognitive effort when assessing message validity, they may instead rely on a heuristic processing strategy. This study used a priming-like paradigm to manipulate the reliability that subjects apply to the heuristic "message length implies message strength." Subjects were pretested in class to assess their level of need for cognition. In the first study, the priming phase, subjects were asked to rate a set of statements to assess the goodness of certain rules of thumb. Under high association, subjects rated statements that showed a strong relationship between number and quality of arguments. Under low association, subjects rated statements that showed no relationship between argument quality and number. In the second study, the persuasion phase, a second experimenter asked students to generate a physical description of a speaker based on hearing the person's voice. The tape of the voice contained a persuasive message advocating comprehensive exams as a requirement for graduation. The number of arguments supporting the exam requirement was varied for subjects. Subjects judged to be low in need for cognition who received the relevant heuristic as reliable were most influenced by a purportedly longer versus a shorter message. For low need-for-cognition subjects, estimated number of arguments significantly predicted attitude under high association, but for high need-for-cognition subjects, issue-related thoughts were most predictive of attitude. The results provide further evidence for the heuristic model of persuasion. (ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (93rd, Los Angeles, CA, August 23-27, 1985).