The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM)

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Explanation of theory: When someone tries to persuade others to join in thinking or believing something, a process takes place. Those receivers of the information are to process what the source is saying and in turn decide whether or not to go along with the idea. But what if people do not always process information, and what if they merely go with the crowd? The Elaboration Likelihood Theory (ELM) developed by Social psychologists Petty and Cacioppo, illustrates how persuasion, or the presentation of facts in order to move someone or thing a certain way, takes place. This model “analyzes the likelihood that receivers will cognitively elaborate,” in other words break down the information gathered and determine whether or not the message is enough to persuade the receiver (Enfante, Rancer & Avtgis, 2010, p. 172). In the most advantageous of cases this model suggests that a receiver “considers the content of the persuasive message carefully and has favorable thoughts about the content” (Enfante, Rancer & Avtgis, 2010, p. 172). When receivers engage in cognitive thinking, they participate in the type of persuasion the authors call the “central route” (Enfante, Rancer & Avtgis, 2010, p. 172). Under the central route, the receiver employs positive feelings towards whatever the source is saying and then in turn acts or forms attitudes based off of the positive thoughts. Thus they interact thoughtfully with the information the source is attempting to get across. On the other hand, the authors propose that the other way of assessing information is similar to the bandwagon approach we learn in high school. Any time I think of the bandwagon concept I hear my mother asking “if your friends jumped off a bridge would you jump too?” I thi... ... middle of paper ... ...eir parents were very against the United States involving themselves in other countries. When we were asked to write this assignment my blood boiled when I thought about this example. I was so frustrated that this person could not step outside their ideologies set by their parents and see the debate for what it was. I still think we deserved to win that round, and had we of, my partner and I could have made it farther into the tournament. When I read about ELM it helped me put into perspective just why the judge thought they way they did. I suppose that gives me a little piece of mind, but I am still frustrated that people are unable to see a persuasive message for what it is and leave out any outside beliefs. References Infante, Dominic A., Andrew S. Rancer, and Theodore A. Avtgis. Contemporary Communication Theory. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Pub., 2010. Print.
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