Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"Central Route Persuasion"

In the 1980s, Rich Petty and John Cacioppo developed a framework, known as the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM), for understanding different types of persuasion processes.

Their key distrinction was between central and peripheral routes to persuasion. The former pertains to logical, rational forms of communication, the arguments of which can stand up to close scrutiny. The latter pertains to factors extraneous to message content, such as the attractiveness of the speaker. The full ELM delineates conditions under which message recipients will or will not attend carefully to persuasive communications and thus, ultimately, what kinds of messages will be successful under what circumstances.

This PowerPoint slide show from Phillip Clampitt at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay describes the ELM in greater detail.

I dedicate this song to Rich Petty, Russ Fazio, and the gang at Ohio State's Group for Attitudes and Persuasion, who've been so friendly to me on my biennial visits to campus.

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Central Route Persuasion
Lyrics by Alan Reifman
(May be sung to the tune of “Crystal Blue Persuasion,” James/Vale/Gray)

You study attitudes, in psychology,
There’s the ELM theory, Cacioppo ’n Petty,
Multiple ways to convince, and speakers are ranging,
There’s one approach called, Central route persuasion,

Does the receiver, pay close attention?
Oh, does she have a high, Need for Cognition?
If the answers are “yes,” now, then what you will find,
Is attitude change, of the rational kind,

(Instrumental build-up)

Central route persuasion,
It’s the strength, of argu-men-ta-tion,
Central route persuasion,
To guide, experimentation,

Peripheral cues, are outside message content,
They may sway a listener, who focuses on,
The looks of the speaker, or if the room has a scent,
Not the logical kind, to hit your mind, not…

Central route persuasion,

(Instrumental)

Central route persuasion,
It’s the strength, of argu-men-ta-tion,
Central route persuasion,
To guide, experimentation,

Central route persuasion…
(Fade out)

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Further Reading

Petty, R.E., & Cacioppo, J.T. (1986). The Elaboration Likelihood Model of persuasion. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 19, pp. 123-205). New York: Academic Press.

Petty, R.E., & Cacioppo, J.T. (1986). Communication and persuasion: Central and peripheral routes to attitude change. New York: Springer/Verlag.

Petty, R.E., Rucker, D., Bizer, G., & Cacioppo, J.T. (2004). The elaboration likelihood model of persuasion. In J. S. Seiter & G. H. Gass (Eds.), Perspectives on persuasion, social influence and compliance gaining (pp. 65-89). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

[See also Chaiken and Eagly's Heuristic-Systematic Persuasion Model, which has some similarity to the ELM.]

5 comments:

Marianne said...

These songs are great! They make the concepts very memorable. What do you do if a class doesn't know the original well enough to sing along? Do you just do a solo? Do you have a backup band or do you sing a Capella?

alan said...

Good questions. I try to have some musical accompaniment, although a backup band is slightly outside of my department's budget. :)

If I have a CD that contains the song, I play it at a low volume. That way, the music comes through and I/we can sing over the original lyrics (sort of like karaoke).

Increasingly, you can find video clips of song performances on YouTube.com or video.google.com, so those can also be used to provide the accompaniment.

If you're concerned about whether students will know the tune well enough to sing along, you can just play the CD or online video clip (alone) first, to familiarize the students.

The above steps should facilitate students' singing along, but sometimes you still may end up singing solo.

Anonymous said...

Your ability to come up with these rhymes continues to amaze. One caveat: Central route processing generally, but does not always, lead to more "rational" processing. Biased elaboration can occur whereby people selectively scrutinize (say) counterattitudinal information more than proattitudinal information.

Suzanne said...

whoa - where were you when i was taking prelims at the uw-madison, 1993. love it, love it, love it.

Joe said...

Hi, that's some nice lyrical writing, but I just wanted to point something out:

"Central route persuasion,
It’s the strength, of argu-men-ta-tion,"

"Peripheral cues, are outside message content, They may sway a listener, who focuses on,
The looks of the speaker, or if the room has a scent,"

You're forgetting the multiple roles postulate of ELM that states that variables exogenous to the message are not necessarily peripherally processed. In some instances, things like physical attractiveness and beauty can, if relevant to the situation, act as "arguments".

In fact, this point is what was used in defense of ELM and its dual route model cousin HSM from the proposal of a more parsimonious "Unimodel" as proposed by Kruglanski and Thompson.