This model majorly focuses on how attitudesare formed and changed through persuasion. In this study we discussed on thetenets of elaboration likelihood model, its weaknesses as highlighted bycritics and practical examples how this communication theory can be used toshift attitudes. HISTORY OF ELM.
The model was developed by Richard E. Petty and John T. Cacioppo in the 1980s. Elaboration Likelihood Model arguesthat persuasion is a dual-process. Which takes a central and peripheral route. Accordingto this model, people choose to manage information either systematically orheuristically.
According to the theory’s developers, the model intended toprovide a general “ framework for organizing, categorizing and understanding thebasic processes underlying the effectiveness of persuasive communications. Thestudy of attitudes and persuasion began as the central focus on socialpsychology, featured in the work of psychologists Gordon Allport (1935) andEdward Alsworth Ross (1908). Allport described attitudes as ” the mostdistinctive and indispensable concept in contemporary social psychology”. Considerable research was devoted to the study of attitudes and persuasion fromthe 1930s through the late 1970s. These studies embarked on various relevantissues regarding attitudes and persuasion, such as consistency betweenattitudes and behaviors and the processes underlying attitude/behaviorcorrespondence. However, Petty and Cacioppo noticed a major problem facingattitude and persuasion researchers to the effect that there was minimalagreement regarding “ if, when, and how the traditional source, message, recipient, and channel variables affected attitude change”. Noticing thisproblem, Petty and Cacioppo developed the elaboration likelihood model as theirattempt to account for the differential persistence of communication-inducedattitude change.
Petty and Cacioppo suggested that different empirical findingsand theories on attitude persistence could be viewed as stressing one of tworoutes to persuasion which they presented in their elaboration likelihoodmodel. KEY ELEMENTS OF ELABORATION LIKELIHOOD MODEL. CentralRoute of persuasionThis is the route in elaborationlikelihood model where an audience receives the information presented to them, thinksabout it critically and considers changing their attitude, way of thinking or behavior.
It is influenced mainly by their elaboration of the information presented tothem, understanding and consideration of the facts, ideas or content of themessage. The success of this route of persuasion is highly dependent on; 1) The motivation to think about themessage which is influenced by the receiver’s interest of the message. 2) The ability to think or elaborate themessage. Is the receiver capable of thinking or brainstorming on the message. It is depended on the audience’s capability to think soundly.
Advantages of central route of persuasion1) persuasion, attitude or behaviour changeresulting from central processing lasts longer. This is because there have beensound or active involvement by the audience to elaborate the content of themessage before arriving to a point of attitude change. 2) The behaviour of the message receiveris predictable. Peripheralroute of persuasionIn this route of persuasion, the messagereceiver is influenced by general impressions.
These are inclusive of perceivedexpertise, credibility, outward attractiveness, art of message presentation andgeneral appeal or appearance. Elaboration of the message is low. The audiencehave very little interest or none at all and are not able to process the message. Thus, easily swayed by external factors.
In this case, the audience lacks inmotivation and ability unlike in the central route of persuasion. Message receiversin this context are likely to be persuaded even before a presentation is madebecause the presenter looks appealing or is considered of higher credibility. Changeof attitude or behaviour does not last long. Where there is need for thelistener to stick to their changed attitude, there would be need to reinforcethis decision making by frequent appearances or reminder by the source of the persuasionmessage. APPLICATION OF ELABORATIONLIKELIHOOD MODEL (ELM).· Inthe health sector. ELM can be used in thehealth sector to create awareness like on matters pertaining family planning.
Acase of 2 women, Cara and Laura. Cara comes across information on various familyplanning methods while visiting a relative of hers at the hospital. She gainsinterest in the matter and even does further research on the same once she getshome. After further research and analysis, she is persuaded to use ‘ The pill’as her choice of family planning method. In this case, she used the CentralRoute of Persuasion. On the other hand, Laurawho is not sure which family planning method to use, visits her long-timefriend to seek advice from her. Her friend informs her that she uses ‘ the coil’as her family planning method and it has turned out to be effective. SinceLaura trusts her friend a lot, she decides that she’s also going to start using’the coil’, just because her friend has persuaded her to do so, not putting inmind that there might be side effects.
In this case, she has used thePeripheral Route of Persuasion. · InMarketing and Advertising. ELM can be used when anorganization is trying to persuade its prospective customers to purchase a certainproduct or services. With ELM, Advertisers research on products and give vividdescriptions on the use of such products to customers. In most cases, clients willonly use a product after in depth study of the product. The motivation to usethe product will only come after a keen analysis of the said product. I.
e. its nutrients, composition and its side effects. In this case, he embraces central route of persuasion. A perfect example is anadvert on body creams. However impressive an advert praises a body cream; consumers need to have good knowledge on how compatible the cream is to theirskin.
This is to mean that central route is the most applicable mode ofpersuasion. Peripheral route can comein handy, when dealing with fashion and beverages to persuade consumers. With theseindustries advertisers mostly use celebrities as brand ambassadors to influencehow prospective consumers associate with a product without a need to think anyfurther about it.
For example, a cloth line with new trendy clothes will bestsell it new designs by having celebrities and video vixens use its product toentice viewers about a new trend in town. Since celebrities set standards towhat is trendy and fashionable the market will swing with the wave to use thetrendy products without analyzing the effectiveness of the product. They arepersuaded to use the products by celebrities. RESEARCH QUESTIONS TheElaboration likelihood model takes persuasion in only two angles; Central andperipheral routes. We came up with three objective questions to understand thescope of persuasion.
· To what extent does ELMinfluence decision-making?· What is the role ofexperts in persuading individuals in attitude change?· What is the effectivenessof ELM in enhancing persuasion in the field of advertising? CRITICISM OF ELM. Perloff R. M (2003) argues that the theoryhas two main limitations: first, the theory fails to elaborate how messages caninfluence people, resulting into them changing their minds. Second, he says thatmost people’s thoughts are overridden by persuasive messages such that mostdecisions they make are a result of ‘ mental shortcuts’. Gotlieb and Swan (1990), argue thatconsumers lean towards affordability as a motivation to deal with a message butvery little evidence justifies the motivation level. Their argument also positsthat the ELM model does not adequately foresee the ‘ dispute effects’ of themessage.
Cole, Etterson, Reinke and Schrader (1990), claim that the three experiments the ELM models were based on gave ‘ conflictingresults’. This was because; some forms of advertisements used very limitedinformation compared to others. For example, billboards contained just a fewwords compared to other forms such as TV commercials. In such cases, the ELMmodel does not specify which the central route is and which the peripheralroute is. From the above, it can be seen that the modellimits itself by looking at two approaches to persuasion, which is inadequatewhen trying to determine internal stability and doubt in consumers of amessage.