In the world of psychology, an attitude signifies sentiments, beliefs, and comportment that habitually result of experience and can have a potent influence over behavior. Cognitive based attitudes are based primarily on people’s beliefs, knowledge, and thoughts about the properties of an attitude object. Affectively based attitudes are attitudes based more on people’s feelings, emotions, and values they hold regarding an attitude object other than on their beliefs. Attitudes are not stable; they frequently change. They’re not only molded by external influences, but also by persuasive communication. Persuasion is part of every characteristic of our every day lives. The elaboration likelihood model is one of the most frequently cited models of persuasion. The elaboration likelihood models’ goal is to strive for explanations on how individuals process stimuli differently and how using persuasive communications influences the process of changing attitude and behavior. Elaboration indicates the expanse of determination an audience participant has to use in order to process and appraise a message, and memorize it to then accept it or reject it. The level of elaboration will then define which processing route the message takes: the central or the peripheral route to persuasion.
The central route to persuasion involves an elevated level of elaboration. This is when people “elaborate on the messages they hear, carefully thinking about and processing the content of the communication,” (Aronson, Wilson, & Akert, 2016, p. 201). That is the outcome of the high motivation level. People know what is important to them, therefore investing time into examining the message, remaining focused and ignoring the distractions as they seek their goals. For a central route to persuasion example, I have selected an advertisement from Woman’s Day magazine that is advertising the American Cruse Lines “Rolling on the Mississippi.” I suppose it is attempting to persuade the audience through this route because it is a decision you have to carefully make and think about the facts presented. The persuasive communication takes place as the advertisement informs the audience it is a 5 to 22-day cruise along the grand Mississippi River. The page displays a cut out part of the map that guides you through the route it will take. The advertisements’ description enlightens the audience with what the cruise line offers: historic destinations, historical treasures, cultural traditions, gracious service, delicious cuisine, and their brand new paddlewheelers. As a central route example, the propositions listed above would be something the audience would pay very close attention to. The advertisement also contains strengths like awards they have been recognized for, “2017 Magellan Gold Award,” “World Travel Award Winner 2017,” and “American Best Cruise Line for Solo Travelers.” The audience will then continue the research, find out the price for this cruise, and verify if this cruise is really the best as mentioned and if this purchase is worth it.
The peripheral route to persuasion involves a low level of elaboration. This is when the “people will not be swayed by the logic of the arguments…instead swayed by more superficial cues,” (Aronson, Wilson, & Akert, 2016, p. 202-203). The audience isn’t examining the message for its efficiency, instead they are examining other factors and elements of its design which are influencing them, including distractions. For the peripheral route to persuasion example I have selected another advertisement from Woman’s Day magazine that is advertising Pond’s, a cold cream cleanser. I believe it is attempting to persuade the audience through this route because it isn’t an elaborative argument with facts and details of why people should cleanse their face. Instead it uses a beautiful model who is demonstrating half of her face with make up, giving her a leopard look and the other half bare and flawless. The advertisement mentions the cold cream cleanser cleanses deeply, removes make up, and leaves skin moisturized, and claims it is uniquely created not like any other make up removers. It announces, “remove and improve to reveal spotless skin” along with instruction on how to use it. As the audience examines the photograph of this model they get persuaded into buying this product, especially for those who use make up. This type of persuasive communication increases the want and need of this particular product.
Persuasion using an emotional appeal relies on the subconscious mind to process and evaluate information to make a decision. When decisions are made at the subconscious level, they are based on emotions and instincts. For the emotional route to persuasion example I chose a health related advertisement from Woman’s Day promoting the benefits of OPDIVO, a “prescription medicine used to treat people with a type of advanced stage lung cancer that has spread or grown and you have tried chemotherapy that contains platinum…” that was not effective or is no longer working. I consider this as an emotional appeal simply because it contains the word “cancer,” a very delicate topic. The advertisement shows an elderly couple holding hands, with family around them. There is a bold quote on the mountain implying “A chance to live longer,” persuading the lung cancer audience that this medicine will increase the chances of living versus chemotherapy. OPDIVO is definitely trying to get an emotional reaction from the audience rather than trying to win an argument. For example, think about a family who has a relative who’s having a rough time in life and has lung cancer. However, the chemotherapy is no longer benefiting their body. Emotionally thinking, you want your loved one to continue living life and remain by your side. People often make decisions based on emotions, and this advertisement appeals the brain and the heart.
Advertising play a significant role in our media-saturated diverse world and we are surrounded by it everywhere. The process of persuasion is serious in order to achieve victory in convincing the audience to obtain certain products, goods, or amenities. From the knowledge gained by reading chapter 7, in the book of Social Psychology, the power of advertising definitely affects change in behavior and attitude. Exaggeration is used in these advertisements to persuade people, but at the end of the day it all depends on what the audience takes from it and how confident they feel in the arguments they heard or saw.