Elaboration Likelihood Model


Comm 105


Written Assignment-1


The way people communicate is an important part of their social role, career and relationship. As humans, we communicate with and about ourselves as well as with and about others. Since it is so important to us, many researchers have come up with theories that help us to persuade people more effectively. Social Judgment Theory and Elaboration Likelihood Model are two of such theories that I will outline. Though these theories help us organize, clarify processes and predict future outcomes, there are a few limitations due to which these theories are not guaranteed to be accurate at all times.


The violence which erupted in Nepal since the killing of most of the royal family


on July 2002 is threatening to affect the country\'s vital tourism industry. Tourists from other countries don’t think the environment is safe anymore. But this is only worsening the economy and the critical state of Nepal. How would Nepal try and bring its tourism industry back to how it used to be? The Social Judgment Theory is a theory which addresses just how difficult people can be in situations like this. This theory is quite useful for three primary reasons. First, it explains why people react the way they do. Second, it explains why persuasion is so difficult to accomplish. Third, it offers a good common sense plan for doing persuasion in the real world. There will be a range of positions that one would take for a topic like this one. Now, according to Social Judgment Theory, we can categorize each position into one of three zones: the latitude of acceptance (zone of positions we accept); the latitude of non-commitment (zone of positions we neither accept nor reject); and the latitude of rejection (zone of positions we reject).


The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) is the suggestion that there exist two basic routes to persuasion. One is called the Central route, and the other is called the peripheral route. The central route involves “message elaboration which is the extent to which a person carefully thinks about issue relevant arguments contained in a persuasive communication.” The peripheral route “offers a short hand way to accept or reject a message without any active thinking about the attributes of the issue or the object of consideration.”(Page 198). The Tourism Minister in Nepal could learn a lot from this theory to persuade people and bring about an attitude change in them. He does not feel that the political affairs of the country should affect tourism in any way. But how can he convince people about this?


Let’s begin by evaluating the two theories and considering how effective they can work out to be. According to Anderson and Ross firstly it is important for us to figure out if the theories are unnecessarily complicated? Some people doubt if we do weigh every new idea by comparing it with our present point of view (Class Discussions: Hydra). This makes the Social Judgment Theory seem more complicated. But in reality, if not consciously, sub-consciously we do weigh out every idea before we make our decision. It all happens so quickly that we don’t realize it (Student’s Response). As for The Elaboration Likelihood Model it is slightly more complex. Distraction can disrupt elaboration (page 201), which means that this would affect the central route. Additionally for the peripheral route the recipients rely on six cues which make the theory more complex and difficult to achieve. Lasting persuasion is likely if the receiver thinks, or rehearses, favorable thoughts about the message. A boomerang effect (moving away from the advocated position) is likely to occur if the subject rehearses unfavorable thoughts about the message or if the message is ambiguous. I would say that it’s less predictive and less practical than the Social Judgment Theory.


The Criterion of consistency examines if the theories are consistent. Both the theories are consistent and do not have any unexplained inconsistencies. Different experiments do have different results but all of them have a reason that is well explaines by the two theories.


The third evaluation is the Criterion of refutability. I think the Social Judgment Theory is very practical and can be tested. When people receive messages they immediately judge where the message should be placed