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Living in a Social World

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Living in a Social World

Psy 324: Advanced Social Psychology

Fall, 1996

Miami University

Social Psychological Factors Underlying the Impact of Advertising

Jon Gresko, Lynn Kennedy, & James Lesniak


Please Note: These materials may be used for research, study, and education, but please credit the authors and source.

Psychology in advertising has long been used as an effective means to sell a product or service. Understanding the underlying concepts that affect human psychology can help a company better sell their product or alternatively can help a consumer understand marketing strategies that get them to buy products.

Persuasion is the changing of attitudes by presenting information about another attitude. This information is then processed one of two ways: centrally or peripherally. If it is processed centrally the attitude change is more likely to have permanence. If the information is processed peripherally it will be more susceptible to later change.

The Elaboration Likelihood Model is a theory that states that there are two routes to persuasion. These two routes may alter a person's belief structure based on the cognitive processes that occur at the time of persuasion. The two routes are defined as the central and peripheral routes. The central route is an active and conscious process in the determination of the merit of a persuasive argument. During the cognitive processing in the central route, people make favourable and unfavourable thoughts in response to the advocated position. The outcome of this favourable and unfavourable thought processing will determine whether the position that has been advocated holds any merit. The other route, the peripheral route, has to do with the fact people can not exercise careful and effortful analization of every message that they come upon. There simply are too many messages in the environment for there to be a central processing route. There are many variables which affect the likelihood of thinking about the merits of a message and thus the route to persuasion. These variables affect a person's motivation to think about issue-relevant information and the ability to do the cognitive processing. While, other variables affecting motivation are part of the person and the situation. Some variables



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