Elaboration Likelyhood Essay

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Elaboration Likelihood 2
     Recently the nation was bombarded with political ad campaigns of all shapes and sizes. There were the ads for and against succession, the ads that attempted to show Gray Davis as someone who could actually run the state of California, and the ads that didn’t really seem to have any purpose at all. It is obvious that each of these campaigns was focused on a specific target audience. What may not have been so obvious was that each of the ad campaigns was also based upon the involvement or interest of the voters (Perloff, 1993). This involvement or interest is a component of the Elaboration Likelihood Model. This theory helps advertising consultants decide what elections are
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The ELM defines two distinct methods of elaboration that are based on the content and personal significance of the message (Sereno, 2002). Before the factors of elaboration are defined it is essential to understand what elaboration is and the role that it plays within the theory.
Perloff states that the concept of elaboration “refers to the extent to which a person thinks about the issue-relevant arguments contained in a message” (Perloff, 1993, p. 118). If elaboration were calculated on a scale, one side would represent profound deliberation, while the other would represent an almost complete lack of thought and careful insight. These opposite sides of the scale represent what Petty and Cacioppo call the “two distinct routes to attitude change;” the central route and the peripheral route (Perloff, 1993, p. 119). The central route “consists of thoughtful consideration of the arguments in the message, and occurs only when a receiver possesses both the motivation and ability to think about the message and topic” (Perloff, 1993, p. 121). The peripheral route comes to light “when the receiver lacks ability and/or motivation to engage in much
Elaboration Likelihood 4 thought on the issue” (Stephenson, Benoit, and Tschida, 2001, p. 1). It must be taken into consideration that neither the peripheral, nor central routes are better or worse; they are simply different ways in which persuasive messages are processed.

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