Evaluation of the Hovland-Yale model


*      Positive contribution: this traditional approach to persuasion and attitude change was one the earliest systematic attempts to investigate the topic area. It provided a wealth of research into identifying factors that influence persuasion and when and how persuasion works. It also dealt with attitude change in practical ways and, indeed, much of the research is still relevant today and can be seen in advertising, speech writing and use by ‘spin doctors’ and lobbyists. This approach was less concerned with why people change their attitudes in response to these persuasive messages.


*     Criticisms of the approach: contemporary critics would criticise the optimistic approach of Hovland, which implied that it is possible to discern general ‘rules’ for effective and persuasive communication. Although the approach suggests important factors in persuasion and attitude change it doesn’t detail or determine the relative importance of each of these factors. Which are the most important factors? The message, the communicator, the audience, and so on? Although early research findings seem to discover governing laws of persuasion in laboratory settings, later research questioned many of these findings and these ‘laws’ did not hold up so well over time.


*     How does persuasion occur? Perhaps the major weakness of the Hovland-Yale


Emma Midcalf


This is really good, thanks :)