Hovland set up a research team at Yale University which looked into the nature of persuasion. During his years he created the Hovland-Yale model.
This model states that there are several factors that will affect how likely a change of attitude through persuasion is.
The 3 most prominent factors are the source, the message and the audience.
Social psychological research has shown that attractive communicators are more persuasive than less attractive communicators, (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986).
Also experts who are more credible are more effective than non-experts. For example, Morton and Campbell (2008) examined peers' attitudes towards an unfamiliar autistic child. Children received information about the child from different sources, e.g. parents, teachers, doctors. Children reported more favourible attitudes to autistic child when information was provided by an expert, e.g. Doctor.
Messages are more effective if we think they are not intended to persuade. A message can be more effective if it creates a moderate level of fear.
For example, Lewis et al. (2008), participants viewed 2 drink driving advertisements and completed 2 questionnaires. 1st assessed pre-exposure attitudes and behaviour and immediate post-exposure attitudes and intentions. 2nd (2-4 weeks later) assessed attitudes and behaviour. Fear arousing messages were most effective after immidiate exposure but long term attitude change was more likely with positive (e.g. humourous) campaigns.
Ethical issues - protection from harm - as showing drink drive advertisements could cause some distress to some participants, as someone close to them could have died in an accident relating to drink driving. Could offer them councilling after the research is over.
The use of self-report methods, using questionnaires can be unreliable as people may lie. The social desirability bias means that participants may provide answers that put themselves in a good light.
Low and high intelligence audiences are less easily persuaded than those with moderate intelligence. With intelligent audiences, presenting both sides of an argument is more effective.
Younger people are more susceptible to persuasive messages than adults or the…