• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Sleeper Effect

Definition

A sleeper effect in persuasion is a delayed increase in the impact of a persuasive message. In other words, a sleeper effect occurs when a communication shows no immediate persuasive effects, but, after some time, the recipient of the communication becomes more favorable toward the position advocated by the message. As a pattern of data, the sleeper effect is opposite to the typical finding that induced opinion change dissipates over time.

Discovery and Original Interpretation

The term sleeper effect was first used by Carl Hovland and his research associates to describe opinion change produced by the U.S. Army's Why We Fight films used to improve the morale of the troops during World War II. Specifically, Hovland found that the film The Battle of Britain increased U.S. Army ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles