Sleeper Effect


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 ...

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