Routes to Persuasion, Central and Peripheral

With an estimated 7 billion dollars spent on the 2012 U.S. presidential election, understanding how people respond to and are affected by persuasive messages is an important facet of understanding political behavior. Imagine two potential voters’ experiences watching a campaign advertisement for an unfamiliar candidate: one voter who is not very interested in or knowledgeable about politics (Larry), and one who is very interested in and knowledgeable about politics (Helen). As explained shortly, much research now suggests that these two individuals will follow different routes to influence. For example, Larry will likely notice that the candidate is a Democrat like him and that he likes the song playing in the background of the ad. Because these easy-to-process aspects of the commercial appeal to him, he ...

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