Comm 105Written Assignment-1The way people communicate is an important part of their social role,career and relationship. As humans, we communicate with and about ourselvesas well as with and about others. Since it is so important to us, manyresearchers have come up with theories that help us to persuade people moreeffectively.
Social Judgment Theory and Elaboration Likelihood Model aretwo of such theories that I will outline. Though these theories help usorganize, clarify processes and predict future outcomes, there are a fewlimitations due to which these theories are not guaranteed to be accurateat all times.The violence which erupted in Nepal since the killing of most of theroyal familyon July 2002 is threatening to affect the country’s vital tourism industry.
Tourists from other countries don’t think the environment is safe anymore.But this is only worsening the economy and the critical state of Nepal. Howwould Nepal try and bring its tourism industry back to how it used to be?The Social Judgment Theory is a theory which addresses just how difficultpeople can be in situations like this. This theory is quite useful forthree primary reasons.
First, it explains why people react the way they do.Second, it explains why persuasion is so difficult to accomplish. Third, itoffers a good common sense plan for doing persuasion in the real world.There will be a range of positions that one would take for a topic likethis one. Now, according to Social Judgment Theory, we can categorize eachposition into one of three zones: the latitude of acceptance (zone ofpositions we accept); the latitude of non-commitment (zone of positions weneither accept nor reject); and the latitude of rejection (zone ofpositions we reject).The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) is the suggestion that thereexist two basic routes to persuasion.
One is called the Central route, andthe other is called the peripheral route. The central route involves”message elaboration which is the extent to which a person carefully thinksabout issue relevant arguments contained in a persuasive communication.”The peripheral route “offers a short hand way to accept or reject a messagewithout any active thinking about the attributes of the issue or the objectof consideration.”(Page 198). The Tourism Minister in Nepal could learn alot from this theory to persuade people and bring about an attitude changein them. He does not feel that the political affairs of the country shouldaffect tourism in any way.
But how can he convince people about this?Let’s begin by evaluating the two theories and considering howeffective they can work out to be. According to Anderson and Ross firstlyit is important for us to figure out if the theories are unnecessarilycomplicated? Some people doubt if we do weigh every new idea by comparingit with our present point of view (Class Discussions: Hydra). This makesthe Social Judgment Theory seem more complicated. But in reality, if notconsciously, sub-consciously we do weigh out every idea before we make ourdecision. It all happens so quickly that we don’t realize it (Student’sResponse). As for The Elaboration Likelihood Model it is slightly morecomplex.
Distraction can disrupt elaboration (page 201), which means thatthis would affect the central route. Additionally for the peripheral routethe recipients rely on six cues which make the theory more complex anddifficult to achieve. Lasting persuasion is likely if the receiver thinks,or rehearses, favorable thoughts about the message.
A boomerang effect(moving away from the advocated position) is likely to occur if the subjectrehearses unfavorable thoughts about the message or if the message isambiguous. I would say that it’s less predictive and less practical thanthe Social Judgment Theory.The Criterion of consistency examines if the theories are consistent.Both the theories are consistent and do not have any unexplainedinconsistencies. Different experiments do have different results but all ofthem have a reason that is well explaines by the two theories.
The third evaluation is the Criterion of refutability. I think theSocial Judgment Theory is very practical and can be tested. When peoplereceive messages they immediately judge where the message should be placedon a scale in their mind. In the case of the above mentioned example, theMinister would consider what issues concern the tourists that don’t visitthe country anymore. In this case he has to convince a large group ofpeople with similar fears.
Considering their latitudes the Tourism Ministerwill be able to think of a message that will persuade people from othercountries to be more optimistic about flying. In the case of theElaboration Likelihood Model, the Minister would have to find issues ofstrong and weak personal relevance and test which route works best. If thereceivers are motivated and able to elaborate on the message and if thereare compelling arguments to use, then the central route to persuasionshould be used. If the receivers are unlikely to elaborate the message, orif the available arguments are weak, then the peripheral route topersuasion should be used.
Since the Minister might not have sufficientdetails to guarantee security in the country, he might use the peripheralroute in this case.Both the theories are imaginative and interesting. The SocialJudgmentTheory talks about the three latitudes of attitudes which are veryinteresting. Not onlyresearchers and Theorists study about it but it also encourages studentsand readers toapply the theory to different situations and problems.
The ElaborationLikelihood Modelis a theory that discusses two paths that one can take in persuadingpeople. It shows howthe theory tries to explain the behavior of people when they are trying toinfluenceothers. The two theories seem to have quite a bit of practical utility andthey both pass asa good scientific theory because it meets most of the criteria.Works Cited:1.
A First Look at Communication Theory-by Em Griffin. (Pg 186-Pg 207)2. Group Questions and Student Responses.3.The Elaboration Likelihood Model claims that there are two paths topersuasion: the central path and the peripheral path.
The central path ismost appropriately used when the receiver is motivated to think about themessage and has the ability to think about the message. If the person caresabout the issue and has access to the message with a minimum ofdistraction, then that person will elaborate on the message. Lastingpersuasion is likely if the receiver thinks, or rehearses, favorablethoughts about the message. A boomerang effect (moving away from theadvocated position) is likely to occur if the subject rehearses unfavorablethoughts about the message. If the message is ambiguous but pro-attitudinal(in line with the receiver’s attitudes) then persuasion is likely.
If themessage is ambiguous but counter-attitudinal then a boomerang effect islikely.If the message is ambiguous but attitudinally neutral (with respect to thereceiver) or if the receiver is unable or not motivated to listen to themessage then the receiver will look for a peripheral cue. Peripheral cuesinclude such communication strategies as trying to associate the advocatedposition with things the receiver already thinks postively towards (e.g.,food, money, sex), using an expert appeal, and attempting a contrast effectwhere the advocated position is presented after several other positions,which the receiver despises, have been presented.
If the peripheral cueassociation is accepted then there may be a temporary attitude change andpossibly future elaboration. If the peripheral cue association is notaccepted, or if it is not present, then the person retains the attitudeintially held.