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European Journal of Social Psychology Eur. J. Soc. Psychol.

37, 1057–1075 (2007)
Published online 1 February 2007 in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com) DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.420

Biassed processing of persuasive information: on the functional equivalence of cues and message arguments
HANS-PETER ERB1*, ANTONIO PIERRO2, LUCIA MANNETTI2, SCOTT SPIEGEL3 AND ARIE W. KRUGLANSKI4
1 2

Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy 3 Columbia University, USA 4 University of Maryland at College Park, USA

Abstract Research on persuasion has shown that inferences based on heuristic or peripheral cues can bias the subsequent processing of persuasive messages. Two studies (total N ¼ 296) examined the additional possibilities that a message argument can serve as a biassing factor and cue-related information can serve as the target of processing bias. It was demonstrated that a message argument can bias (a) the processing of subsequent other message arguments (Study 1) and (b) the processing of subsequent cue information (Study 2). Results are discussed within dual-process models and the recently developed unimodel of persuasion. Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Significant improvements in our understanding of how people form and change attitudes in response to persuasive communication have been accomplished by dual-process models of persuasion, namely Petty and Cacioppo’s ‘Elaboration Likelihood Model’ (ELM; e.g. Petty & Cacioppo, 1986) and Chaiken and colleagues’ ‘Heuristic-Systematic Model’ (HSM; e.g. Chaiken, Liberman, & Eagly, 1989). Both models hold that under certain conditions the processing of information relevant to the issue under consideration (termed central route and systematic processing, respectively) can be biassed by factors exogenous to the message like source characteristics (e.g. Bohner, Ruder, & Erb, 2002; Chaiken & Maheswaran, 1994), recipients’ mood states (Bohner, Chaiken, & Hunyadi 1994; Petty, Schuman, Richman, & Strathman, 1993), consensus among proponents (Darke et al., 1998; Erb, ¨ Bohner, Schmalzle, & Rank, 1998), and others (e.g. Chen, Shechter, & Chaiken, 1996; Ziegler, von Schwichow, & Diehl, 2005). Within this framework, the present article explores previously
*Correspondence to: Dr Hans-Peter Erb, Chemnitz University of Technology, Psychologisches Institut, Wilhelm-Raabe-Str. 43, D-09107 Chemnitz, Germany. E-mail: hans-peter.erb@phil.tu-chemnitz.de

Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Received 15 September 2005 Accepted 10 December 2006

Without exception. cue information (communicator characteristics) did not affect attitudes under low processing effort. 1989. Petty & Wegener. J. Pierro. Mannetti. Similarly. A direct and unmediated effect of source credibility on attitudes would represent a case of heuristic or peripheral processing by rather neglect of systematic or central route processing (e. Kruglanski. p. coloured the valence of cognitive responses that recipients finally based their judgements on (Chaiken & Maheswaran. . The effect occurred when (a) recipients were sufficiently able and motivated to process the persuasive message thoroughly and (b) the message itself was neither clearly weak nor strong. 336. 2004. p. positive (negative) in the case of a highly credible (incredible) source. some treatment variable either motivates or enables subjects to generate a particular kind of thought in response to a message. Petty and Cacioppo (1986. message arguments when made short and simple yielded effects on Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons. but sufficiently ambiguous to allow the biassing factor to contort its content. The assumed underlying mechanism was that heuristic-based initial pre-judgements.’ This theoretical and empirical treatment of the biassed processing phenomenon may lead to the impression that it is asymmetrical in the sense that only heuristic cues (HSM) or peripheral variables (ELM) can bias only the systematic (HSM) or central route processing (ELM) of message arguments. . emphasis ours) stated that in biassed processing ‘. With this regards. heuristic cues or peripheral information and message arguments form part of a more general category of persuasive evidence and should therefore be perceived as functional equivalent in the persuasion process. According to both the ELM and the HSM. In fact. Chaiken et al. Spiegel. Mannetti. the effect of the initial heuristic-based pre-judgement on attitudes is indirect and mediated by the cognitive responses toward the message.g. 37. we presently pose the question of whether the processing of any information may bias the processing of any other information. Ltd. led to favourable or unfavourable attitude judgements toward the consumer product. Biassed processing can be empirically distinguished from a direct effect of the biassing factor on attitudes. . 1057–1075 (2007) DOI: 10. & Sleeth-Keppler. 1993.) as biassing factors and message content (arguments) as the target of bias. Pierro. heuristic cues. 2005) that questions the need to distinguish between two qualitatively different processes. Against this background.. Erb. Chaiken & Maheswaran. Psychol. Erb.1002/ejsp . Chun. 2003. . 1999. 2005. Conversely. 1999). unlike in previous studies where cue information was found to exert its effects under such conditions. Biassed cognitive responses to the message. . Eur. biassed processing reflects an effect of some peripheral or heuristic factor on the valence of cognitive responses toward message content and subsequent attitude judgement. whereas in previous studies cue information typically yielded no effects under high effort. & Spiegel.g. Kruglanski and Thompson (1999) reported initial evidence for such functional equivalence of cues and arguments. Kruglanski. It yielded consistent effects when processing effort was high. Kruglanski & Thompson. Mannetti. For example. p. 136. In terms of the unimodel. 461). mood states etc. studies reporting biassed processing effects so far have treated factors exogenous to message content (e. in turn.1058 Hans-Peter Erb et al. unconsidered possibilities of what types of persuasive evidence may be the biassing factor and what type of persuasive evidence may be the target of bias in persuasive settings. Chaiken and Maheswaran (1994) observed that cognitive responses toward a message on a telephone answering machine were more positive when the communicator was perceived to be of high credibility (a magazine specialized in scientific product testing) versus low credibility (a promotional pamphlet of a discount department store chain). Soc. if (a) cognitive responses reflect the valence of the biassing factor and (b) biassed cognitive responses determine the final attitude judgement. given that both have some relevance for the issue under consideration. 1994. 1994. When made appropriately lengthy and complex. HSM-theorists have been explicit in postulating that the HSM’s ‘. we refer to the ‘unimodel of persuasion’ (Erb & Kruglanski. Pierro. In this case. . & Kruglanski. emphasis ours). bias hypothesis asserts that heuristic processing can influence the nature of systematic processing when persuasive argumentation is ambiguous’ (Eagly & Chaiken.

Ltd. Given functional equivalence of cues and arguments in the persuasion process. 1992).8 years) of various majors at the University of Maryland volunteered for a study on ‘text Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons. Under high motivation biassed processing of these arguments would result in (un)favourable judgements in the strong (weak) argument condition. Under high-processing motivation the final attitudes were expected to be mediated by biassed processing of the subsequent arguments. little biassing effect was expected. STUDY 1 To study the biassing effects of an initial message argument on subsequent message arguments. mimicking a cue or peripheral effect in terms of dual-process models. We hypothesized that under both high and low motivation the final attitude judgements would be more positive where the initial argument was of high versus low quality. processing motivation: low vs. as relatively high motivation is necessary for the effortful processing of the subsequent information. it should be possible to create situations in which (a) a message argument can serve as a biassing factor and (b) cue information (e. We additionally varied processing motivation by manipulating their sense of accountability for their judgements (Tetlock. Eur. the design was a 2 Â 2 factorial (initial argument: weak vs. 37. Processing motivation was manipulated because this enabled us to empirically distinguish most clearly between a direct effect of the initial argument on attitudes under low motivation and the predicted biassing effect of the initial argument on subsequent message processing (see Chaiken & Maheswaran.1002/ejsp . In Study 2. Rather. unmediated by subsequent issue-related biassed processing. as indexed by the issue-related cognitive responses dedicated to those arguments. under low motivation we predicted the initial argument to have a direct impact on final attitudes. 1057–1075 (2007) DOI: 10. we did not expect cognitive responses to the subsequent arguments in this condition to vary as a function of the initial argument quality. For this measures. Under low motivation. mean age 20. strong. we investigated the previously unconsidered possibility that under processing motivation sufficiently high to enable the effortful processing of subsequent information. We added attitude measures pertaining to the specific aspects highlighted in the arguments of the subsequent message to the list of dependent variables. these judgements would not be a function of the initial argument’s quality. still for different reasons. communicator characteristics) can serve as a target of bias.Biassed processing 1059 attitudes when processing effort was low. These possibilities were empirically explored in the following two studies. Thus. Soc. 1994). a fan type interaction of argument quality and motivation was expected. where no biassing effect on the processing of these subsequent arguments was expected. Accordingly. an early message argument can bias the processing of a subsequent persuasive message. 1985. high). Under low-processing motivation. Method Participants A total of 200 students (103 female and 96 male. we explored the possibility that under high motivation an early message argument may bias the processing of subsequent source information. J.g. we varied the quality of the initial argument: Some participants received an initial argument of a high quality and others of a low quality. All participants subsequently received the same set of message arguments of moderate persuasiveness. Psychol. In Study 1. mimicking a cue effect. one participant did not report gender.

Participants who were made accountable for their judgements were expected to develop high processing motivation (e. 1998). 1992). Yzerbyt. 1983). t (28) ¼ 2.22 were selected. Corneille. because the traffic volume in adjacent neighbourhoods will be reduced by about 80% (4%). ranging from absolutely not convincing to absolutely convincing. arguments in the range between M ¼ 4. Leyens. ‘I’d like to have a coffee’). Chaiken et al. Psychol. Tetlock. the reduction of delays on a highly frequented highway between the cities of Delft and Rotterdam. 1980. and the proposed construction of additional green areas as well as leisure sites along with the tunnel.005. Eur. They were instructed to form a ‘general impression’ of the text.06 in the weak version. comprehension’.1002/ejsp . 1989) to exert bias. This means significantly (somewhat) less noise and exhaust fumes to be endured by residents (weak version in parentheses— additionally. Depending on the condition.1060 Hans-Peter Erb et al. They did so on a lined sheet. No such instruction was given to participants in the low motivation condition (Tetlock. p. We chose this fictitious issue because the corresponding message arguments had already been extensively pre-tested and used in prior studies on biassed processing (Bohner et al. Upon arriving at the laboratory. J. a fictitious issue was assumed to prevent other factors (e.79.1 Procedure and Dependent Variables Students participated in groups of up to 10 members. Moreover. To induce high processing motivation. 2002. it read: ‘The tunnel will bring great advantages for residents. They were randomly assigned to one of the four experimental conditions and received US$ 3 for their participation. Stimulus Materials Participants read a persuasive message in favour of building a tunnel underneath the harbour of Rotterdam (The Netherlands). 1985. such as the benefits it may bring the local construction industry. 1057–1075 (2007) DOI: 10.g. & Walther.g. Erb et al. 37. 1999. Two independent judges. they received written instructions that their task was to evaluate a text as part of a study on ‘text comprehension’ (the cover-story). participants were given 3 minutes to write down any thoughts they had during that process.g. Each issue-related thought was then categorized as either pertaining to the content of the In a pretest with these arguments. the initial argument was either weak or strong. Ltd. 2005) and thus more thoroughly elaborate on the subsequent message than participants who were not made accountable (e.. The remaining five arguments pertained to several additional aspects of the construction project. Specifically. Chaiken. for half the participants the instructions admonished them to be sure to make informed choices when answering the questionnaire as at the conclusion of the study the experimenter would interview them about the reasons for their answers. Soc. the adjective ‘great’ before ‘advantages’ was omitted). and were asked to enter each thought on a separate line. p < 0.g. 314. These latter arguments were held constant across conditions and were of moderate persuasiveness. The persuasive message contained six arguments.17 in the strong and M ¼ 4. 1 Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons. Two conditions were created by presenting a weak and a strong version of each argument (pertaining to the same aspect of the construction project) in a between-subjects design.86 and M ¼ 5. The argument on advantages for residents because of traffic and exhaust fume reduction (the initial argument) yielded M ¼ 6. categorized each thought as either issue-related or irrelevant (e.. 1993. blind to the experimental conditions and the hypotheses. De Dreu & Van Knippenberg.. defending one’s own pre-existing attitude. For the subsequent ambiguous message. After perusing the text at their own pace. N ¼ 30 participants rated the persuasiveness of a total of 24 arguments on 9-point-scales. Eagly & Chaiken.

Attitude Measures First. none of our participants was suspicious or guessed our real purpose. p > 0.’ (b) ‘.’ (d) ‘.001.007. . the manipulation of argument quality was successful as well. As expected. Soc.17. p < 0. .16. both p < 0. participants reported to have found the presented arguments more convincing when the initial argument was strong (M ¼ 6. . this effect was independent of motivation. 196) ¼ 7.1002/ejsp . participants responded to a check on our motivational manipulation. and (2) five specific questions pertaining to specific aspects of the tunnel mentioned in the subsequent arguments received by all the participants. thanked and dismissed.64) than in the weak initial argument condition (M ¼ 5. 195) ¼ 22. Finally. on a scale from 1: ‘do not agree at all’ to 9:‘fully agree’. every issue-related thought was coded as either favourable. Specifically. Thus the expected main effect of argument quality on this measure was obtained. 1057–1075 (2007) DOI: 10. would enhance the quality of life for Rotterdam residents’. neutral.70) than participants in the low motivation condition (M ¼ 6. In the high motivation condition they learned that no interview would take place. after all. Then. for all other effects. ‘The text was easy to comprehend’).007 (Table 1). 196) ¼ 13.80. Thus. p > 0. Results showed that participants agreed more that the tunnel should be built in the strong (M ¼ 6.53). they answered the question ‘How carefully did you read the text?’ on a scale from 1: ‘not at all carefully’ to 9: ‘very carefully’. . These inquired into the extent to which participants agreed that (a) ‘The tunnel would reduce traffic in the adjacent neighbourhoods. reduce the harmful consequences of noise and fume.’ and (e) ‘. participants were asked to describe in their own words what they thought the purpose of the study was. Regarding perceived persuasiveness. Specifically. we analysed the general attitude judgements. F (1.76. J. or unfavourable with respect to the attitude object. p < 0. both t (195) >2.72) as compared to weak (M ¼ 5. Additional contrast analyses revealed that the effect of the initial argument on this general attitude judgement was significant for both low and high motivation conditions.71). Psychol. participants reported their gender. Finally.g. F (1. for all other effects. participants’ attitudes were assessed by (1) a single general question requesting their agreement with the statement: ‘The tunnel in Rotterdam should be built’. . participants indicated their agreement with the statement: ‘The arguments in favour of the tunnel were convincing’. age and major. would reduce traffic on the highway between Delft and Rotterdam. the accountability manipulation had the intended effect on processing motivation. These were followed by a check item on the argument quality manipulation. They were then thoroughly debriefed. would be good for the economy. 37. Results Manipulation Checks Participants in the high motivation condition reported to have read the text more carefully (M ¼ 6.02). Answers to these questions were recorded on scales ranging from 1: ‘do not agree at all’ to 9: ‘fully agree’. Ltd. At that point. This concluded the experiment. Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons. Next. . . on a scale ranging from 1: ‘do not agree at all’ to 9: ‘fully agree’. F (1. . As it turned out.33. F < 1. Participants were paid. They then indicated their agreement with several filler-items about text comprehension designed to uphold the cover-story (e.’ (c) ‘.77.001. for all other effects. Eur.Biassed processing 1061 initial argument or pertaining to other aspects of the topic. p < 0. Thus.

20) À0.1002/ejsp . and more favourable thoughts (range from À1. Conversely under high motivation. pattern of this interaction.).64) Strong 6.49) À0.22) þ0. and for (c) and (d): 46. exclusively favourable thoughts) for (c) and (d).29 (1. we combined attitude measures pertaining to the specific aspects highlighted in the subsequent arguments to form a single index (Cronbach’s a ¼ 0. attitudes toward message aspects.04 (0. nor did it do so after covarying out attitudes toward the initial argument ( ß ¼ À0. and this effect disappeared when we covaried out the attitudes toward the initial argument ( ß ¼ 0.10. The results of this analysis confirmed our prediction.80). Under low motivation.17 (0.52 (1. The ANOVA revealed a main effect of argument quality indicating that participants agreed more with this attitude measure when the initial argument was strong (M ¼ 6. 47.98. J. p < 0.14.17. the results of more focussed analyses suggest that the initial argument affected attitudes toward subsequently mentioned aspects for high but not for low motivation participants.19 (Abelson & Prentice.003. 195) ¼ 0. 195) ¼ 1.53 (1. fan shaped. did not to reach statistical significance.22.04 (0. 37.).).66 (1. n.69) as compared to weak (M ¼ 6. General attitudes toward tunnel project.31) þ0.30.57) High Strong 6. Higher numbers indicate more favourable attitudes (range from 1. 50. In addition. Second.44 (1. under high motivation. exclusively unfavourable thoughts to þ1. favourable) for (a) and (b). Psychol. The predicted interaction of argument quality and motivation in this unfocused ANOVA. 42.46) þ0. 50.42).34) À0. under low motivation.s. p < 0. respectively.05 (0. t (195) ¼ 1. F < 1 for the main effect of motivation. capturing 96% of the between-condition variation (SSbetween ¼ 21.37. Soc. p > 0. however. Second. n.50) þ0.53. Taken together.51) 6. F (1. Number of cases per cell from left to right for (a) and (b): 50. we conducted a contrast analysis to test the predicted pattern of means. whereas it did so under high motivation. 1057–1075 (2007) DOI: 10.10 (0. initial argument quality did not predict attitudes toward aspects of the tunnel mentioned in the subsequent arguments ( ß ¼ 0. the weak and the strong argument conditions received l ¼ À1 and l ¼ þ1. we first conducted a planned comparison analysis which revealed that under low motivation the quality of the initial argument did not significantly affect attitudes toward the specific aspects of the subsequent message. t (195) ¼ 3. and cognitive responses toward other issue-related aspects as function of motivation and the quality of the initial argument (Study 1) Low Motivation initial argument (a) General attitude (b) Attitudes toward message aspects (c) Cognitive responses toward initial argument (d) Cognitive responses toward other issue-related aspects Weak 5.75) 6. and l ¼ À2 and l ¼ þ2. To test the predicted. Ltd. Eur. p < 0. we carried out a regression analysis in which we used argument quality (dummy coded) as a predictor for the general attitude measure as well as for the attitude index pertaining to the subsequent aspects separately for the low and high motivation conditions.s.003. 195) ¼ 9.68) Weak 5. F (1.70) Note: Standard Deviations are in parentheses.27) þ0. cognitive responses toward the initial argument.005. Finally. 1997). Table 1. p < 0.50) 6.05).84 (1. unfavourable to 9.19 (0.1062 Hans-Peter Erb et al.06.004). SScontrast ¼ 20. p < 0. t (195) ¼ 3.003. with any residual effect being far from significant.21 (0. F (2. 47. Thus. respectively. Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons. this particular contrast fit the pattern of means extremely well.93 (1.76 (1.02 (0. n. 49.21.s.86) 5. initial argument quality did predict attitudes toward the subsequently mentioned aspects ( ß ¼ 0.14.

It is such blending of thoughts what the biased processing of content arguments by another content argument means. p < 0.85. whereas they did differ under high motivation.1002/ejsp . 1057–1075 (2007) DOI: 10. the valence of thoughts about the initial argument varied as a function of argument quality under both low and high motivation. 178) ¼ 5.6) ¼ 2.5) ¼ 3. F (1.22. for all other effects involving the within-subjects factor. Reliability coefficients for the valence of thoughts dedicated to the initial argument and to other aspects separately were somewhat lower.60.03. whereas thoughts about issue aspects mentioned in the subsequent arguments varied as a function of argument quality only under high motivation.17. Thus. 178) ¼ 15. The predictor variables in these analyses were the quality of the initial argument (dummy coded). Eur.20.Biassed processing Cognitive responses 1063 A total of n ¼ 18 participants. Thus.versus low-processing motivation. toward other aspects) as an additional within-subjects factor. 2 Whereas coders strongly agreed on the valence of each single thought. t (82. p > 0. the biassing effect of the initial argument’s quality on subsequent processing occurred to a greater extent (in the present case.3 Thus. did not list any relevant thoughts. Contrast analyses additionally confirmed that under low motivation the valence of thoughts about other aspects did not differ as function of the quality of the initial argument.91.36. p > 0. we have no explanation why this effect occurred. they converged to a somewhat lesser degree on determining whether the thought referred to the initial or to the subsequent arguments. Data reported below are based on the results of this procedure. all F < 1 (Table 1). respectively)2. F (1. p < 0.03. these results attest further to the efficacy of our argument quality manipulation. The measure demonstrated a high inter-rater reliability (r ¼ 0. though still highly significant (r ¼ 0.50.001. X2 (df ¼ 1. p < 0.20. J. but as such it does not interfere with our general interpretation. Additionally. F < 1. equally distributed across conditions. Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons.03. p > 0.001. and t (29.15) rather than weak (M ¼ À0. 3 Additionally.51. only) under high.001. and no main effect. Soc. t (178) ¼ À1. n ¼ 18) ¼ 1. Ltd.80. According to this interaction. respectively. p < 0. p < 0. Additional analyses for each rater separately did not yield any result significantly different from the reported findings. the index for thoughts dedicated to the initial argument was subjected to a 2 Â 2 ANOVA (Table 1). p < 0.17. F (1. an unexpected main effect of motivation emerged due to the fact that under low motivation thoughts dedicated to the initial argument were more favourable (M ¼ 0.53. This interpretation was further confirmed by contrast analyses which showed that the differences between the weak and strong argument conditions were significant for both low and high motivation conditions. With regards to thoughts about the subsequently mentioned aspects of the attitude issue.001). 178) ¼ 4. raters jointly re-examined each single thought and solved their differences by discussion. This analysis yielded a significant three-way interaction of all our independent variables. Psychol. as expected.01). the interaction term was not significant. t (178) ¼ 1.003. Mediation Analyses We conducted path analyses (Baron & Kenny. The analysis yielded a main effect of argument quality indicating that these thoughts were more favourable when the initial argument was strong (M ¼ 0.03. First.02). 178) ¼ 5. F (1. p < 0. Thought-valence indices of issue-related thoughts were created by subtracting the proportion of unfavourable thoughts from the proportion of favourable thoughts about the content of the initial argument and the content of other aspects of the issue for each participant. 1986) to further explore the biassed processing effect under high motivation versus the direct effect of argument strength on attitudes under low motivation.02. p < 0. thoughts about the initial argument were equally influenced by the quality of this argument under low and high processing motivation. 37. The possible range is from À1 (exclusively unfavourable thoughts) to þ1 (exclusively favourable thoughts). p < 0.61. p < 0. At present. This interpretation was confirmed further in a mixed-model multi-variate analysis of variance (MANOVA) with type of thoughts (toward initial argument vs. and were omitted from the following analyses. the ANOVA yielded only the predicted interaction effect.17. More important to our argument.12) than under high motivation (M ¼ 0. and r ¼ 0.

20) Valenced Thoughts Other Aspects High Motivation Valenced Thoughts Initial Argument .05). Low Motivation Valenced Thoughts Initial Argument .19 (. or both to correct for the respective effects of each other.27* (.32*) . The results are strikingly different under high motivation.20 when corrected for thoughts about the initial argument.05).14. ß ¼ À0. Soc.25* (. We found that under low motivation thoughts about the initial argument predicted the final attitudes directly: The quality of the initial argument predicted valenced thoughts about this initial argument ( ß ¼ 0. 1057–1075 (2007) DOI: 10. neither the path from thoughts about the initial argument to thoughts about the subsequent arguments ( ß ¼ 0.26* .) proved significant. n. both p < 0. p < 0.13 .05.26. n. 1: strong) on post-message attitudes mediated by valenced cognitive responses toward the initial argument and arguments in the message under conditions of low (upper panel) and high (lower panel) processing motivation (Study 1) Note. The dependent variable was the attitude toward the tunnel project (see Figure 1). this analysis did not indicate any bias in the processing of subsequent arguments—a result also indicative of shallow processing of the subsequent arguments under low motivation.13) Valenced Thoughts Other Aspects .35*) Initial Argument -. Psychol. p < 0.05). valenced thoughts about the initial argument predicted valenced thoughts about the subsequent arguments ( ß ¼ 0. Additionally.s. Ltd.09) Attitude .25* (. when corrected for thoughts about other aspects.21. Ãp < 0. Coefficients in parentheses appearing below lines are beta-weights for corrected paths (thoughts about initial argument corrected for thoughts about other issue-related aspects and vice versa).35* (. valenced thoughts about aspects of the subsequent arguments. In that condition. Thus.60*) Figure 1.14 (-.s. ß ¼ 0.13.25. which in turn predicted attitudes ( ß ¼ 0.21*) Initial Argument . Effects of initial argument’s quality (dummy-coded 0: weak. J. Coefficients appearing above lines are beta-weights for uncorrected paths. In turn. the quality of the initial argument predicted valenced thoughts about this particular argument ( ß ¼ 0.21) Attitude .27. valenced thoughts about the initial argument.32. p > 0.62* (. 37. nor the path from the dummy-coded initial argument variable to thoughts about subsequent arguments ( ß ¼ À0.05).32* (.1064 Hans-Peter Erb et al. Eur. The effect Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons.).1002/ejsp .

Erb et al.. Eur. just as in the low-motivation conditions of prior work participants used initial cue information to the neglect of subsequent message information. 37. both p < 0. The effect of thoughts about the initial argument on final attitudes was mediated by thoughts about the subsequent aspects of the issue (z ¼ 2. In fact.02.s. Additionally. Ltd. p < 0. but also the processing of the subsequent arguments. findings under both low. Discussion In this study. These findings suggest that the effect of the initial argument’s quality on final attitudes was mediated by cognitive responses toward other aspects of the attitude issue (e.motivation conditions add evidence to the unimodel notion of functional equivalence of cues and arguments. Psychol. Sobel test). Under low motivation. These latter thoughts predicted the final attitude judgements ( ß ¼ 0. under low motivation the initial argument produced effects on attitudes exactly like those ascribed by dual-process models to heuristic or peripheral processing.05) became non-significant when corrected for the effect of valenced thoughts about subsequent arguments ( ß ¼ 0.Biassed processing 1065 of the initial argument on thoughts about the subsequent aspects of the issue was mediated by thoughts about the initial argument (z ¼ 2.. 1998.04. p < 0. p < 0. Moreover.1002/ejsp . even though in terms of its contents it pertained to the substance of the issue (thus properly constituting a message argument) rather than to aspects exogenous to the issue (the way peripheral or heuristic cues were operationalised in prior research).g.and high. In contrast.25.62. Participants in the low motivation condition used the initial argument as a shortcut to final attitude judgements to a relative neglect of subsequent message contents. Chaiken & Maheswaran.48. Recall that within the persuasion literature thus far only heuristic cues or other peripheral factors have been shown as capable of exerting bias on subsequent message processing. Sobel test). J. when participants were highly motivated to process the subsequent message. wherein we varied the processing motivation at two levels. we assumed that the biassing mechanism depends on the order of presentation. We provided participants with the same weak or strong argument as in Study 1. Bohner et al. Analyses revealed that. STUDY 2 If any initial information can bias the processing of any subsequent information. n. in the present experiment we kept it constant and high via accountability instructions delivered to all participants.).05. 1994. Thus. Furthermore. for similar analyses). we explored the biassing effect of an initial message argument on the processing of subsequent message arguments. Soc. it should be possible to create a situation wherein an early message argument would bias the subsequent processing of cue information (information exogenous to the substance of the issue) which would then form the basis of subsequent attitude judgements. the valence of thoughts about the initial argument determined attitudes directly without any biassed processing of the subsequent arguments. 1994. we explored the possibility that the processing of subsequent source-related information can be biassed. the initially significant direct path from valenced thoughts about the initial argument to attitudes ( ß ¼ 0. Unlike Study 1. ß ¼ 0. in the present research the biassing factor consisted of a message argument.60 when corrected for thoughts about the initial argument. The outcomes of the latter then determined the final attitude judgements. the valence of the initial argument affected not only the processing of this argument as such. and more specifically that the early information should be capable of biassing the later information but not Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons. ambiguous in its implication for attitude judgements.05).09. In Study 2. persuasion research so far has never considered the possibility that source information can be the target of bias. 1057–1075 (2007) DOI: 10. This was followed by a relatively lengthy description of the communicator.

we varied the order of presentation so that the brief argument preceded the source information in one condition and followed it in another. as indexed by more positive (negative) thoughts dedicated to the communicator description. We used the same brief (weak or strong) argument as in Study 1. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the four experimental conditions and received US$ 3 for their participation. trustworthiness. where no biassed processing was expected. To investigate this assumption. 4 In a pretest. These arrangements resulted in a 2 (brief argument: weak vs. follows source description) between participants factorial design. J. the stimulus materials pertained to the tunnel project in Rotterdam. They responded to a thought-listing procedure where thought valence toward the communicator description was neutral (M ¼ À0. . we further included dependent measures on communicator attributions. unmediated by source-related processing. the final attitudes would be mediated by the biassed processing of source information induced by the initial argument.. Erb et al. strong) x 2 (argument precedes vs. 2003). that across conditions all participants of the present study expected to be interviewed at the end of the session. Stimulus Materials As in Study 1.. and additionally a description of the communicator said to argue in favour of the tunnel. 37. N ¼ 24 students received the communicator description but no content argument under high accountability instructions (interview expected). No such effect was expected in communicator attributes unrelated to the current issue (general expertise. In particular. perceived expertise in tunnel construction) in the strong (weak) argument condition.4 years) of various majors at the University of Maryland volunteered for a study on ‘text comprehension’ (cover-story). Note. In the after condition. neither thoughts dedicated to the communicator description nor perceived communicator expertise in tunnel construction would be a function of argument quality. running a construction company. Psychol. likeability).4 Procedure and Dependent Variables The procedure closely followed that of Study 1. This individual was described as having some experience with planning traffic facilities (but not specifically with tunnels). Soc. 1985. 1992). mean age 20. vice versa (see also Erb et al. Method Participants A total of 96 students (50 female and 46 male. we predicted that attitudes would be a direct function of argument quality.1066 Hans-Peter Erb et al. The description was pre-tested to be ambiguous in terms of eliciting thoughts that were neither strongly positive nor strongly negative. Eur. and being nominated for an award by the ‘Construction Industry Association of The Netherlands’ for his proposal of a ‘Maas-Rhine Channel’. instituting a constantly high degree of accountability concerns (Tetlock. 1998. Ltd. 1057–1075 (2007) DOI: 10. To allow for an additional test. we expected that biassed processing of the communicator description in the before condition would result in a more positive (negative) assessment of the communicator with regards to an attribute directly related to the issue referred to in the brief argument (in this case. Specifically. Accordingly. We expected that the processing of the brief argument would bias the processing of the source information when it preceded the source information.03).1002/ejsp Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons. we predicted that under those conditions. living with his family in the Rotterdam area where the tunnel’s impact would be greatest.

Finally.56. They read: (2) ‘.001. Results Manipulation Check Participants reported to have found the arguments more convincing when the initial argument was strong (M ¼ 6. Participants in the strong argument condition were more in favour of the tunnel (M ¼ 6. Attitude Measures The general attitudes and attitudes toward the aspect highlighted in the brief argument were initially analysed separately. As can be expected. Afterwards participants answered an open-ended suspicion-probe question.35. (3) ‘. J.5 At that point. or unfavourable (to the issue or to the communicator). Control analyses in which these thoughts were included either as dedicated to the argument or to the communicator description did not yield any differences from the data reported below. For both measures a significant main effect of argument quality appeared. . Later. see Table 2 for means). and it turned out that none guessed the real purpose of the study. At the conclusion. .001 and F (1. 92) ¼ 10. is a likeable person’. Ltd. Participants then reported their attitudes by answering one general question: ‘To what extent do you agree with the statement: The tunnel in Rotterdam should be built?’ and one question pertaining to the specific aspect of the tunnel project highlighted in the brief argument: ‘The tunnel would reduce traffic in the adjacent neighbourhoods’.32). F (1. p < 0. Eur. the ANOVA performed on this index yielded the same main effect of argument quality. Soc. Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons. for all other effects.79) than participants in the weak argument condition (M ¼ 5. It read: (1) ‘Jan-Willem van Regum is an expert in constructing tunnels’. 91) ¼ 22. Additional contrast analyses revealed that the effect of the brief argument was significant for both order 5 Some thoughts were issue-related but did neither pertain to the argument presented nor to the communicator.Biassed processing 1067 After viewing the entire informational sequence. . F (1.006. For convenience. and (4) ‘. for all other effects. Note that this treatment of those thoughts provides the most conservative test of our hypothesis. we combined these measures to form an overall index of attitude toward the tunnel (r ¼ 0. F (1. they reported their gender. Responses to these items were recorded on a scale ranging from 1: ‘do not agree at all’ to 9: ‘completely agree’.82. p < 0.00) as compared to weak (M ¼ 4. participants were thanked. All other thoughts were coded as irrelevant. for all other effects. 1057–1075 (2007) DOI: 10. 37. (3) and (4) did not pertain to the issue under consideration. p < 0. participants answered four questions pertaining to the communicator (named ‘Jan-Willem van Regum’) again on scales ranging from 1: ‘do not agree at all’ to 9: ‘completely agree’. two independent judges categorized each thought as either pertaining to the brief initial argument. F < 1. our manipulation of argument quality was successful.001. paid and thoroughly debriefed. .001.10. Thus. 91) ¼ 22. neutral. respectively. age and major. 95) ¼ 8.46. . Item (1) pertained to the communicator with respect to his expertise in the current issue. F < 1. F < 1. Items (2).67). p < 0. . for final attitude and specific attitude. is trustworthy’. respondents recorded any thoughts they had while reading the material. Psychol. participants indicated their agreement with filler items allegedly tapping ‘text comprehension’. p < 0.1002/ejsp . is an expert in designing public traffic facilities’. or to the communicator’s description. The fillers were followed by a manipulation check on the argument quality manipulation identical to that in Study 1. Subsequently. Following the thought listing. As these thoughts were too few to be analysed separately they were treated as irrelevant. each relevant thought was rated as either favourable.

46. all p > 0. low to 9.23.14. The measure of valence for the thoughts about the argument (r ¼ 0. 19. Control analyses for each rater separately did not yield any effect significantly different from those reported below.14. unfavourable to 9.36) þ0.49) Before Strong 7.12) þ0. and for (c) and (d): 20. Higher numbers indicate more favourable attitudes (range from 1.001 and t (41.1068 Hans-Peter Erb et al. Indices of thought valence were created by subtracting the proportion of unfavourable thoughts from the proportion of favourable thoughts about (a) the content of the argument and (b) the content of the communicator description for each participant. p < 0.78.07 (0.51) þ0.55) After Strong 6. respectively (separate variance estimate).57.08. in accordance with predictions no significant effect emerged.23) than in the strong argument condition (M ¼ 5. participants judged the communicator’s trustworthiness lower in the weak (M ¼ 4.22 (2. overall M ¼ 6. p < 0.57. for all effects. 17.34) 5. Contrast analyses revealed that the argument effect was significant in the before condition. Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons. but not in the after condition. 90) ¼ 5. F (1. Unexpectedly.001) had high inter-rater reliability.61) þ0.1002/ejsp .06 (0.80.04. X2 (df ¼ 1. overall M ¼ 4. 91) ¼ 4.52) Note: Standard Deviations are in parentheses. F (1.29 (0. F < 1. 37. 91) ¼ 4.39.02. They were equally distributed across conditions. cognitive responses toward the brief argument. p < 0. and were therefore omitted from the following analyses.04 (2. Table 2. 24.15) þ0. the ANOVA yielded a main effect of argument quality. t (91) ¼ 2. conditions. participants did not rate the communicator as more or less likable depending on conditions. perceived expertise of the communicator in tunnel construction.33 (1. n ¼ 15) ¼ 0. qualified by the predicted interaction of argument quality and order. p < 0. p < 0. Number of cases per cell from left to right for (a) and (b): 23. exclusively favourable thoughts) for (c) and (d). t < 1. Communicator Attributions Regarding perceived expertise in tunnel construction. The possible range of these variables is from À1 (only unfavourable thoughts) to þ1 (only favourable thoughts).93. 24. favourable) for (a). exclusively unfavourable thoughts to þ1. t (45) ¼ 4.51) þ0.45) Weak 5. F (1. General attitudes toward tunnel project. for before and after. Finally.06 (1. higher perceived expertise (range from 1.30 (1. and more favourable thoughts (range from -1. p > 0.58) À0. Thus. p > 0.52 (1.92 (1. Soc. With respect to perceived expertise in constructing traffic facilities. 22. J. p < 0. Cognitive Responses A total of n ¼ 15 participants did not list any relevant thoughts. measures of thought-valence were averaged across raters. p < 0.78.05.17 (0.30.02 (0. 1057–1075 (2007) DOI: 10. p < 0. high) for (b).39) 6. Eur.08 (0. Ltd. Psychol.005. F < 1 for the main effect of order (Table 2).26). and cognitive responses toward the communicator description as a function of order of presentation and the quality of the brief argument (Study 2) Order of presentation Argument quality (a) General attitude (b) Perceived expertise in tunnel construction (c) Cognitive responses toward brief argument (d) Cognitive responses toward communicator description Weak 5.18 (0. for all other effects.5) ¼ 2.02) À0.37) 6.40 (0.04.03.001) and the measure of valenced thoughts about the communicator description (r ¼ 0.08 (2. 24.93) 6.

s.08.05. p < 0. the interaction between order and initial argument quality was not significant.11. The Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons. nor the path from the dummy-coded argument variable to thoughts about the communicator description ( ß ¼ 0.). corrected and uncorrected path are identical in this model because the correlation between argument thoughts and communicator thoughts is zero). F (1. p < 0. This focussed interaction test yielded a t (74) ¼ 1. p < 0. p < 0. 74) ¼ 2. F (1. Sobel test). and l ¼ À2 and l ¼ þ2 in the before condition. for all other effects. 74) ¼ 2. and neither the path from thoughts about the argument to thoughts about the communicator ( ß ¼ 0. Thus. p < 0.02. the more focussed analyses are consistent with the prediction that the biassing effect of the initial argument’s quality on subsequent processing of communicator information did occur on thoughts dedicated to the communicator description.40. for the before and after conditions.34) rather than weak (M ¼ À0. Mediation Analyses The predictor variables in our mediational analyses were the quality of the argument (dummy coded) and either valenced thoughts about the argument. both p < 0. p < 0.46. The dependent variable was the attitude toward the tunnel project (Figure 2). 74) ¼ 10. The contrast fit the pattern of means quite well. or both to correct for the effects of each on the other. Psychol.24.96. and argument thoughts marginally mediated the initial argument effect on communicator thoughts (z ¼ 1. t < 1. p < 0. p ¼ 0. valenced thoughts about the initial argument predicted valenced thoughts about the communicator description ( ß ¼ 0.05. t (74) ¼ 2. According to our hypothesis. To clarify further the expected fan-type pattern of means. and t (74) ¼ 1. In addition.05. valenced thoughts about the brief argument predicted attitudes directly ( ß ¼ 0. Soc.05.89.44. Additionally.s. n. n.59. t (74) ¼ 2. we conducted a contrast analysis. 37. 1057–1075 (2007) DOI: 10.16. respectively (Table 2). whereas it did so differ in the before condition.13. this analysis did not indicate any biassed processing of communicator information. with any residual effect being far from significant. The latter finding indicates that the effect of argument quality on attitudes was mediated by cognitive responses toward the communicator. This analysis yielded a significant main effect for argument quality indicating that these thoughts were more favourable when the initial argument was strong (M ¼ 0. p < 0.00. both p < 0. p < 0. in addition. the low and high initial arguments received l ¼ À1 and l ¼ þ1 in the after condition.66.49 when corrected for thoughts about the argument. SScontrast ¼ 0.) were significant. n. although the unfocussed ANOVA yielded only a marginal interaction effect. F (1. in turn. the initially significant direct path from thoughts about the argument to attitudes ( ß ¼ 0.36 when corrected for communicator thoughts.90.1002/ejsp . Second. Contrast analyses proved that the difference between the weak and strong conditions was significant for both order conditions. Sobel test). Communicator thoughts. ß ¼ 0. ß ¼ 0.).48. J.09. capturing 80. there obtained a marginally significant main effect of argument quality.33% of the between condition variation (SSbetween ¼ 1. F (2. as expected. p < 0. or valenced thoughts about communicator information. the index for thoughts about the argument was subjected to a 2 Â 2 ANOVA. p < 0.2181. F < 1.05) became non-significant when corrected for the effect of thoughts about the communicator ( ß ¼ 0.9785).53.002.Biassed processing 1069 First. predicted attitude judgements ( ß ¼ 0.53.028.006. Eur. Ltd. we first conducted single cell comparisons which revealed that in the after condition the valence of thoughts about the communicator did not differ as a function of the initial argument’s quality. In the after condition.02.05).05).s. The results are very different in the before condition the quality of the brief argument predicted valenced thoughts about this argument ( ß ¼ 0. Thus. 74) ¼ 0.74. The results in this analysis closely resemble those found in the low motivation condition of Study 1. and communicator thoughts mediated the effect of argument thoughts on attitudes (z ¼ 2. with regards to thoughts dedicated to the communicator description.05).02). In turn.

J. “After” Condition Valenced Thoughts Argument . but not when it followed.21) .44* (. biassed the processing of subsequent information on the communicator. Soc. Ltd.53*) Attitude .26 (.21 (. this analysis complements the finding that attitudes toward the communicator were biassed by argument quality only in the before.53* “Before” Condition Valenced Thoughts Argument .49*) Figure 2. the mediation analyses provided additional evidence for biassed processing of communicator information by the prior message argument under high motivation when the argument preceded. results of this analysis parallel the findings obtained in the high motivation condition of Study 1. Thus.46* (.05. Coefficients appearing above lines are beta-weights for uncorrected paths.24) Attitude .02 (. which in turn Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons. Psychol.59* . In addition.26) Brief Argument . Coefficients in parentheses appearing below lines are beta-weights for corrected paths (thoughts about initial argument corrected for thoughts about communicator description and vice versa). Effects of the brief argument’s quality (dummy-coded 0: weak. weak or strong in its implication for the forwarded position.1070 Hans-Peter Erb et al. Discussion In this study.1002/ejsp .00 .40* (.33* (. Eur. but not in the after condition. 1: strong) on post-message attitudes mediated by valenced cognitive responses toward the argument and the communicator information under conditions where the brief argument followed (upper panel) or preceded (lower panel) the communicator description (Study 2) Note.19) Valenced Thoughts Communicator . 37.36*) Brief Argument . we found that an initial argument. the communicator information. 1057–1075 (2007) DOI: 10.02) Valenced Thoughts Communicator (. Ãp < 0.

recipients face manifold information types. however. recipients need to be sufficiently motivated and able to invest effort into the processing of the to be biassed information. a message argument biassed the processing of communicator information only when it preceded such information and not when it followed it. although processing motivation was high and the ambiguous communicator description was the same in all conditions. Soc. Darke et al. Such demonstration of functional equivalence of the cognitive responses elicited by cues and arguments with respect to judgement formation sheds new light on the biassed processing phenomenon. Psychol. source characteristics) but also the content of thoughts (issue-related vs. 1057–1075 (2007) DOI: 10. It appears that conclusions derived from prior processing can serve as evidential input. source-related) they elicit appear functionally equivalent with regards to their effects on subsequent attitudes. Wheeler.. & Darke. Thus. some dual-process theorists have explicitly denied the possibility that source-related information can form the basis for attitude judgements when processing effort is high. The present work extends our comprehension of biassed processing in persuasion in that it demonstrates the previously unconsidered possibilities that (a) message content may represent a biassing factor and (b) context-related information may represent the target of bias under certain conditions. Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons. in which terms subsequent inferences are made: Whatever its content. Specifically. The present analysis demonstrates. 1989. The results also demonstrate the forward-feeding nature of biassed processing.. With this regard. Petty & Wegener. an early information appeared capable of biassing the processing of subsequent information. this may have created the impression that the cues generally constitute the biassing factor and the message the target of the bias. 1999). 1994. 1998. on the basis of prior research one may have expected that under the condition of high processing motivation recipients would engage in effortful processing of issue-related information (Chaiken. some residing in the contents of the message (arguments). But what might such conditions be? Obviously. 1999. In addition to these widely accepted conditions (Chaiken et al.Biassed processing 1071 determined the final attitude judgements. 1994. Petty. not only the specific contents of the information presented (message arguments vs. Previous studies on the biassed processing phenomenon have treated message content as the target of bias and context variables as the biassing factor. GENERAL DISCUSSION In a persuasion context. In particular. that it is the processing sequence that matters rather than the information type. Petty et al. Chaiken & Maheswaran. & Bizer. the biassed processing of the communicator description in this study had the same effect on attitudes as did the biassed processing of message arguments in prior studies (Study 1. it is necessary that the to be biassed information is sufficiently ambiguous to allow the biassing factor to exert influence on its interpretation. Eur. J.g. the present Study 2 points to processing sequence as an additional factor. Furthermore. The present experiment further demonstrates that communicator-related thoughts can determine attitude judgements under conditions of high processing effort. Duckworth. 1999). Thus. it is the early appearing information that is capable of introducing bias into the processing of the subsequent information whatever that may be. Whether it be cues or message arguments as such..1002/ejsp . 1993. As in prior biassed processing research the putative biassing cues typically preceded the message information. For example when commenting on Kruglanski and Thompson’s (1999) findings (see Introduction). other in the persuasive context (e. In this experiment the message argument exerted bias only when it preceded but not when it followed the communicator description. 37. source characteristics). but not vice versa.). Chaiken & Maheswaran. Ltd.

recipients prone to invest high processing effort may well extensively elaborate on source information. 1999) that holds that any variable may serve as a peripheral cue under some conditions and as a message argument under other conditions. this was clearly not found in the present research. . Petty & Wegener. 37. . Chaiken and colleagues (1999. As they put it.. Ltd. p. neither a significant path from valenced thoughts about the argument to valenced thoughts about the communicator. 120) asked the question of ‘.1072 Hans-Peter Erb et al. the case is not that dual-process models deny the possibility of extensive processing of cue or peripheral information. . J. 1999. . which typically refers to the systematic or central route processing of issue-related information. . the present results may be accommodated to the ELM by assuming (a) that the initial Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons. Petty and colleagues (1999.’ (Darke et al. Of course. To prevent from misunderstanding.. any systematic processing would take the form of novel thoughts generated about the issue. doing something other than elaborating issue-relevant information’ (Petty et al. p. systematic or central route processing in the present experiment was clearly dedicated to the communicator description (a heuristic or peripheral aspect) when it followed the brief initial argument. for example arguments are ambiguous or absent. 1986. . message factors and other factors. . 119). elaborations of persuasive arguments.g... they will engage in biassed issue-related processing. Novel and general thoughts about the issue mediated the effects of the source cue and involvement or distraction in each of the relevant (Kruglanski & Thompson’s. one can engage in effortful scrutiny for merit of source factors. 1999. the biassing factor would ‘. 157) stated that ‘. nor a significant path from valenced thoughts about the communicator to the final attitude judgements should have emerged. However.1002/ejsp .. 1057–1075 (2007) DOI: 10. p. Given that the single argument provided in the present Study 2 was an insufficient basis for issue-related processing. additional thoughts about the issue) when. Thus. . p. in the present Study 2 neither an argument effect on thoughts dedicated to the communicator nor an argument effect on communicator attributions was to be expected. would ever be influenced by factors such as source expertise?’ They interpreted Kruglanski and Thompson’s (1999) results in terms of the HSM’s biassed processing hypothesis. p. 1999. . p. In terms of the mediation analysis. because biassed processing requires high processing effort. .. . 1998. the processing and use of source information under conditions of extensive processing presently appears rather difficult to reconcile with dual-process predictions.’. in this case. . independent of whether the brief argument preceded or followed the communicator description. emphasize ours). according to prior persuasion research one would have predicted thoughts about the issue to determine the attitudes. Although processing motivation was consistently high across conditions. suggesting that ‘. those presumed to be processing systematically. Instead. Nevertheless. .g. Thus. Instead. Darke and colleagues (1998) were explicit in predicting how a biassing factor (in their case consensus information) would affect subsequent processing in case issue-related information is insufficient to warrant an informed judgement. why highly motivated individuals. 159). Soc. Petty & Cacippo. . Psychol. 1999. . the dual-process conceptions suggest that recipients who process extensively would additionally generate their own thoughts about the issue. Both the HSM and the ELM explicitly linked extensive processing to the use of issue-related information for judgement formation. Eur. 120. However. From this perspective. 1999) studies’ (Chaiken et al. . bias systematic processing because the absence of supportive arguments would probably allow for greater flexibility in the valence of thoughts generated about the issue. parentheses and emphasis ours. the extensive processing of source factors or other cue information refers to the peripheral route to persuasion as ‘(p)eripheral route attitude changes are characterized by low degrees of issue-relevant elaboration. Accordingly. p. the ELM (unlike the HSM) features the ‘multiple roles assumption’ (e. . Bias in source-related processing has not been considered so far. For example. see also Petty et al. 157.’. 1207. see also Chaiken et al. heuristic cues such as source credibility can bias the direction of systematic processing (e. and the qualitative distinction from central route processing is defined by ‘. but they will likely not base their judgements on source-related processing. . Petty et al. 1999.

University of Maryland at College Park. 1057–1075 (2007) DOI: 10. it appears more parsimonious to assume functional equivalence than to distinguish between peripheral cues and arguments in the first place and then postulate that either can function in the role of the respective other. Arie W. and extensive argumentation about political issues in the media can hardly be found (Kerkhof. Although our data can be fitted to such a conception. 315–328. Wirtschafts-. (1997). 2. For instance. D. Soc. Oakley. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Hans-Peter Erb. for example in an election campaign. J. and William C. Antonio Pierro and Lucia Mannetti. Dipartimento di Psicologia dei processi di sviluppo e socializzazione. Future research should address these and related issues. as well as Don Adam. in political persuasion relatively high attention is devoted to information about politicians and their relations with each other (e.1002/ejsp . even those people assumed to devote considerable effort to the processing of political information (the ‘politically aware’) make judgements on the basis on who endorsed a particular position (e. Organisations. Scott Spiegel. we prefer the notion of functional equivalence of cues and arguments for at least two reasons. A. Often. USA. There is nothing in the multiple-roles assumption as stated thus far that would turn an argument into a cue or vice versa based on the ordinal position of the information presented (see Petty & Cacippo. 1987).g. Petty et al. Second. Italy. that in such contexts. We conclude that studying such indirect effects of political persuasion can constitute one example of a productive approach to understanding attitude formation and change in real world context. Kruglanski. University of Rome La Sapienza. Wendy P. 1999. 1999). R.und Sozialpsychologie. the present findings have implications for applied settings as well.. REFERENCES Abelson. Zaller.. 1992). Contrast tests of interaction hypotheses. Zaller.g.Biassed processing 1073 message argument (biassing factor) served the role of a peripheral cue in Study 1 and in the before condition of Study 2. Hawaa Almansouri. 37. Psychol. Petty & Wegener. Imagine a communicator capable of presenting some strong and some more ambiguous arguments. Eur. the stronger arguments presented up-front should exert positive bias on the processing of the subsequent arguments under conditions of high motivation or determine judgements directly when processing motivation is low. Ltd. Based on the present analysis. 1986. The present analysis suggests. Department of Psychology. within the multiple role assumption the conditions that favour one prediction over the other are not specified. for their help in data collection and rating participants’ thought listings. Aside from their theoretical implications. P. Chemnitz University of Technology. First. Psychology Department. Germany. The finding that arguments can also bias source-related information (Study 2) may have considerable implications for settings in which perceptions of the endorser of a specific position are of particular interest to recipients. people may use brief and easy to process issue-related information (message arguments) to derive judgements about politicians (the sources) via biassed source-perception which in turn may drive their final judgements. We would like to thank Gerd Bohner for his helpful comments on an earlier draft. USA. Psychological Methods. & Prentice. Eisner. 1999). This work was supported by NSF Grant SBR-9417422. Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons. Columbia University. and (b) that the following message arguments (Study 1) and the source description in the after condition (but not in the before condition) of Study 2 served the role of message arguments. but as a message argument in the after condition of Study 2.

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