The elaboration likelihood model and the role of affect
According to the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM), a wide variety of variables, both within the individual and within the situation, can affect an individual's motivation and/or ability to process issue-relevant information. Although it is widely accepted that mood may affect information processing, investigators of the ELM have failed to fully consider this. The purpose of this investigation was to help elucidate the role of affect in the ELM. More specifically, this investigation was designed to assess the ways in which depressed and elated students process a highly involving counterattitudinal message. Depressed and elated students were exposed to either a strong or weak set of highly involving arguments supporting a countersttitudinal appeal emanating from a source of either high or low credibility. Based upon a review of the mood literature, it was expected that depressed students, due to the congruence between their mood state and the message content, would attend more closely to the message content and be more influenced by the quality of the message than elated students. Elated students, on the other hand, were expected to attend less closely to the message and be more influenced by the credibility of the source. The following hypotheses were made:
- When the argument was strong and the credibility of the source low, more persuasion would be found in the depressed than in the elated groups. 2) When the argument was strong and the credibility of the source high, no differences would be found between groups. 3) When the argument was weak and the credibility of the source high, more persuasion would be found in the elated than the depressed groups. 4) When the argument was weak and credibility of the source low, no differences would be found for the groups. Overall, general support was found for the predictions. Significant results were obtained on hypothesis one, two, and four, while a nonsignificant trend in the expected direction was noted on hypothesis three. Results are discussed from the perspective of the ELM. Limitations of the present study, directions for future studies, and clinical implications are discussed.