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Heuristic-Systematic Persuasion Model

 

Explanations > Theories > Heuristic-Systematic Persuasion Model

Description | Example | So What? | See also | References 

 

Description

People either use heuristics and short-cuts in decision-making or they systematically process the merits and demerits of a given argument.

Heuristics include our own emotions as we ask ‘How do I feel about this?’ although this can cause a problem where we mix up the cause and effect of our emotions.

Systematic processing is more likely when:

  • Careful thought is likely to generate judgment confidence.
  • The message is uncertain or unexpected and more thought is needed to work out what it means.
  • The message is particularly relevant to the person, such as when it is about them personally or about their goals or interests.
  • The person does not agree with the message or feels threatened, and is seeking to resist any persuasive attempts.

Example

When asked to donate to a charity I will quickly dig into my pocket. If asked to help more actively, I will think about it more carefully.

So what?

Using it

Embed heuristics and trite statements in a peripherally-aimed speech and there’s a good chance they will get through.

Defending

When things are important do not use short-cut decision-making, especially if others are encouraging you to do so.

See also

Attitude, Elaboration Likelihood Model

References

Chaiken (1987), Chaiken, Liberman and Eagly (1989), Chaiken, Wood and Eagly (1996) 

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