The interplay of worldviews and heuristics in the processing of persuasive messages Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Magee, Robert Gerald
    • Affiliation: Hussman School of Journalism and Media
  • A person's worldview might moderate the way a persuasive message is processed, sometimes in the opposite direction of that intended by communicators. This dissertation explored the possibility that a worldview can influence the way a persuasive message is perceived. Building on the construct of worldview, the heuristic-systematic model of persuasion, and terror management theory, this dissertation examined the question in a betweenparticipants post-test only 2 (expertise cue) X 2 (argument quality) X 2 (mortality salience) X a relativist worldview (a measured variable) experiment (N = 149). Some participants in the experiment were reminded of their eventual death, while others were asked to think of watching television. Then, participants' tendency toward a relativist or traditional worldview was assessed. Participants viewed mock ads that featured either strong or weak arguments and had either an expertise cue or no cue at all, after which they rated the ads in terms of their attitudes toward the ad (Aad), the attitudes toward the brand (Abrand), and behavioral intentions. Worldview had a main effect on global evaluations of the ads, such that participants who tended toward a relativist worldview had lower evaluation of the ads and lower behavioral intentions. Mortality salience was found to moderate participants' worldview, presumably making their worldview more accessible in evaluating the ads. This dissertation also found separate main effects for worldview and argument quality on attitude toward the ad and attitude toward the brand, respectively. The implications for the heuristic-systematic model and terror management theory are discussed.
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  • In Copyright
  • Kalyanaraman, Sriram
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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