the conscious path

The Science of
Using Persuasion Principles & Techniques
Shortcuts to thinking
 Whether we realize it or not, we love shortcuts to
thinking. When we buy an item, we don’t always
take the time to research the product or read the
latest consumer guide’s ratings on the product.
 we often rely on the salesperson’s advice,
 we might just buy the most popular brand, or
 we might bring a friend along for his opinion.
 If we thoroughly considered every single
decision, we would constantly be
overwhelmed and we’d never get anything
Two Paths of Persuasion: The
Conscious & the Subconscious
 There are two paths to persuasion: the conscious
and the subconscious.
 Both paths can persuade others to your way of
thinking, but each path uses a very different means
of processing information.
The conscious path
 In the conscious path, both you and your
audience make an active or conscious
attempt to understand, define, and process
an argument.
The conscious path
 A person who is interested in your persuasive attempts
will be highly motivated to listen.
 As such, she will also be able to consciously evaluate
your message by carefully weighing the pros and cons
of the evidence you present.
The subconscious path
 In the subconscious path, the listener spends little
or no time processing the information.
 This approach results in those automatic triggers.
 Your mind reaches a decision without doing any
logical processing.
The subconscious path
 These subconscious decisions are largely driven by
instinct and emotion.
 They are not really involved in the subject. Here,
the key is knowing when to use which method.
Elaboration Likelihood Model
 ELM’s two “routes” to persuasion
 Depends on the level of elaboration
 Central route: Focus on quality of message
 Peripheral route: Focus on superficial “cues”
Low Elaboration
High Elaboration
Peripheral Route
Central Route
Two Routes to Persuasion
Central route
 Involves conscious processing
 Careful and thoughtful consideration
Peripheral route
 Involves automatic processing
 Influenced by some simple cues
Central Route
 Argument Quality
 In addition to what is said previously, the
cause of the elaboration also depends on the
quality/strength of arguments.
 Elaborated Arguments:
 Strong
 Weak
Elaboration Likelihood Model
 We may be persuaded by arguments or
by peripheral cues
 So, does elaboration matter?
Elaboration Likelihood Model
 Persuasion via the central route leads to
stronger attitudes
Attitude Strength
 Attitude strength
 Stability over time
 Resistance to persuasion attempts
 Attitude is more likely to predict behavior
Elaboration Likelihood Model
 So, is the central route better?
 Not always!
 Central route
 Takes time and energy
 Doesn’t necessarily lead to better decisions
 Elaboration Likelihood Model
Other related theories:
 Resisting persuasion
 Inoculation Theory
 Predicting behavior
 Theory of Planned Behavior
Take Home Messages
 Not all kinds of persuasion are created equal
 ELM: central vs. peripheral route
 Persuasion is not inherently bad
 Such as health campaigns, environmental
 You can resist persuasion
 Attitudes are very important –
Especially when they predict behavior!