Emotional and Rational Appeals


Abstract

In many studies, data has been led to suggest that rational messages may
encourage the generation of content based cognitive responses and lead to
attitudes heavily influenced by these cognitions. Studies have also led to
suggest that people in negative moods are affected by the quality of persuasive
messages. Using manipulations techniques, bad mood may result in a different
interpretation of anything from a verbal argument to a literal message. Even
though most studies indicate that good mood manipulations may not have that much
effect on one\'s perception of a scenario, further investigation may do away with
that theory.

Persuasion in Response to Emotional and Rational Appeals

Much research has been done to try and indicate that emotional appeals
may influence attitude change. The other side of looking at the spectrum is that
rational appeals may do likewise (e.g., Rosselli; Francine; Skelly, John J.;
Mackie, Diane M, 1995). In one study conducted at the University of California
at Santa Barbara, 184 students received partial course credit in return for
their participation. Subjects in the experiment were assigned to the cells of a
2(positive or neutral mood) x 2(emotional or rational message type) x 2(strong
or weak argument quality). Subjects were in groups of two to six.
After this step was established, eight messages in approximately equal
length were developed. Each message contained six arguments that were either in
favor or against using animals for research purposes. Rational and emotional
were used in nature and strong and weak were used in quality. In the procedure
of the experiment, subjects participated in an experimental session that
included several tasks that were not directly related to the study. The first
test included a survey of the subjects\' attitudes toward animal testing. After
this was completed, subjects read a persuasive message, then responded to
questions concerning the topic of animal research, and finally completed items
designed to check the effectiveness of the manipulations.
After checking the analysis, indications showed that there was no
effects for gender. To add to this, responses to all manipulation check measures
were entered into one of four separate groups between subjects analyses of
variance (ANOVAs). When looking at the message type, the data had revealed the
expected main effect for message type, F(1, 65) = 33.44. p