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Sample Essay on Elaboration Likelihood Model

Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM)

Elaboration likelihood model (ELM) claims an individual’s route of thinking is what determines changes. It is a theory on dual process that describes how attitudes are changed and formed. It was developed by John Cacioppo and Richard E. Petty in the early 1980’s.

The model examines the manner in which the argument position on ‘elaboration continuum’ from evaluation and processed to peripheral concerns like attractiveness or expertise shape its persuasiveness. It resembles a heuristic systematic information processing model that was developed around the same period by Shelly Chaiken.

There are two processing routes for this model and they are as highlighted below:


This route is taken if the individual on the receiving end cares about the issue that is at hand and they are able to understand it without permitting themselves to get distracted by other superficial information. Often, the central path leaves a lasting and long persuasive effect on receivers if the subject that is at hand is sympathetic towards them. However, if receiver of that message is unfavorably inclined to the subject the reverse effect is most likely to occur.


This path is used whenever the receiver has absolutely no little interest in a subject. The message conveys the word peripheral hints to something towards the selected audience that might have a positive attitude. The hints are targeted towards something simple like pleasurable leisure activities or to something complex like presenting the issue after other several positions that the receiver is disapprovingly inclined towards.

In this case, the individual will maintain their initial attitude towards the matter even though the peripheral signals aren’t accepted but if they get accepted, that person will change their attitude towards it temporarily. The change in attitude can lead to permanent opinion change though it is likely less likely to occur than when the decision is made using central route.

There are two variables that have an effect on the route of thinking an individual employs and they include situational and personality. Persuasion tools will also have different kinds of effects on different kinds of audiences depending on what type of route they employ. Often, the central route is the one that is increasingly persistent over a long duration. It is also predictive of behavior and resistant to change.

ELM is a valued model because it provides a way of understanding how attitudes are changed and formed. It is applicable to persuasion because it provides a means for an individual to understand the person they are attempting to persuade and the route they will take.

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