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Angry expressions induce extensive processing of persuasive appeals

  • Author(s): Calanchini, J
  • Moons, WG
  • Mackie, DM
  • et al.

© 2016 Elsevier Inc. Persuasive appeals sometimes include expressions of anger in an attempt to influence message recipients' thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors. The current research investigated how angry expressions change the way in which a persuasive appeal is considered. In five experiments, participants reported more favorable attitudes towards strong than weak appeals attributed to sources expressing anger, indicating careful processing of those appeals. However, participants reported equally favorable attitudes towards appeals attributed to sources expressing other emotions, indicating a lack of careful processing. Angry expressions induced extensive processing even in those not dispositionally inclined to do so, and also influenced attitudes towards issues related to, but not specifically addressed in, the appeal. Mediation and causal-chain analyses indicate that extensive processing was induced by the threat signaled by angry expressions.

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