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“Looks can be deceiving” The moderating effect of face-trustworthiness on the relation between argument-strength and persuasiveness of online-content

Vries, B.J.H. de (2009) “Looks can be deceiving” The moderating effect of face-trustworthiness on the relation between argument-strength and persuasiveness of online-content.

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Abstract:New (Internet) technology has affected personalization of politics, which has led to the rise of the political weblogs. Political weblogs facilitate a (new) form of interpersonal computermediated communication (CMC). This interpersonal CMC affects a great portion of the direct feedback that is available in normal face-to-face conversation. In face-to-face interaction, humans make a (social) judgment (thin-slice judgment) about the personality solely based on brief exposure to nonverbal cues. The current research examines the effect(s) of thin-slice judgments in an online context. It is proposed that the interpretation of personal information (e.g. face-trustworthiness) may affect the persuasiveness of online-content. In a 2x3 between-subjects true experiment the way in which personal information presented on a political weblog influences the persuasiveness of the weblog-content was investigated. A group of 148 individuals participated in a scenario experiment in which participants were primed supraliminal (100ms) with a face (untrustworthy-face versus trustworthy-face versus no-face), and subsequently were assigned to read a fictional politicalweblog, differing in argument-strength (weak arguments versus strong arguments). Results indicate that individuals are influenced by the appearance of nonverbal static cues. Hence, under certain circumstances personal information presented on a political weblog is processed through a subconscious automatic stage. The processing of facetrustworthiness subsequently effects the processing of the weblog-content. The automatically activated thin-slice judgment was subconsciously used by recipient as a ‘lens’ through which individuals “see” the weblog-content. This affects following information processing, and defines image-formation. Although message-recipients foremost process the weblog-content deliberately, the previously activated judgment moderates the persuasiveness-process. In summary, the personal information presented on a political weblog does influence the persuasiveness of the weblog-content, depending on the thin-slice judgment that is based on interpreting this personal information.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Clients:
Strategic Development Group
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/59515
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