Extraversion and Self-Monitoring: Exploring Differential Responses to Descriptive and Injunctive Normative Messages within the Framework of the Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion
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The purpose of this research program was to explore how the personality traits of extraversion and self-monitoring may impact a persuasive appeal within the framework of the Elaboration Likelihood Model of persuasion. Using both descriptive and injunctive normative messages, I hypothesized that under conditions of low elaboration, when one is unable and unmotivated to process a message; those high in the traits of extraversion and self-monitoring would be more compliant to a persuasive appeal that utilized a descriptive normative message. Further, I hypothesized that under conditions of low elaboration, those low in the aforementioned traits would be more compliant to an appeal utilizing injunctive normative messages. I did not expect to find any differences relating to personality under conditions of high elaboration. In order to examine these expected interactions, I pre-tested messages to ensure they were adequately descriptive or injunctive (study one) and then presented these messages to participants who had previously completed measures of extraversion and self-monitoring (study two). In study one I successfully created both injunctive and descriptive normative messages that were adequately divergent. In study two, I manipulated elaboration by giving participants in the low elaboration condition a distracter task while they were reading the message, and by reducing personal relevance of the message, whereas for those in the high elaboration condition, there were no distractions and personal relevance was high. Contrary to predictions, I did not find the expected three-way interactions between extraversion, message type, and elaboration or self-monitoring, message type, and elaboration. However, I did find evidence supporting a two-way interaction between message type and elaboration, suggesting that descriptive messages are more persuasive under conditions of low elaboration whereas injunctive messages are more persuasive under conditions of high elaboration. Explanation for these findings, as well as implications of the findings both theoretical and practical, will be discussed in terms of the persuasion literature.