Date of Award

2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Horowitz, Edward

Subject Headings

Digital media, Heuristic, Persuasion (Psychology) -- Social aspects, ELM, HSM, MCE, HCI, CMC, online news, new media, communication, persuasion, affordances, SNS, mass media, heuristics

Abstract

This paper is designed to explore how online readers process information when online news articles have majority cues. These majority cues are conceptualized as a specific type of heuristic cue and this study discovered complex interaction effects of this heuristic cue. Heuristic and Systematic Model (HSM) and Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) successfully predict how these interaction effects work when these models work together. MANOVA and ANOVA analyses report significant interaction effects among heuristic cues, involvement, and argument quality on readers attitudes (attitude toward information and author's credibility) that supporting both Hypothesis 1 and 2. Specifically, in regard a Hypothesis 1, when argument quality is strong the heuristic cue increases the attitude toward information and author's credibility more positively when the information is about a low-involvement product. On the other hand, the heuristic cue decreases attitude toward information and author's credibility more negatively when the information is about a high-involvement product. Regarding a Hypothesis 2, when the heuristic cue is low, the strong argument quality increases the attitude toward information and author's credibility more positively when the information is about a high-involvement product. On the other hand, the strong argument quality decreases the attitude toward information and author's credibility more negatively when the information is about a low-involvement product. In summary, the explanations of both HSM and ELM are supported only when people use their cognitive resources efficiently. On the other hand, theories of Maximization of Cognitive Efficiency (MCE) and affordances explain when people need to use cognitive resources inefficiently. That is because humans are naturally moderate their information processing in the dynamic manner that maximizes their cognitive efficiency to interpret the given information and environment efficiently and in a timely manner. Therefore, at first, people start to ado

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