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Elaboration Likelihood Model is developed by Richard E. Petty and John T. Cacioppo in 1980s. Persuasion is very much associated with our daily life. Persuasion occurs when readers, listeners or viewers learns a message from what they read, listen or watch.

elaboration likelihood model

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We remember the message as ideas and we will be persuaded by it. That is how we remember them. If we did not learn something, it is not possible to remember it and we will not be persuaded by it. However learning may not be always combined with persuasion.

For example there might be some advertisements that we hate, we don’t want to learn or remember the message from the advertisement and we are not being persuaded by it.

The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) explains how persuasion message works in changing the attitude of reader or viewer. It is very much important for corporations and advertisement agencies, in designing their market strategies and understanding the attitudes of peoples.

Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM)

Persuasion is referred as the action by which, convincing or causing someone to do something through reasoning or argument. The Elaboration Likelihood model proposes that each and every message is undergoing the process of persuasion in two different ways. They are called Central route and peripheral route.

Both of them are effective persuasion techniques, but each of them has its own guiding techniques to make them more operative.

Central Route

The process of persuasion through Central route is straight to the point and complete. The central route needs a thoughtful consideration of arguments which contains in the message. It requires more involvement from the part of reader or viewer.

The receiver of the message carefully analyze the message and think of it in every possible angle. When the receiver processes the message through the central route, his active participation is vital also his motivation and ability to think.

In simple it can be said that the receiver should care about the message and subject matter. The central route is strong. A person who is distracted or having some problem with understanding the message may not be able to do the central processing.

The disadvantage of this technique is that, if the receiver is not directly affected by the message he or she will ignore it.


A woman who is very much interested in platinum jewelries will be closely watching the advertisements of jewelries. She is fascinated with the new trends and tends to collect them. Here she has the motivation for the subject matter and she care about it.

She carefully processes the message and thinks about it. And her husband may not be interested in jewels so he will be totally ignoring the message from advertisements about the jewels. Here the woman processes the message in her central route and not her husband.

Peripheral Route

The peripheral route is weak and the involvement of the receiver will be low. The message sent through peripheral route is not analyzed cognitively. Here the receiver of the message is not sure whether to agree with the message or to disagree.

The person may not be able to elaborate the message extensively, so in the end he will be persuaded by the factors which are nothing to do with the message. And this is where packing, marketing, advertising and PR does their job. Sometimes people may not be in a position to think about the message carefully
so he or she will look around for the next best option to be persuaded.


Brian, a high school student in a book store to buy a note book for doing his homework. He sees many designs in front cover of the notebook from various companies. He became confused, and then he saw a notebook with his favorite football player’s picture in front cover. Without thinking much about it, he bought that notebook.

Related: What is Cognitive Dissonance?

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Boyz waMla March 16, 2013, 4:35 pm

    a bit harder to comprehend but the examples simplified everything and further examples will make it simpler

  • Orgcom Popshie March 3, 2017, 2:27 pm

    What organizational communication concept can we derive from this? Is it more of a communication strategy matter or more of a receiver involvement situation? So far I understand the theoretical model as more of a communication strategy but can you help me clarify this. 🙂 Thank you

  • Veronica Finch September 4, 2018, 5:33 pm

    Interesting article on Elaboration Likelihood Model. Well, we found the information useful and the example a the end makes it very easy to understand the overall idea

  • Masroor Ahmad August 6, 2023, 1:27 am

    ELM model is explained in a good way. It was complex simplified by examples though

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