Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) of Persuasion

Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) of Persuasion was developed in 1980. Richard V and American psychologist John Gachio Cachioppo. It describes the impact of convincing communication on the address with points of its relation to the topic of communication. Models of information processing probabilities are one of the only known models in the field of media effects.

Basic conditions

Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) of Persuasion is based on two types of processing information, which are successfully assured, which can be considered as antagonistic in relation to the effect of changing the environment

  1. central route of persuasion;
  2. peripheral route of persuasion.

Central route of persuasion

The central route of persuasion is based on the processing of argumentative relations, including figures and facts. The use of the central route of the recipient will be effective if he/she sums up the additional information according to the relevant topic of the communication (or on the relevant topic). Central routes require significant cognitive power from the communicator, which assesses pre-immunizations, suggested positions, or persuasive information. The central route is a celebration of the need for significant cognitive strength with hundreds of member audiences. The driving force behind such changes in the institution has the following general characteristics: 1) availability; 2) existence; 3) predisposition to initiation; 4) resistance to change. The outcome of all the stories, the arguments of convincing communication can be taken away from them, free of charge. An example of a central route of processing communications may be the following situation in the election assembly of candidates in the presidency. If the topic of communication is related to the audience and the audience is interested in the communication itself, the candidate will be successful in providing information when he/she proposes a detailed elaborated plan with the following plans.

Necessary conditions:

  • The recipient strives for additional information (need for knowledge) and is able to process communication skills, making persuasion;
  • The topic of communication’s long-standing name is related to the semiconductor, he’s obliged to be interested and motivated by communication alone (motivation and attention to communication can also be achieved with the help of “peripheral subconscious”).


  • The stability established by the establishment of institutions (after all, the stability of institutions established in relation to intermittent communications, justified by the formation of institutions on the peripheral route). This means that the motivated and careful processing of arguments with the recipient was completed (only attention/motivation, and also “globe overhaul” / “self-reference” indicates a significant influx of new information);
  • Predicting the conduct is possible partially and only for a definite initiation. Thus, ELM provides the primary attention not to predict behavior but to the mechanism of changing behavior.

Peripheral route of persuasion

Arguments do not have meaning here. Instead, “peripheral cues” are used, stimulating the principle of persuasion without serious thinking. Peripheral processing is used when we, as a rule, are not fully aware of the topic of communication. We can use this way more often than centrifugal. The use of expert opinions on new advertisements are examples of a peripheral route of persuasion. “Approved by the American Dental Association “, “Recommended by the WHO” are eligible landmarks used for better effectiveness. An appropriate introduction serves the orientation of trust information, which exerts a mass effect.

Necessary conditions:

  • Inadequate motivation and significant importance of persuasive communication. When it comes to motivations, what is called personal creativity, which turns out to be necessary for the formation of “peripheral subconscious”ю


  • Quite a weak and unstable institution;
  • Low probability of forecasting initiatives.

If both routes were originally viewed as antagonistic, then now the possibility of their interaction is not excluded (for example, the central processing route can be directed by a peripheral route – we can be motivated to read an article in a scientific journal (central route) or we can get the same information at a meeting, where the authority of the speaker, his/her appearance, the consent of other colleagues, etc.).

Influencing factors

R. Petty and J. Cacioppo described a number of factors that influence the processing of messages.

Distraction (or rejection)

Distraction reduces the recipient’s ability to process the message through a central route. This is the dominant cognitive response that triggers the message otherwise. Such a reaction occurs to a message containing weak arguments, as an attempt to find counterarguments. Petty, Wells, and Brock hypothesized in 1976 that stronger messages (with strong arguments) are less distracting than weaker messages (with weak arguments). Their hypothesis has been experimentally confirmed.


Having a good mood as a peripheral stimulus makes it easier to accept the message. However, the impact of a good mood on cognitive processes is not always good since the best mood may not be there.

Personal significance

Topics that are of high personal importance are processed more along the central route, while messages of such importance are often processed along the periphery.

Advantages and disadvantages

The advantage of the peripheral thinking route is that it saves time, energy, and mental capacity. However, this may mean that in the process of such thinking, part of the information may be missed and this can lead to negative consequences, errors that could have been prevented. The advantage of the central route is that in the process of such thinking, mistakes can be avoided because the person sees the information immediately, processes it, and then makes his / her decision. However, this takes a lot of time, energy, and mental ability.

Scope and application

The field of mass communication (print media, television, advertising, etc.), the field of social psychology. This theory is effective because it examines the factors that explain why and when persuasive messages will lead to the persuasion of the audience.


Some researchers have been criticized for misinterpreting the ELM model. So, for example, E. Thompson suggested that processing along the central or peripheral route is directly determined by the type of information that affects the persuasive power of the message.

In fact, the ELM does not assert anything about the types of information associated with any particular way of processing it. On the contrary, a key element of the ELM model is how any type of information will be used depending on the central or peripheral route, regardless of the content of the message.