The Perceived Convincingness Model: why and under what conditions processing fluency and emotions are valid indicators of a message’s perceived convincingness

Persuasive messages aim to influence people’s behavior. Arguments in these messages typically refer to the positive consequences of the advocated behavior or the negative consequences of failing to do so. It has been claimed that people automatically generate a judgment about the message’s convincingness. We present the Perceived Convincingness Model (PCM) to explain how people generate this judgment based upon the fluency with which they process the message and the intensity of the resulting emotions. When these experiences are elicited by the processing of the message’s arguments, they can be crude, yet relevant indicators of the extent to which the arguments meet the normative criteria of acceptability, relevance, and sufficiency. Thus, under some conditions, trusting one’s feelings may be a rational strategy when deciding to heed an advice or not.

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