Investigating the nature of emotional appeals: An expectancy violations interpretation of the persuasive efficacy of emotional appeals
AuthorJorgensen, Peter Francis
AdvisorBuller, David B.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe primary objective of this research was to investigate whether the principles of Expectancy Violations Theory could be applied to the study of emotional appeals so as to gain an alternative interpretation of the persuasive efficacy of affective messages in the social influence process. Central to this approach is the assumption that certain culturally-based norms guiding the expression of emotion exist at a societal level, and that the violations of these expectancy norms carry implications for the efficacy of persuasive attempts. Specifically, the tenets of EVT suggest that when these violations occur, message recipients will look to the perceived rewardingness of the source of the message, and then interpret the violations as positive or negative. It was posited that these evaluations, in turn, would either facilitate (in the case of positive violations) or inhibit (negative violations) the persuasion process. However, due to a number of methodological confounds in the design of the emotional messages used in this research, this study could not provide a fair test of the predictions suggested by EVT. A significant confederate by actor sex interaction described an experimental situation wherein expectancy violation or confirmation was idiosyncratic to the confederates, which is inconsistent both with the premises of EVT as well as the hypotheses stated in this research. Instead, a series of secondary analyses within confederates was undertaken in an attempt to explore the relationships between source rewardingness and message expectedness on attitude change. However, no significant relationships were found to exist. The discussion section focuses heavily on an analysis of the confounds that existed in this research, and suggestions are made for providing a remedy for similar situations in future research. Finally, directions for future research using expectancy violations theory and emotion are discussed.
Degree ProgramGraduate College