This research was supported by a grant from the Australian Research Council (small grants scheme). The authors thank Bernd Irmer for help during various stages of this project.
Rumors Denials as Persuasive Messages: Effects of Personal Relevance, Source, and Message Characteristics1
Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 35, Issue 6, pages 1301–1331, June 2005
How to Cite
Bordia, P., DiFonzo, N., Haines, R. and Chaseling, E. (2005), Rumors Denials as Persuasive Messages: Effects of Personal Relevance, Source, and Message Characteristics. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 35: 1301–1331. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2005.tb02172.x
- Issue published online: 31 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Denial is a commonly used strategy to rebut a false rumor. However, there is a dearth of empirical research on the effectiveness of denials in combating rumors. Treating denials as persuasive messages, we conducted 3 laboratory-based simulation studies testing the overall effectiveness of denials in reducing belief and anxiety associated with an e-mail virus rumor. Under the framework of the elaboration likelihood model, we also tested the effects of denial message quality and source credibility, and the moderating effects of personal relevance. Overall, the results provided some support for the effectiveness of denials with strong arguments and an anxiety-alleviating tone in reducing rumor-related belief and anxiety. The effects of denial wording and source credibility were visible for participants who perceived high personal relevance of the topic. Limitations of the current research and future research directions are discussed.