Does a Credible Source Also Need a Fearful Audience?
Article first published online: 26 APR 2012
© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 42, Issue 7, pages 1716–1744, July 2012
How to Cite
UMEH, K. (2012), Does a Credible Source Also Need a Fearful Audience?. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 42: 1716–1744. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2012.00916.x
- Issue published online: 4 JUL 2012
- Article first published online: 26 APR 2012
Does a credible source also need a fearful audience? Current evidence is ambiguous. This study assessed the persuasiveness of a message from a high/low credible source, with strong/weak fear content. Over 270 undergraduates provided attitudinal information before and after receiving a warning about breast cancer, incorporating the experimental manipulations. Attitudes improved after message exposure, irrespective of the fear appeal and source credibility. However, the strong fear appeal amplified message acceptance. There was no evidence of an interaction between source credibility and fear. However, aroused fear and perceived credibility reduced resistance. Neither fear nor source credibility affected persuasion after several months. Instead pre-message resistance played a critical role. These findings revisit old debates about the importance of peripheral cues in persuasion.