Does elaboration increase or decrease the effectiveness of negatively versus positively framed messages?
A robust finding in research on message framing is that negatively framed messages are more (less) effective than positively framed ones when the level of cognitive elaboration is high (low). However, recent research presents evidence that is contrary to previous findings: negative framing being less (more) effective than positive framing when the level of elaboration is high (low). In this article, we attempt to resolve the conflicting findings by highlighting the moderating roles of motivation and opportunity-related variables on the effectiveness of negative versus positive message frames. Results from two experiments suggest that under conditions of low processing motivation, negative framing is more (less) effective than positive framing when the level of processing opportunity is low (high). Under conditions of high processing motivation, negative framing is more effective than positive framing, irrespective of the level of processing opportunity.
Shiv, B; Britton, JAE; Payne, JW
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