Elaborate Likelihood Model versus Heuristic-Systematic Model

One of the main areas of exploration is that which provides an analysis of the Elaborate Likelihood Model (ELM) and the Heuristic-Systematic Model (HSM). The Elaborate Likelihood Model as observed by Baumeister and Bushman (2008) is a model of persuasion that allows people to hold on to attitudes that allows them to makes sense of both themselves and the world surrounding them. Hamilton (2004) further points out that given the level of thoughtfulness that people are required to have, individuals vary in terms of the amount of variation they are willing to invest in the decision-making process. Petty and Cacioppo (2000) point out that people using the Elaborate Likelihood Model do not have adequate mental capacity or time to make an analysis of the various essential aspects of the persuasive arguments presented to them.

 The Heuristic Systematic Model is a decision-making process that creates room for individuals to process messages in two ways during the process of making decisions (Trumbo, 1999). In addition to this, research conducted has revealed that people that embrace this particular model embrace emotions when making decisions in that they are able to ask themselves how they feel about a particular issue. Smith and DeCoster (2000) give out caution when using the Heuristic Systematic Model claiming that the process of making decisions may be ineffective if an individual mixes up the cause and effect of emotions involved. This calls for carefulness in terms of thoughts when making a particular judgment.

Similarities and Differences between the Two Models

There is a need to provide the similarities and differences between the Heuristic-Systematic Model (HSM) and Elaborate Likelihood Model (ELM) dual process models. One of the similarities between the two models is that they both play an essential role in the process of forming and changing responses to persuasive messages. In addition to both being theories of models of persuasion, the ELM and the HSM are also used extensively as a means of passing information to the audience. According to Lavine (2000), the Elaborate Likelihood Model and the Heuristic Systematic Model are similar in that their distinction of persuasion among the audience members is based on the level of scrutiny that the audience accords to a particular persuasion message. While the two models differ in various ways, they link attitude to decisions made and the two can be described as dual process models given the fact that they both suggest two ways and means that the audience uses to process persuasive information presented to them (Griffin, 2006).

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There are some differences in relation to the Elaborate Likelihood Model (ELM) versus the Heuristic Systematic Model (HSM). While the ELM model or theory argues on the use of various routes like the cognitive effort based on the level of elaboration by the audience to process persuasive information presented to them, the HSM model is of the idea that two ways are use, the heuristic or the systematic way of processing the provided information (Booth and Welbourne, 2002).

Analysis of Articles Related to the Dual Process Models

 It is necessary to present a brief description of the articles selected in relation to the Elaborate Likelihood Model (ELM) and the Heuristic Systematic Model (HSM), as well as, the results of the research presented in the identified articles. Various studies have been presented as a means of comparing the effectiveness of the Elaborate Likelihood Model and the Heuristic Systematic Models as dual process models.  One of the articles on the Elaborate Likelihood Model is that by Flynn et al. (2010) and that by Whitelaw (2014). In their article, Flynn et al. (2010) present a discussion on how the Elaborate Likelihood Model can be employed on television messages on preventing smoking. They further emphasis on the need to improve communication methods when seeking to communicate to youths on reducing or further preventing smoking. In this particular article, the authors emphasize on the effectiveness of using the Elaborate Likelihood Model as an effective tool of communication. Whitelaw (2014) on the other hand also point out on how the Elaborate Likelihood Model can also assist in communicating on the need to promote academic honesty. In as much as both articles are discussing on different topics, they both emphasize on the need to embrace Elaborate Likelihood Model as a key theory for communicating effectively for the intended audience. As mentioned earlier, the Elaborate Likelihood Model is one that has been criticised less than Heuristic Systematic model. This makes the Elaborate Likelihood Model to be preferred more than the Heuristic Systematic Model.

Preferred Model

 Having presented an analysis of the Elaborate Likelihood Model (ELM) and the Heuristic Systematic Model (HSM), it is of great significance to establish the model that I agree with the most with reasons for the same. The model that I prefer among the dual processes model is the Elaborate Likelihood Model, one that holds that the decision making process is impacted by the fact that people hold onto the correct attitudes that create room for them to make sense of the world (Albarracin, Johnson, & Zanna, 2005). Apart from having the experiments that support it replicate over and over again, the Elaborate Likelihood Model is also widely believed by most social psychologists and has been less criticized than other models. As observed by Barden and Petty (2006), the Elaborate Likelihood Model is one that has enhanced effectiveness on communication on various aspects of life. In addition this, the ELM model has also played a central role in ensuring that organizations understand the decision-making process embraced by consumers. Payne (2005) points out on the effectiveness of the Elaborate Likelihood Model are based on the need for cognition among the members of the audience. Recommendations are further made by social psychologist on the need to embrace the Elaborate Likelihood Model as opposed to the Heuristic Systematic Model. Emphasis is made in relation to the use of attitude in the decision-making process and the ability of the ELM theory to effectively communicate on the risks involved in using certain products and service (Rucker and Petty, 2006).


 From the above discussion, it is evident that both the Elaborate Likelihood Model (ELM) and the Heuristic Systematic Model (HSM) play an essential role, and that they also share many similarities.  The Elaborate Likelihood Model is the one in which people cling on to various attitudes that creates room for them to make sense of their surroundings. The Heuristic Systematic Model on the other hand lays emphasis on the use of short cuts for people in the process of making decisions. Regardless of their differences as part of the dual process models, it is necessary to point out that both the Elaborate Likelihood Model and the Heuristic Systematic Model play an essential process in the decision-making process on various arenas of life. However, given the fact that it embraces persuasion, the Elaborate Likelihood Model is one that is widely used and serves as a leading model or theory hence less criticism from social psychologists. 


Albarracin, D., Johnson, B. T., & Zanna, M. P. (2005). The handbook of attitudes. Mahwah, N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

Barden, J., & Petty, R. E. (2006). A comprehensive process from antecedents of elaboration to strength consequences: Mediation by the perception of the extent of elaboration. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Personality and Social Psychologists, Palm Springs, CA.

Baumeister, R.F. & Bushman, B. (2008). Social Psychology & Human Nature. California, USA: Thomson Wadsworth.

Booth, B.S. & Welbourne, J. (2002). The Elaboration Likelihood Model: It’s Impact on the Persuasion Theory and Research. In J.P Dillard and M. Pfau (Eds.). The Persuasion Handbook Developments in Theory and Practice, Thousand Oaks, CA. Sage Publications.

Chen, S., Duckworth, K., & Chaiken, S. (2002). Motivated Heuristic and Systematic Processing. Psychological Inquiry, 10(2), pp. 42-48.

Flynn, B.S., Worden, J.K., Janice, Y.K., Connolly, S.W. & Dorwaldt, A.L. (2010). Evaluation of Smoking Prevention Television Messages Based on the Elaboration Likelihood Model. Health Education Research, 1(1).

Griffin, E. A. (2006). A First Look at Communication Theory (6th ed.) Boston, MA; McGraw Hill.

Hamilton, V.L. (2004). Identification as a Challenge to Dual-Process Theories of Persuasion. Anonymous In “The social psychology of group identity and social conflict: Theory, application, and practice.” DC, US: American Psychological Association: Washington.

Lavine, H. (2000). Types of Evidence and Routes to Persuasion: The Unimodel versus Dual-Process Models. Commentaries. Retrieved From http://www.communicationcache.com/uploads/1/0/8/8/10887248/types_of_evidence_and_routes_to_persuasion-_the_unimodel_versus_dual-process_models.pdf

Payne, R.C. (2005). The Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion: Implications for Trial Advocacy. The Journal of Speech, Language, and the Law, 14(2).

Petty, R., & Cacioppo, J. (2000). Elaboration Likelihood Model. In E. M. Griffin (Ed.). A first look at communication theory (4th. ed.) Boston, MA: McGraw Hill.

Rucker, D.D. & Petty, R.E. (2006). Increasing the Effectiveness of Communications to Consumers: Recommendations Based on Elaboration Likelihood and Attitude Certainty Perspectives. American Marketing Association, 25(1).

Smith, E. & DeCoster, J. (2000). Dual-process models in social and cognitive psychology: Conceptual integration and links to underlying memory systems. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 4(2).

Trumbo, C.W. (1999). Heuristic-Systematic Information Processing and Risk Judgment. Risk Analysis, 19(3), pp. 391-400.

Whitelaw, P.A. (2014). Using the Elaboration Likelihood Model, Multimedia and Modern Culture to Promote Academic Honesty. Journal of Academic Language & Learning, 8(2), pp. 1-12.