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An Integrative Model of Entertainment-Education Processes and Outcomes
Unformatted Document Text:  EE theory, 8 and Rouner, these researchers propose that one of the steps toward effectiveness of an E-E message begins with how the narrative message is processed. As illustrated by our model, the most effective route to attitude and behavior change occurs when the message is being centrally or systematically processed or absorbed. Peripheral Route/Heuristic Processing This is not to exclude the possibility of effects when a message is processed through the peripheral route. The peripheral route to message processing is taken when a person is either lacking the ability and/or motivation to elaborate on a message (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). In the case of elaboration of entertainment messages, the person is essentially unable and/or unmotivated to become absorbed in the storyline. For example, one is less able to pay attention to a program in a noisy singles bar than if one were at home without distractions (Anderson & Burns, 1991). One must be able to pay attention to the story or one will not become absorbed in the plot. Absorption occurs when audiences engage with the narrative to the extent that they are transported out of their current surroundings and vicariously experience what is happening to the characters in the storyline (Slater & Rouner, 2002). Attitudes formed based on the peripheral or heuristic processing of messages tend to be more susceptible to change, less persistent, and less predictive of behavior (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). Thus, they are not ideal for the long-term effects on behavior that E-E program designers hope to achieve. However, Shrum (2002) argues that, under certain conditions, messages processed heuristically can lead to a cultivation effect. If a message is processed heuristically and the examples seen in the media are retrieved from memory and seen as relevant or applicable to a situation, then a person can react or form a judgment based upon the media example (Shrum, 2002). Given that on a daily basis an individual makes many decisions and judgments

Authors: Wilkin, Holley. and Fernandes, Sangeeta.
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background image
EE theory,
8
and Rouner, these researchers propose that one of the steps toward effectiveness of an E-E
message begins with how the narrative message is processed. As illustrated by our model, the
most effective route to attitude and behavior change occurs when the message is being centrally
or systematically processed or absorbed.
Peripheral Route/Heuristic Processing
This is not to exclude the possibility of effects when a message is processed through the
peripheral route. The peripheral route to message processing is taken when a person is either
lacking the ability and/or motivation to elaborate on a message (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). In the
case of elaboration of entertainment messages, the person is essentially unable and/or
unmotivated to become absorbed in the storyline. For example, one is less able to pay attention
to a program in a noisy singles bar than if one were at home without distractions (Anderson &
Burns, 1991). One must be able to pay attention to the story or one will not become absorbed in
the plot. Absorption occurs when audiences engage with the narrative to the extent that they are
transported out of their current surroundings and vicariously experience what is happening to the
characters in the storyline (Slater & Rouner, 2002). Attitudes formed based on the peripheral or
heuristic processing of messages tend to be more susceptible to change, less persistent, and less
predictive of behavior (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). Thus, they are not ideal for the long-term
effects on behavior that E-E program designers hope to achieve.
However, Shrum (2002) argues that, under certain conditions, messages processed
heuristically can lead to a cultivation effect. If a message is processed heuristically and the
examples seen in the media are retrieved from memory and seen as relevant or applicable to a
situation, then a person can react or form a judgment based upon the media example (Shrum,
2002). Given that on a daily basis an individual makes many decisions and judgments


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