The convert as a credible communicator

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John M. Levine
Ronald Valle
Cite this article:  Levine, J., & Valle, R. (1975). The convert as a credible communicator. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 3(1), 81-90.


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In this study we investigated reactions to an antialcohol communication delivered by convert and nonconvert communicators. In 4 convert conditions the communicator was presented as a former alcoholic. The convert’s communication was either personal (first-person pronouns) or impersonal (third-person pronouns). Compared with participants’ current alcohol consumption, the convert’s consumption at a comparable time in life had been either similar or extreme. In a control condition (no convert impersonal), a life-long teetotaler presented a message identical with that given in the impersonal convert conditions. Overall evaluations of the communicator and communication, as well as ratings of message persuasiveness, were significantly more favorable in all 4 convert conditions than in the no convert impersonal condition. Within the convert conditions, ratings consistently were more favorable in the personal than in the impersonal, and in the extreme than in the similar, conditions. Several additional variables which may importantly affect convert communicator credibility were discussed.

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