It has been argued that the accessibility of persuasion motives elicits distrust in a communicator’s underlying motives and leads to decreased persuasion success. However, this research highlights the fact that salient and positive communicator characteristics (here physical attractiveness) can temper consumers’ attributions of selfish motives and lead to increased behavioral compliance when recipients are faced with direct persuasive appeals to get them to do something. This experiment demonstrates that recipients were more likely to comply with an attractive communicator’s recommendation when she was forthright about her desire to change recipients’ behavior than when she was not. The reverse was true for an unattractive communicator, a finding which indicates that the salience of persuasion motives is likely to become a liability when positive peripheral cues are absent. These effects on recipients’ behavioral compliance were found to be mediated by the degree of selfish motives attributed to the communicator.
Source: “Compliance through direct persuasive appeals: The moderating role of communicator’s attractiveness in interpersonal persuasion” from Social Influence, Volume 3, Issue 2 June 2008 , pages 67 – 83
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