Fear appeals, message processing cues, and credibility in the websites of violent, ideological, and nonideological groups

Norah E. Dunbar, Shane Connelly, Matthew L. Jensen, Bradley Adame, Bobby Rozzell, Jennifer A. Griffith, H. Dan O'Hair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ideological groups use the Internet to deliver their messages unhindered by the constraints of traditional media. We examined how ideological groups promote their worldview through their websites. Using the elaboration likelihood model (ELM), this research used trained coders to examine the websites of nonideological groups (n = 37), nonviolent ideological groups (n = 36), and violent ideological groups (n = 32) for credibility, persuasion processing cues, and interactivity factors. Results of this study found that the websites of violent ideological groups use more fear appeals, were less interactive, and were the least credible of the 3 groups. All 3 groups used more central cues than peripheral suggesting they focused on evidence for their arguments rather than emotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)871-889
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2014

Keywords

  • Credibility
  • Group Dynamics
  • Ideology
  • Internet
  • Persuasion
  • Violence
  • Websites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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