THE EFFECTIVENESS OF PERSUASIVE APPEALS AFTER PRIMING FAITH AND TRUST IN GOD
Priming faith and trust in God was expected to increase the effectiveness of a subsequent persuasive message on Christian participants. Argument quality was manipulated and message-relevant thoughts were evaluated in order to determine if persuasion occurred via the central or peripheral route. Message relevance was also manipulated. It was hypothesized that when relevance was low, faith would act as a cue leading to greater persuasion for those primed, regardless of argument quality, and when relevance was high, that participants would have more favorable thoughts about and be more persuaded by strong compared to weak arguments. I expected that this general effect of argument quality would be somewhat attenuated in the high relevance group for those primed with faith because faith would serve multiple roles and would simultaneously act as a cue to think less. The religious prime would also bias the thoughts that did occur, leading to more favorable thoughts and attitudes in this condition. Most of the predicted effects did not emerge; however, I did find an argument quality main effect on attitudes and thoughts, and I also found that people who are less trusting of others exhibited more persuasion after receiving a faith/trust prime, as opposed to a neutral prime. Possible theories regarding why predicted results were not obtained, and avenues for further research are discussed.