Source Credibility In Aristotle's The Rhetoric

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Source credibility is a term that is often used to describe a communicator’s positive or negative characteristics that influences a receiver’s acceptance or rejection of a message. The concept of source credibility was developed by Aristotle in a text of his works, called The Rhetoric, and from the book, it became evident that Aristotle divided the means of persuasion into three categories: ethos, logos and pathos (Griffin, 1967). The beginning of the 20th century sparked interest in academic studies and in particular during World War II when propaganda was used to influence public opinion in support of the war (Hovland, 1952). By way of definition, source credibility can be seen as a situation where message believability is dependent on the…show more content…
Hovland’s studies compared credible and non-credible sources using various models of persuasive messages to test if the sources seen as credible caused opinion changes in the message receivers more than the non-credible sources (Hovland, 1952). Hovland designed his experimental studies by presenting identical communication to two groups. One group was presented as trustworthy, and the other group was presented with a less trustworthy source. The source presented topics of current interest to the individuals, and even though some sources were presented as trustworthy and others were presented as untrustworthy some of the information given was inaccurate or false. Questionnaires were then administrated, and data was collected on how well the participant trusted the source and if their opinion changed. The study confirmed the assumption that credible sources tend to create the desired impact on the audience. According to Hovland, people are more likely persuaded when the source presents itself as credible (Hovland,
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