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Psychol Bull. 2004 Jan;130(1):143-72.

The sleeper effect in persuasion: a meta-analytic review.

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Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-2250, USA.


A meta-analysis of the available judgment and memory data on the sleeper effect in persuasion is presented. According to this effect, when people receive a communication associated with a discounting cue, such as a noncredible source, they are less persuaded immediately after exposure than they are later in time. Findings from this meta-analysis indicate that recipients of discounting cues were more persuaded over time when the message arguments and the cue had a strong initial impact. In addition, the increase in persuasion was stronger when recipients of discounting cues had higher ability or motivation to think about the message and received the discounting cue after the message. These results are discussed in light of classic and contemporary models of attitudes and persuasion.

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