Sleeper Effect

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Description of Sleeper Effect. Explanation.


Sleeper Effect

Definition Sleeper Effect. Description.

The Sleeper Effect is a persuasion technique based on the phenomenon that when people are exposed to a persuasive message followed by a discounting cue (e.g., a message disclaimer, a low-credibility source), people tend to be more persuaded over time.


The Sleeper Effect has been researched first by Carl I. Hovland, Arthur A. Lumsdaine and Fred D. Sheffield in 1949, and was revised by Stiff in 1994. Contrary to general Principles of Persuasion, the Sleeper Effect states that messages from low-credibility sources or with a message disclaimer at the end might be more persuasive if certain conditions are met. See also more about: Persuasion Theory. If a message dissociates from its source, it might become more credible and thus more persuasive.

A communicator can exploit the sleeper effect by focusing on the message instead of on the source. When a message is able to get through then the source is often forgot.

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Compare with: Bait and Switch  |  Persuasion Techniques  |  Door in the Face  |  Foot in the Door  |  4 Ps of Persuasion  |  Mirroring and Matching  |  Validity Effect  |  Low Ball Technique  |  Forced Compliance  |  Framing  |  Balance Theory  |  Cognitive Dissonance

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