Procedural arguments of persuasive games: An elaboration likelihood perspective

Ruud S. Jacobs*, Stefan Werning, Jeroen Jansz, Julia Kneer

*Corresponding author for this work

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Studies into the effects of persuasive games - games designed to change players' attitudes - have not yet yielded insight into the psychological processes involved in persuasion through procedural rhetoric. As a type of nonverbal argument embedded in game systems, it is an open question whether procedural rhetoric leads players to elaborate on a message in the same way as traditionally delivered arguments do. The current study tested 241 participants in a 2 (rhetoric strength) × 2 (level of cognitive load) between-subjects experiment, using game stimuli generated through analytical game design. Results indicate that procedural rhetoric strength meaningfully added to persuasive effects. Participants in high-cognitive-load conditions were not driven to process the games' message differently. We outline the empirical process required to further investigate effects of procedural rhetoric on elaboration, and conclude how the current study contributes to conceptions of arguments borne out through gameplay.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-59
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Media Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date4 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021


  • Attitudes
  • Effects
  • Elaboration
  • Persuasive games
  • Procedural rhetoric
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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