Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Communication and Information Studies



First Advisor

Dr. Marko Dragojevic

Second Advisor

Dr. Bobi Ivanov


For decades, persuasion researchers have demonstrated that under certain conditions, the success of a persuasive appeal depends, at least in part, on perceptions of a source (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986; Wilson & Sherrell, 1993). In the same way, a person’s linguistic style, such as their accent, has been shown to have a powerful impact on listeners’ judgments (Dragojevic et al., 2018). However, despite many real-world persuasive settings requiring an oral component, the impact of a source’s accent on persuasion outcomes has received comparatively little empirical attention (Hosman, 2002). Moreover, few of the existing investigations use well-established theories of persuasion to guide findings or address the conditions under which source accent does and does not impact persuasion (for exceptions, see Lalwani, Lwin, & Li, 2005; Morales, Scott, Yorkston, 2012). Accordingly, this dissertation applied the Elaboration Likelihood Model as a theoretical framework to understand the fundamental processes involved in the interplays of source accent, argument quality, and issue involvement on persuasive outcomes. An experiment implementing the matched-guise technique was conducted to examine the effects of source accent and argument quality on persuasion under low and high involvement conditions. During the experiment, student participants (N = 347) listened to a persuasive message advocating for implementing comprehensive exams at their university the following year (high involvement condition) or in 10 years (low involvement condition). The message contained either strong or weak arguments and was delivered either by a native or foreign-accented source. Compared to the native-accented source, the foreign-accented source was more likely to be categorized as foreign, reduced listeners’ processing fluency, and was less persuasive. In addition, participants were more persuaded when the message contained strong rather than weak arguments, and when participants had low rather than high involvement. Contrary to expectations, the effects of source accent on persuasion were not moderated by participants’ level of involvement. Taken together, results suggest that source accent can influence persuasion regardless of listeners’ level of elaboration. Theoretical and practical implications related to persuasive communication are discussed.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)