Van der Goot, M.J., Bol, N., & Van Weert, J.C.M. (2019). Translating socioemotional selectivity theory into persuasive communication: Conceptualizing and operationalizing emotionally-meaningful versus knowledge-related appeals. International Journal of Communication, 13, 1416-1437.

Socioemotional selectivity theory (SST) warrants the strong prediction that older adults
respond more favorably to emotionally-meaningful versus knowledge-related appeals in
persuasive messages, whereas younger adults lack this bias. However, potentially due to
multivocality in conceptualizations and operationalizations of these appeals, previous
studies found no uniform support for these age differences. Consequently, this article
aims to provide a conceptualization and operationalization of emotionally-meaningful
versus knowledge-related appeals that can be used in future research. The study
consists of a conceptualization phase (literature review; expert meetings) and an
operationalization phase (content analysis of persuasive messages). We developed a
theoretically valid and reliable coding instrument, outlining three dimensions of
emotionally-meaningful appeals (emotion regulation, optimizing the present, close social
relationships) and three dimensions of knowledge-related appeals (knowledge
acquisition, optimizing the future, novel social relationships). This instrument is intended
to guide the selection and design of persuasive messages in effect studies that aim to
test hypotheses derived from SST.

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