Sleeper Effect

Posted in Marketing and Strategy Terms, Total Reads: 1641

Definition: Sleeper Effect

This effect was discovered by Hovland and colleagues. As opposed to the normal persuasive effect where persuasion decreases with time, some messages with low credibility source increase the persuasiveness with time. This increase in persuasive effect of a message as more tie passes is known as sleeper effect.

This can happen under following conditions-

• With a big initial impact – If the initial impact of a message is major, which could get our mind’s attention and then stays in the mid until it reemerges with a more powerful impact.

• With a discounting cue – A message from a low credibility source for example media (which is not trusted) leaves an impact that the message is not trustworthy. Now when the measseg starts spreading out and is not associated with a discredited source, persuasion works because we process the persuasive message thoroughly therefore we tend to remember it but we do not remember the source


Undecided voters might see negative publicity of a political party during election days. At the end, they might also realize that it was being funded by opposing candidate. Presumably, this could encourage voters to question the credibility initially, but they tend to be persuaded later and ultimately vote against the candidate.


Hence, this concludes the definition of Sleeper Effect along with its overview.

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