You Have the Piece To Understand It All

Nathan Friefeld
3 min readMay 27, 2022


Have you ever had a hard time paying attention in class or during a speech? Well, there may be an answer to that. Something that you may have not considered before and don’t even realize that you’re doing it.

It’s called the Elaboration Likelihood Model. “It seeks to explain how humans process stimuli differently and the outcomes of these processes on changing attitudes, and, consequently, behavior”. We are either processing information centrally or peripherally. In short, central is when you are focused whereas peripheral is like you are listening to background music.

Take this as an example. There is a speaker who is talking about accounting. I personally come from a creative and marketing background. Accounting does not interest me, nor do I find it important to me when listening to the speaker. Due to these circumstances, I would be processing this information peripherally. I’ll have a shallow processing and the outcome may create a temporary change.


Now, speaker number two is the CEO TikTok. This discussion goes into content creation and how to engage with your audience is. Now this is something that is of interest, relevant to me, and I’m in a good mood. Due to these characteristics, I will be paying attention to the speaker and processing each information with more precision and deeper meaning. My attitude would have a long-lasting impression and change. I am more likely to remember information and call upon speaker number two then speaker number one in this example.


Now if I wanted to craft a persuasive appeal, I want to know who my audience is and piques their interest. Based on this, I would create my message(s) or speech around those interests. The reason being is I at least have one characteristic that the audience member would find of interest in me. This has the potential for them to become more engaged and have a deeper processing of the information that I am providing. Thus, hoping to have a lasting change on that individual. I would also try to make my communication start no later than noon. The reason being is that I’m hoping the people who may not be morning people, are more alert and ready to process information. I know from personal experience that I am not a morning person. It takes me quite a few hours to mentally be able to process information correctly. When I was at Michigan State, I made sure not to take 8 AM classes knowing that I would struggle to focus. Most of my classes were in the afternoon or at night where I was in a better mood, and I was more alert.

What’s your conclusion of all of this? Did you realize that there was more to just being tired when it comes to paying attention? The next time you need to process information, remember this model and mark down how you feel and what appeals you to the speaker.