Guest Post – An Over-the-Top Explanation on the Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion

The following is a guest post by Washington Sean that takes us further down the road of managed persuasion towards emergence. Given the fraught nature of digital communications, this is an example of the best outcome – intentional, non-transactional collaboration where each person uses their gifts and unique perspective to bring more clarity to the whole. I’m very excited that Washington Sean has agreed to work with me to develop materials for a chat about what follows. Look for that in the next month or so. I’m very excited. 


An Over-the-Top Explanation on the Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion

Imagine the character of your work getting attacked, disparaged, or otherwise interrogated, and you, naturally seeking to defend yourself and clear your name, are subsequently tricked into providing the very thing that the attacker wanted in the first place, albeit you did not know what it was at first.  Such a hypothetical situation presents a paradox of epic proportions because, no matter what action we take, we are still subject to the provoked responses.  Should we do nothing, than we are subject to the false truths perpetuating lies about our character – (pre-bunking us for future dismissal down the line); or if our response is sincere and well-meaning, the outcome matters littles as it is the measure of what we do when we are provoked that is what is of the most value to the attacker(s) and the ant computer.  No response is still a quantifiable provoked response.

The more the pot can be stirred, the more comments that can be generated, the more amplification of insights and information that can be gleaned for the machine.  Furthermore, when we are forced to shift lanes into the ‘periphery’ and slow down, or someone cuts in front of us and puts on the brakes, we are defensively forced to corral our momentum and momentarily resonate with the obstruction in front of us. Say a solitary beetle is navigating the forest undergrowth carousing about the slime molds and fungi in search of gnats or other edibles, when suddenly the beetle is confronted with a militantly purposed line of ants on their way home to the colony, chanting and singing their songs of loyalty for their queen as they follow the scent trail back home; what then should the beetle do?  Turn around? Attempt to cross the line?  March with the ants?  What if the ants turn on the beetle and start to attack him? Well, I suppose it truly is a bug’s life then, isn’t it?  At least better to be a solitary bug than an ant.  But still, the bigger question looms: who is the kid with the magnifying glass that is watching, studying the outcome? Perhaps the ants were his initial focus, having baited them with the freeDom of an unearned meal, manipulating them the way the boy was predicting they would go, when along comes this bug. The child, holding the magnifying glass over the bug feels the sun on his back as he believes himself to have the God’s eye view, but really, he is just running a cruel experiment without consideration to the inherent rights of the beetle and the ants.

No doubt that various comment analysis tools are running on Substack in overdrive to help DARPA round out their accomplishments in the Machine Common Sense program where AI is being taught “to learn from reading the Web, like a research librarian, to construct a commonsense knowledge repository capable of answering natural language and image-based queries about commonsense phenomena. This service will mimic the general knowledge of an average American adult in 2018, as measured by the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) Common Sense benchmark tests.”

Alison, I didn’t have the guts to come to your defense (at least not this time – holy moly what a maelstrom over there!) but I tend to agree strongly with what Cliff wrote.  I think it is fair to assume that for every one ‘Cliff’ who wrote in your defense, there are at least ten others who share similar sentiments but fail to work up the gusto to join in the commentary, such as myself.   What course of action would I take if I was in your shoes?  I haven’t the slightest… but I do know that when your research is the subject of such interest, (to be targeted for pre-bunking by a presidential candidate), well it certainly verifies the level of substance and depth you present in your work and the catalyst that you can continue to be for those willing to pursue their own personalized, individually tailored, central route to critical thinking. 

With the emotional acknowledgement out of the way, now we can dial in on our true lesson of this flurry of exchanges.  What is this notion of ‘cognitive domain management’?  It did push me to perform a little precursory research (thank you Jason).  So, here we go. 


The Australian paper by Behavior Works that you cited on the Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion (ELM) was an important read.   This line in particular got me thinking about the early days of lockdowns, masks, social distancing, etc., when the authors writes: “a cue might involve an emotional state (e.g., “happiness”) that becomes associated with the message’s advocated position in a positive way, or a recipient might simply agree with a message without any careful consideration of the arguments on the basis that it is being delivered by a perceived expert on the matter (activating a mental shortcut based on “experts are generally correct”).

The ELM paper also disclosed that the models where “heavily influenced” by the earlier (1986) work of John T. Cacioppo and Richard E. Petty.   Cacioppo passed away in 2018 and Petty is still a Professor of Psychology at the University of Ohio.  Together, they developed the ELM of Persuasion. 

Petty’s Wikipedia listing stated that the ELM “model is used to understand prejudice, consumer choice, political and legal decisions, and health behaviors.”  Petty was a panelist on the National Science Foundations ‘Human Dimensions of Global Change’ which received its initial funding in 1989 and another, much larger grant in 1996.  In another search, Petty also popped up as an author in a 2022 paper put out by PNAS titled “Why are people anti-science and what we can do about it?  Even at this early point in my research, what was really supposed to be only a precursory look at ELM, it became glaringly obvious that this is another form of weaponized psychology.  But let’s keep digging, shall we?

To be honest, how the Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion could be further extrapolated and applied to many areas of social structure and systems got me in a tailspin. And how the ELM intersects with cognitive domain management was equally intriguing.  A word that came up in the Behavior Works paper was “persuasive” which I could not help but translate into my own personal nomenclature as a synonym of “provoked” (other synonyms like prodded, pushed, encouraged, etc. also came to mine with the word persuasive).  The persuasive argument is in a sense, a nudge, a push to encourage new thinking, be it encouragement purchase a product, go and get a health treatment or therapy, or subscribe to a political ideology.  As has become the case of many Substack writers and other content creators offering fee-based or subscription media services (podcasts, newsletters, blogs, etc.), once a person is a literal subscriber to that service, I would argue that there is a vested interest in continuing to consume what they see and hear (their ‘media diet) from a more peripheral view, and less than as a central route critical thinker, because why else would they pay or subscribe to that service if they didn’t already want to believe the content they expected in the first place?  There is also a higher likelihood that a subscriber to such a service then develops a brand loyalty and will defend the brand (sometimes vehemently) as they are in a sense, defending their choice as a consumer. 

This sort of behavior could be considered a self-prescribed dose of confirmation bias set to arrive in one’s inbox at fresh and frequent intervals.  And, along with a never-ending supply of personally curated content, a certain level of containment, or domain management, is achieved by the systems architects as the average consumers ‘media diet’ becomes further curated by algorithms.  The illusion of choice in our media diet has been thoroughly degraded by the consumers inability to recognize that we are increasingly not making our own selections and that we’ve been unknowingly conditioned to choose between a false set of limiting options.

The term ‘provoked action’ was a phrase that I personally focused on as I had studied that phrase in one of my advertising and design classes in community college.  This phrase is not to be confused with the equally disturbing phrase ‘evoked potential’ (a specific pattern recorded from a specific part of the nervous system, especially the brain, of a human or other animals following presentation of a stimulus such as a light flash or a pure tone) or its close companion the  ‘event-related potential’ (a measured brain response that is the direct result of a specific sensory, cognitive, or motor event).  Both EP and EVP are important to keep in mind though, as we investigate provoked actions. EP and EVP are increasingly presenting as a type of directed energy technology that could be combined with enhancing or outright stimulating provoked actions in a world that is increasingly becoming covered with sensors and actuators and rapidly headed towards full blown holographs, optogenetics, Li-Fi and pulsed modulation, all of which are designed to effect cognitive processing on multiple fronts.  But I am getting distracted.  Regardless of why that term came to mind, I started doing some searches and I put in with quotes “provoked action meaning in psychology.” Nothing hit directly but Wikipedia’s listing for  Cognitive Dissonance was fifth down the line, which states: “when two actions or ideas are not psychologically consistent with each other, people do all in their power to change them until they become consistent. The discomfort is triggered by the person’s belief clashing with new information perceived, wherein the individual tries to find a way to resolve the contradiction to reduce their discomfort.”

Cacioppo’s Wikipedia page offered some additional insights about his career, stating that Petty and Cacioppo were “friendly intellectual rivals” and eventually they became best friends and roommates.  “The elaboration likelihood model emerged in part because Petty speculated that listening to strong arguments like Cacioppo’s were more likely to result in durable attitude change.” 

A decade after they developed the ELM, Petty worked with another psychologist, Gary Bernston and together they co-founded the field of social neuroscience, which can be defined as “an interdisciplinary field devoted to understanding the relationship between social experiences and biological systems” [emphasis added].  Wikipedia also stated that “social neuroscience is closely related to affective neuroscience and cognitive neuroscience, focusing on how the brain mediates social interactions. The biological underpinnings of social cognition are investigated in social cognitive neuroscience.” 

The collaboration between Cacioppo and Bernston led Cacioppo to begin “examining how personal relationships get under the skin to affect social cognition and emotions, personality processes, biology, and health.”  Cacioppo found that “by employing brain scans, monitoring of autonomic and neuroendocrine processes, and assays of immune function…the overpowering influence of social context [was] a factor so strong that it can alter genetic expression in white blood cells” [emphasis added].  In fact, Cacioppo demonstrated in his research “how the subjective sense of social isolation (loneliness) uniquely disrupts our perceptions, behavior, and physiology, becoming a trap that not only reinforces isolation, but can also lead to early death.” In 2004, he began to work on a book with William Patrick.  Published in 2008, their book is called Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, “which makes the case that social cooperation is, in fact, humanity’s defining characteristic.”

With these revelations serving as our framework, deducing the need for wide scale applications of cognitive domain management is surely interrelated as it pertains to the containment methods and broader strategy at work as many forces are invested in “persuading global change” (i.e.UN SDG’s, ESG’s, etc.).  As I am always anxious to find homes for more puzzle pieces, I went back to the search bar and entered “cognitive domain management.” It was good to see Wrench In the Gears blog posts at the top of my search results, but having already read those, what I was interested in was further down.  The Encyclopedia of Wireless and Mobile Communications published a paper from 2012 that was decidedly more ‘tech focused’ with Cognitive Next Generation Service Delivery Platforms (CNGSDPs) as the paper’s focus.  How might a technologically focused cognitive control/steering method be re-tooled or adjusted so it could be applied to human resources instead of computer software and network hardware? 

Not much further down I found a 2015 paper written by Alfonso Montuori that was published on the website called Systemics which is the personal website of Umberta Telfener.  The logo for her website is the ouroboros and, Telfener, according to her LinkedIn is currently president of the European Family Therapy Association (no small feat!).  And while she is based in Italy (Catholic connections and influences perhaps?), she can trace her roots and early education back to the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic, now known as the ‘Child Guidance Resource Center’ or ‘CGRC’.  Telfener, who practices what she calls ‘Systemic Epistemology’ identifies her “systemic guardian angel” as Heinz von Foerster.  Foerster’s opening paragraph on his Wiki bio states that he “was an Austrian American scientist combining physics and philosophy, and widely attributed as the originator of Second-order cybernetics. He was twice a Guggenheim fellow (1956–57 and 1963–64) and also was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1980. He is well known for his 1960 Doomsday equation formula published in Science predicting future population growth” [emphasis added]. 

Foerster, an Austrian of Jewish ancestry, hid his faith and worked in radar laboratories in Nazi Germany as his employer conveniently did not push him for documents on his family.  In 1949, Foerster emigrated to the US and began work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  In 1958, he founded the Biological Computer Laboratory (BCL).  “The focus of research at BCL was systems theory and specifically the area of self-organizing systems, bionics, and bio-inspired computing; that is, analyzing, formalizing, and implementing biological processes using computers. BCL was inspired by the ideas of Warren McCulloch and the Macy Conferences, as well as many other thinkers in the field of cybernetics.”  No surprise that the BCL was financed by grants, some of which came from the USAF and USN, and the remainder which was made up by “non-military donors” such as the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, NIH, NSF, NASA, and the Electronics Research Center, to name but a few.  A notable event in Foerster and Telfener’s career was the ‘Cybernetics of Cognition’ conference held at the Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, NH in 1986.  The conference was put on by the Gordon Research Conferences group and funded by the Office of Naval Research.  The twenty-five-page document titled The Cybernetics of Cognition was declassified for public viewing and is similarly worthy of deeper scrutiny at a later time.

Telfener stated that she met Foerster at the “very important conference organized by Mauro Ceruti and Gianluca Bocchi” called ‘Beyond Complexity’ (1980), “where all the thinkers on complexity were invited for the first time in Italy” [emphasis added]. Under the ‘About’ tab on her webpage, Telfener offers a full-length tribute to many additional influencers and colleagues that have helped her in her career, which is worth the read but there are far too many to mention here. However, Foerster is important as she stated he is one of the leading influences “behind” her website, her guiding force, her “mentor and dear friend.”

The hit in my search results leading back to the Montuori article on Telfener’s website was titled “Gregory Bateson and the Promise of Transdisciplinarity” published in Volume 12, Nos1-2 of the journal Cybernetics and Human Knowing.  Bateson, I learned, was quite an influential character.  And not unlike Heinz von Foerster, Bateson is equally worthy of further investigation another time.  But, to pique your interest, note that he was a lifelong atheist and married to the infamous Margaret Mead for fourteen years, from 1936-1950.  His life’s work and research spanned many areas including cultural anthropology, social sciences, linguistics, visual anthropology, semiotics, and cybernetics.  In his paper, Montuori makes a case that the transdisciplinary approach embraced by Bateson far eclipsed the more traditional definition of mere ‘inter-disciplinary’, and he stated that “transdisciplinarity demands an ongoing process of self-and-other­ inquiry, inasmuch as the assumption is not that we are ‘discovering’ ‘facts’ about a world ‘out there’, but rather that there is an ongoing inter-subjective co-evolutionary process of construction. Learning is not the acquisition of ‘things’, but an ongoing process of self-eco-re-organization” [emphasis added].  Montuori further interpreted Bateson’s ideology to mean that “when we draw on different disciplines, these disciplines, sub-disciplines and approaches often reflect very different paradigmatic assumptions. In disciplinary approaches, the underlying assumptions remain fundamentally unquestioned, and the same is true for interdisciplinary approaches.” 

The crux of what Montuori was getting at is that conventional interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving and strategy, although they can be effective, cannot not go far enough into the creative realms and higher orders of thought organization to solve the issue or provide an effective solution for the largest and most complex problems looming over society.  Thus, in order to better organize knowledge which can be crafted and set into a management system, transdisciplinary approaches must take a “meta-paradigmatic approach.”  Montuori stated that “transdisciplinary inquirers should be able to understand not only the content of various disciplinary approaches to issues, but their underlying assumptions or paradigms, and how those paradigms shape the inquiry. This process would also, of course, put into question the inquirer’s own paradigmatic assumptions, and offer an opportunity to question and explore one’s own assumptions.”

Transdisciplinary thought, then, could be seen as an antithesis of sorts to ‘peripheral thinking’.  Peripheral thinking, as it was identified in the Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion, is lower order thinking versus that of central route thinking, and peripheral processes by their very nature loop back in on themselves (think ‘comment post + reply + emotional response + comment post ad infinitum).  Peripheral responses to persuasive actions can be “described as a ‘hollow victory’, as the elaboration short-cuts that are taken to create these attitudes mean that they tend to be less enduring, are vulnerable to counter arguments, and are less likely to lead to attitude-consistent behavior.”  Therefore, in order to keep people from intuitively following the central route (or being encouraged by others such as friends and family to follow the central route), cognitive domain management emerges as another architecture that allows for control and steering of the individual and group cognition to a pre-strategized outcome.

In 1948, a meeting of university educators got together and “brainstormed a theoretical model of learning that identified education objectives to aid in the creation of testing items.” The event was chaired by Benjamin Bloom who later edited The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals (1956).  Blooms Taxonomy of Education Objectives known simply as ‘Blooms Taxonomy’, “is a hierarchical model used for classifying learning objectives by levels of complexity and specificity.”  The three domains created in the initial framework at the 1948 meeting were Cognitive (knowledge or thinking), Affective (growth in feelings or emotional areas) and Psychomotor (manual or physical skills).  While all three domains inspire curiosity, for our essay today we will focus specifically on the cognitive domain as it pertains to our broader discussion on cognitive domain management systems, elaboration likelihood models of persuasion and provoked actions.

According to a 2023 article on the University of Chicago’s CATE website (Center for the Advancement of Teaching Excellence), “the cognitive domain has been the primary focus in education and has become shorthand for Bloom’s Taxonomy as a result. The cognitive domain is made up of six levels of objectives. These levels are organized by hierarchy, moving from foundational skills to higher-order thinking skills.”  In 2001, educational researchers Anderson and Krathwohl “revised Bloom’s levels from nouns to verbs, and this is the version of the taxonomy used today.”  The six hierarchical cognitive domain levels are, from bottom to top: Remember, Evaluate, Analyze, Apply, Understand, Create

Anderson and Krathwohl also added the ‘knowledge dimension’ to the cognitive domain, which features four dimensions and those are: factual knowledge, conceptual knowledge, procedural knowledge and metacognitive knowledge (relation of how learning works in relation to one’s own cognition).  The ‘knowledge dimension’ when combined with the ‘cognitive process dimension’ built an entirely new two-dimensional taxonomy model that is used today.  The University of Chicago’s CATE website provided a host of additional resources for educators of all levels to help craft their curriculum using Bloom’s taxonomy and aid in the achievement of predetermined Learning Objectives.  A simple three step process was outlined:

  1. Select the learning domain
  2. Determine the complexity level
  3. Select an action verb that is aligned to the domain level that you want students to demonstrate

Transdisciplinary thought and practices, when utilized or coordinated within a group of people who are capable, enabled and comfortable enough to experiment with the ‘central route thinking’ to conceptualize and then build ELM persuasion models (unimpeded thought + individual creativity + unlimited funding) can be a powerful tool to reimagine new systems and develop more effective ways to “persuade global change” (aka ‘World Building’). 

Similarly, transdisciplinary thought that comes about spontaneously, say amongst a group of relative strangers who are willing to engage in open forums, such as what occurs on what I consider to be the top quality blogs and YouTube channels (my own personal ‘media diet’), well, those forums can be an equally powerful force to incubate new thought models and possible even persuade (or dissuade) the current trajectory for global systems development.  For obvious reasons such spontaneous transdisciplinary thought exchanges that arise outside controlled systems have typically been loathed by those in favor of more systemic, hierarchical, and anticipated outcomes. 

And so, for those that for one reason or another cannot stay in the perpetually peripheral ‘slow lane’ of Substack comment wars (aka the digital sandbox) and/or other social media entrapments, for those that refuse to get onto the expressway or toll roads altogether (metaphorically speaking), cognitive domain management could be viewed as an effective tool, or methodology, of controlling those that inherently do not like to be controlled.  Cognitive domain management could even be envisioned as a strategically designed ‘pattern interrupt’ programmed to weaken and distract us, or persuade us from the central route that was leading us towards creating and working against what we do not want, and what is being forced onto us.  Cognitive domain management, if thoroughly implemented across broad sectors of society, would be a highly effective approach to curtailing what appears to be an ever-diminishing number of central route thinkers predisposed to asking questions, revoking consent, and occasionally verifying the integrity of ‘commissioned’ journalists.

As we study the ant computer as it is being assembled (the ‘global brain’ if you want to call it that), it is imperative that we recognize that in this new system, we are all being envisioned as “lifelong learners.” Hence the tremendous workload of potential learning outcomes when managing a large population of lifelong learners, like an entire country, would be greatly reduced through new advancements in technology and new systems of social organization.  And while we may not recognize it as we are participating in the drab day to day routine, we are all most certainly being targeted (collectively and individually) with new learning objectives.  And so, we may have long since graduated from the grounds of a university or trade school, perhaps maintaining our credentials through continuing education programs, we are simultaneously and unknowingly also surrounded by learning organizations which are crafting and steering our social structures and communities from the shadows.  Let’s be honest here folks.  Not all Learning Organizations are military think tanks, but all military think tanks are Learning Organizations.  Most of these largely obscured learning organizations have grown out of committees and think tanks that were seeded with government or military monies in one way or another, which, at least in this essay, has only been demonstrated in a couple specific examples.   But consider the words of Umberta Telfener in her 2019 article published in the journal Cybernetics and Systems when she writes:

 The push towards a more shared way of managing organizational systems is more and more felt as important and I personally consider the Learning Organization (L.O.) the metaphor that most underlines the co-construction of a cybernetic brain.

Whether the L.O. would be hierarchical (vertical) or heterarchical (horizontal) was a critical point in her paper and she emphasized “to decide if an Organization works horizontally or vertically is not a decision an outsider can take arbitrarily.  The observer can only see what she sees…” and will only have access to the one truth, or the limited information that is in front of her at the time.  She continued, stating:

The type of structure an organization has is decided by leaders of that specific system: if she defines herself part or apart from the organization. The epistemological choice defines the type of manager a person will be and the type of organizational world that will emerge from her arbitrary choices and from the mandate a manager has received.

 And in her conclusion:

Every organization is a human community created together that becomes organized by itself, by laws and processes that are no longer under the domain of single individuals. Wholes and parts are interrelated and when trust organizes the flux of actions and practices the organization will adapt to a generative process which will be coherent with the individuals that live within it.

Now, returning to Bloom’s six hierarchical cognitive domain levels (Remember, Evaluate, Analyze, Apply, Understand, Create), and the four knowledge dimensions added (Factual, Conceptual, Procedural, Metacognitive) in the 2001 revision to the cognitive domain, we might apply these traits on the simple level of the individual participating in a basic lesson plan or specific learning objective (such as continuing education or retooling the workforce, etc.).  But on a much broader level, we might also apply the cognitive domain levels to the thought processes of larger groups or entire communities, and even globally influencing institutions or organizations.  Organizations, such as the United Nations (hate to pick on the UN but hey, they make themselves an easy target) could be considered a massive Learning Organization.  The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals could be viewed as the ‘learning objectives’.  The curriculum is then taught to the students (citizens) through Elaboration Likelihood Models of Persuasion.  Students who do not follow the curriculum are subject to discipline (cognitive domain ‘management’).  Conveniently, the 17 SDG’s are also thoroughly coded with various ‘action verbs’ which can provoke actions and help students hone in on the steps they should be following in order to complete the lesson plan.  Disseminating the desired learning outcomes (the SDGs) simultaneously through various vertical (corporations, NGO’s, governments, etc.) and horizontal (consumer behaviors, new appliances, recycling, dietary changes) lesson plans can help reinforce the acceptance of the new systems whether we are more prone to peripheral thinking or central route thinking.  Reacting negatively to the subject matter being taught is equally accounted for.  In a classroom setting, any disruptive behavior, including overly curious behavior and any questioning or interrogation of the lesson plans objectivity, is subject to further discipline.  If the student continues with unruly behavior that eclipses the authority of the classroom, the student may be written up and face suspension, or in extreme cases, expulsion from the school entirely.  The sandbox, unfortunately, is only where we spend our time when we are on recess. But when the Bell rings loudly over the school yard, the sound of domination is heard loud and clear; free time is over, and it is back to our respective classrooms we go.

As central route thinkers, the ability to process the potential implications (further colonial expansion through a web3.0 blockchained humanity, increased disparity between developed and third world economies, impacts of space warfare on the environment, etc.) of the new systems that we are being persuaded to accept is not as affected by the mundane distractions as those who are caught in the peripheral loop.  But even if our aim is to maintain the central route as much as possible, to take the high road and embrace the burden of integrity, who among us has not also been tricked, bamboozled, or persuaded into actions that we are less than proud of?  Who among us has not been thrown abruptly askew when we are unexpectedly provoked?   Our pride bruises easily and our emotional well becomes quickly depleted.  In such weakened states is when we might be more prone to “unfavorable thoughts” in response to the new curriculum and the new subject matter being presented by the various learning organizations.  The unfavorable thoughts can result in a change in our individual cognitive structure, and possibly even, what was called a “central negative attitude change” in the ELM paper by Behavior Works.  Now, I don’t know about you, but a ‘central negative attitude change’ just about perfectly sums up how I feel after spending just a little time to investigate Robert F Kennedy’s involvement with Vantage Point Capital. But again, I digress.

So how then, might a global Learning Organization, such as the UN, develop a detailed (and flexible) programming curriculum, like the SDG’s?  Well, through strategically coordinated and well-organized transdisciplinary conferences, focus groups, and think tanks would be a good place to start.  Getting the largest corporations and NGO’s to embrace and endorse the new curriculum also helps ‘grease the wheels’ as a few more cogs are added to the machine.  And tapping into the left-brain creativity while fostering a ‘holistic approach’ would be another potential pathway to maximizing the learning outcomes across the broadest number of students possible, a topic that I certainly intend to investigate in more detail further down the road. 

At the onset of this essay, I started out predominantly looking to investigate how cognitive domain management systems and the ELM of Persuasion could be deployed against divergent central route thinkers.  There was significant evidence to warrant such a case, such as how Substack was “rapidly expanding” its financial backing of newly independent writers” in 2021.  And even some novelists were getting in on the action at Substack, one notable author calling it “my own little fiefdom.”  I intended to look at how such adjustments to the decaying notion of journalistic integrity could incentivize ‘commissioned journalists’ with a history of ‘work-for-hire production pieces’ on their resume to be further utilized as a dual-use conduit, bolstering the ant computer by harnessing various language sets from the emotionally charged comments section of their articles while simultaneously pre-bunking one of the internet’s premiere researchers on all things fourth industrial revolution.  Was this all done to aid a less-than-better presidential candidate?  I’m not sure it matters anymore.  I also intended to share my own personal story of how, in January of 2022, I discovered how some playwrights and political satirists on Substack are engaged in “information sharing” agreements with much larger media voices, such as one of the United States most downloaded podcasts and radio voices (according to TalkStream Live) and how what I thought at first was a discovery of plagiarism was really just a back door paid service between a content creator and a media personality desperately trying to stay relevant and in demand without doing the hard work.  I initially wanted to prove how some writers and alternate media personalities are knowingly (and unknowingly) participating in much, much, larger content creation and content distribution schemes.  And I was even going to hint at how some of the content creators could be functioning with a higher purpose or hidden agenda and acting as cognitive domain management systems agents. That was what I initially was going to focus on.  But after reading the paper on Bateson and the “promise of transdisciplinarity” I realized my gaze needed to be cast elsewhere.  Instead of the obvious fact that cognitive domain management is being deployed against divergent central route thoughts and thinkers, I realized how such approaches to learning are equally being utilized in favor of brainstorming and fostering the Creation level thought processes that are giving birth to all these systems we are so caught up in dissecting and resisting in the first place.


In the course of reading the blog posts over the last few days and wading into some of the comments (only up to my knees), I kept having this story pop into my mind as a metaphor to the entire situation.  I offer it in sincerity and hope the deeper meaning is well received. Blessings to the true humans as we embrace the magic and the mystery of all the phenomena that they still haven’t come up with names for yet. 

Coyote and the Another One

A Chippewa Legend

Two Coyotes were crossing a farmers field.  Both Coyotes were strangers to each other for they had never met.  Just as they were about to introduce themselves they heard the farmer yell, “There’s a Coyote in the field!”  The first Coyote turned to the other and told him to run!  They both started to run for the trees when the heard the farmer yell, “And there goes another one!”  Finally both Coyotes made it to the cover of the trees and they started to introduce themselves.  “I never saw you before, I am Wanderer, I am a Coyote like you.”  The other Coyote looked at him oddly and said, “I am Sleek, but I am not a Coyote like you.”

“Yes you are,” said Wanderer.

“Oh no I am not,” replied Sleek.

“Look my friend, you are confused.  You have ears like mine, you have a tail like mine, our fur is the same, our snouts are the same, everything is the same, you are just like me and we are both Coyotes,” Wanderer tried to explain.  “Listen let’s run across the field again and you will see,” challenged Sleek.  So off they ran.  First went Wanderer and again the Farmer yelled, “There goes that darn Coyote.”  Then Sleek took afoot and the Farmer yelled, “And there goes another one… again!”

When the two Coyotes reached the other side of the field they ducked into the woods.  Wanderer turned to sleek and said, “There Didn’t you hear the Farmer?  He called us both Coyotes.”  Sleek looked disappointed with his new confused friend and said, “Yes I heard the Farmer.  He called you a Coyote, but I am an ‘Another One’.”

Our problem is, we are listening to the Farmers tell us who we are.  Something to talk about.


Written by Washington Sean



7 thoughts on “Guest Post – An Over-the-Top Explanation on the Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion

  1. kocotube01 začasni says:

    On the BehaviourWorks Australia (BWA) site there is this book, titled … cue Roman war trumpets paparampaaaam … “The Method Book”:
    My god, not the method book!?
    Yes! The method book.

    From Systems thinking, through Stakeholder consultations about Influences on behaviors, to Developing and scaling up Interventions.

    • kocotube01 začasni says:

      Just going through the graphics at the beginning of each chapter of the book speaks volumes. Blimey.

  2. washington sean says:

    The Method Book. Great.

    Somehow I think my local refuse company has incorporated The Method Book into their accelerating systems overhaul. While I wish not to disparage the comments with ‘trash talking’, it is relevant to note that only a short time ago trash day around my home meant merely setting out our 32 gallon, self provided, round, rubbermaid trashcans. And, every other week, the larger wheeled recycle cart, provided by the refuse company. Now, as of the beginning of 2023, we have received new trashcans, and while technically they are same volume, they are not round, but square, a shape I was told that it is not advisable to ‘smash the trash down’ into. We have also been instructed new metrics on how far apart the cans should be from one another, how dirt from the vacuum should be bagged, and a general uptick in written citations warning of new practices and sorting methods. Of course, the bar that aids the hydraulics on the automated dumping arm on the truck is an important consideration as well as an automated dumping mechanism will surely reduce workplace injuries. But how will the humans feel as they are increasingly obsolete when the new sensors and actuators are incorporated into the process? Will these trucks always be driven by humans? Fortunately, it has been almost FIVE MONTHS since the systems overhaul began and the outrage and grumbling over implementation has largely susided.

    The Method Book. Sheesh.

    From page 153 of my precursory scan of the Method Book:

    “When considering and articulating success measures, it is important to identify and consider the needs of different program stakeholders in defining success, including during implementation. Evaluator Jess Dart sometimes refers to the tension between ‘Evaluation for us, versus evaluation for them’ – highlighting that the needs and interests of program deliverers, their bosses, program beneficiaries/end users, and program funders can all be different. For instance: i) the program team might want a safe space to implement the program, generate feedback, innovate, or reflect on nutting out a difficult challenge; ii) their bosses might want popular programs that run smoothly; iii) the end users might want effective tools that make a positive difference to experienced problems, and quickly; and iv) the funders might want accountability and fidelity to the originally funded activity, towards a grand but distant goal.”

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