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Credibility of Content

Donna Rouner


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Credibility of messages, studied in the communication, psychology, sociology, political science, and other literatures, is generally defined as a collection of attributes of messages that make the message content or their senders valued relative to the information imparted. The attributes generally refer to either the sources of the messages’ content or the authenticity of their meaning. Perceived source or message credibility, then, is generally defined as a message recipient's recognition and holding of evaluative information about these messages and their sources (→  Exposure to Communication Content ). Perhaps the most noticeable characteristic of information credibility is its source – the individual who reported it, wrote it, or was quoted in messages. This human voice of messages is one of the most studied concepts in communication research. In addition, the institutions associated with the human sources, whether government agencies, private, or not-for-profit, have been found critical in determining credibility, as have the media organizations that bring the information to the message receivers – mass media →  news , →  advertising , entertainment, and sports, in particular ( Berlo et al. 1969 ; Singletary 1976 ). Historically, credibility has been researched almost exclusively in →  Persuasion , which generally studies whether messages or speakers can change people's beliefs, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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