Abstract : In a pragmatic view of media communication, we present a new method for studying cognitions during reception (labeled ECER method) to go beyond some theoretical and methodological limitations of dual-process theories of attitude formation and change. This implementation of real-time process-tracking operationalizes cognitive elaboration and cues that set processing in motion. It enables picking up viewers' cognitive responses during exposure to the message and analysing them with a cognitivo-discursive analysis (Tropes software). In a first application, the ECER method is integrated into an experiment on the role of the viewer's degree of involvement in cognitive processing. The results show that the more the viewers are involved, the more they engage in cognitive elaboration and the more they develop cognitive strategies of discourse that express a “ real world ”. Inconsistent with current models, we show that involvement does not result in processing one type of cues (peripheral or central) more than another.