Chapter 7: Attitude Change and Persuasion Attitudes Strong attitudes are often resilient to change Strength of your attitudes depends on Commitment- the more certain you are that your attitude is correct the less likely you are to change it embeddedness- the more connected your attitude is to other features of you as a person (e.g. values, self concept) the less likely it is to change We like to be consistent Consistency Principle: people will change their attitudes to make them consistent with one another Two consistency theories (Self induced attitude change) Balance Theory Cognitive Dissonance Theory Balance Theory Heider?s theory that people prefer harmony and consistency in their view of the world. we agree with people we like and disagree with people we dislike we associate good things with good people and bad things with bad people We things are out of balance we experience tension To remove the tension we remove something in the system Dissonance Theory Cognitive dissonance theory is based on a small set of principles cognitions can either be consistent or inconsistent with one another (consonant or dissonant) Consistent cognitions produce consonance Inconsistent cognitions produce dissonance Cognitive dissonance theory suggests that when we recognize an inconsistency in attitudes and behavior we feel anxiety and arousal and we are motivated by this discomfort to reduce the inconsistency Only occurs with things that are important to us To combat dissonance we can: change attitudes, change behaviors, or add another cognition to help us rationalize our behavior Early Research: Induced Compliance Festinger and Carlsmith (1959) people engage in a boring task these same people convince others that the task is fun and enjoyable some people get paid $1 for saying this, others get paid $20 for saying this The $1 group showed greater positive attitude change They think: ?Maybe this task isn?t so bad because if it really was bad, they would have paid me more? Brought their attitudes in line with behavior Early Research: Effort Justification Dissonance reduction is used to justify the expenditure of effort ?this is horrible?I must really like it? Aronson and Mills (1959) E.g. Sex discussion group study severity of initiation leads to greater liking for the group Early Research: Free Choice Festinger (1957) having to choose between two desirable alternatives can produce dissonance Postdecisional dissonance (buyer?s remorse) The bad elements of the chosen alternative are dissonant with the decision good elements of the unchosen alternative are dissonant with the decision people engage in post-decisional dissonance reduction to restore consonance Post-Decision Dissonance Reduction As a consequence of having to choose one of two desirable alternatives, people will: improve their evaluation of the chosen alternative Lower their evaluation of the unchosen alternative Doing so reduces dissonance and restores consonance Alternatives to Dissonance Theory Self- Perception Theory perhaps people simply observe own behavior & infer their own attitudes from it Impression Management Theory people want to make a good impression In dissonance studies, they may not want to appear inconsistent self-presentation goals would predict their behavior Self Affirmation Theory people want to view themselves as moral, capable idividuals counterattitudinal behavior threatens these feelings of self-worth people change their attitudes to reduce these threats to self-worth Recent Research Hypocrisy Early dissonance research focused on the negative consequences of behavior Even people who promote a proattitudinal position can experience dissonance hypocrisy produced by advocating a proattitudinal position but engaging in counterattitudinal behavior leads to dissonance To reduce this dissonance we change our behavior to line up with our attitude Recent Research Individual Differences Preference for Consistency (PFC) measures individual differences in wanting predictability and consonance Individual differences may mediate the effects found in traditional dissonance research Implicit and Explicit Attitudes Almost all research on dissonance theory has focused on explicit attitudes Recent research has examined dissonance and implicitly-held attitudes dissonance affects explicit attitudes dissonance has little effect on changing implicit attitudes Persuasion- change in private attitude or belief as a result of receiving a message Factors that Affect Persuasion The source Credibility Attractiveness : Rihanna vs. Dennis Rodman milk ad Similarity: want to believe people like us Power: assume that because they are in power they know more than we do The Message One sided vs. two sided Use of emotion discrepancy with audiences position Repetition, humor, fear argue against own interest Primacy & recency effect: remember what we learn first and last The Medium Print vs. broadcast : in print we get more info, in broadcast evokes emotion Active vs. passive Personal vs. media influence The audience Knowledge of the issue pro or con Mood Personal relevance: is the message relevant to you? Motivation Ability to process Intelligence: more intelligent you are, less likely to be influencable Models of Persuasion Cognitive Response Model ?A Theory that locates the most direct cause of persuasion in the self-talk of the persuasion target? (Kendrick et al.) Dual Process Models Systematic Heuristic Model A model of persuasion that suggests that there are two routes to attitude change- a systematic processing route and a heuristic processing route Elaboration Likelihood Model A model of persuasion that suggests that there are two routes of attitude change- a central route and a peripheral route Cognitive Response Theory (CRT) Information-based persuasive communication also changes attitudes The effectiveness of an attitude change message depends on the thoughts evoked by that message Cognitive response theory Positive thoughts (pro-arguments) lead to adoption of the advocated position Negative thougts (counter arguments) lead to rejection of the advocated position Strength of Arguments Plays a big Role Strong arguments tend to produce strong attitudes strong attitudes should predict greater attitude change Weak arguments tend to produce weak attitudes weak attitudes provide poor support for the advocated position CRT- Processing the Message Strong arguments should be presented in a clear way capitalize on target?s uninterrupted processing of good arguments Weak arguments may fare better with distraction present you don?t want the target to pay a lot of attention to lousy arguments! Heuristic Persuasion Heuristic persuasion relies on factors other than the strength of the arguments presented relevance of the message credibility of the communicator likeability of the communicator attractiveness of the communicator positive mood and emotion Dual Process Models Dual Process Model of Persuasion A model that suggests that there are two basic routes an attitude can be changed- with thought or without thought Systematic Heuristic- Model systematic processing occurs when people attend to and think about the message heuristic processing occurs when people rely on simple cues to make judgments, rather than the strengths of the arguments Elaboration Likelihood Model central route processing is analogous to systematic processing Peripheral route processing is analogous to heuristic processing Motivation and Ability Systematic/central route processing when: the recipient of the message is motivated to expend the energy needed to process the information the recipient of the message has the ability to process the information Personal Relevance an attitude change message should be relevant to the target if not, little attitude change Message Complexity Undue message complexity should work against attitude change if you can?t understand the message, it makes it difficult to process the message Age and Attitude Change Null hypothesis: no age-related changes Increasing persistence: people become more resistant to influence as they age Impressionable years: lots of attitude change when young, less when older Life stages: greater susceptibility to persuasion when young, again when old this is an issue that has not been settled Culture and Attitude Change People from collectivist cultures may not feel the same urge to behave in ways that are consistent with their attitudes this would reduce the effects of cognitive dissonance in shaping behavior Collectivism may also predict differences in responses to persuasive messages Persuasion and Health: Fear Appeals The arousal of fear has been used in many health-related attitude change messages Protection Motivation Theory describes this process: how threatening messages can influence our attitudes / behaviors Fear induction Believe the problem is severe Assume personal susceptibility Fear Attitude change when: Believe we can take the steps to get rid of the problem Capable of performing those steps Propaganda Persuasion that is motivated by a specific ideology and that is biased in its presentation wars often inspire propaganda messages cults often inspire propaganda messages Aspects of Cult Indoctrination Selective targeting of potential recruits Look for people who are searching for something Isolation of recruits Sleep deprivation- so that they are irrational Love-bombing Repetition Foot-in-the-door Denial of privacy Reciprocity Fear-mongering Everyday Propaganda Common sources of a biased message promoting a specific ideology: advertising movies and television education religious institutions Advertising and Propaganda Affective Ads: Ads that invoke emotions Cognitive Attitudes: Ads that make one option look better Also the peripheral route What happens if its something that isn?t personally relevant or doesn?t evoke an emotional response? Subliminal images? Resisting Persuasion Inoculation Exposure to a weakened form of arguments makes us less susceptible to attitude change initially exposing them to small doses Reactance limits to personal freedom lead to motives to restore that freedom Forewarning minimizing counter arguments against your position ?my opponent will tell you?? Distraction use of heckling, jokes, or satire Personal preparation against unscrupulous attitude change messages is a good idea Fair Game List Consistency Principle Balance Theory Cognitive Dissonance Theory Definition and How the Theory Works Induced Compliance, Effort Justification, Free Choice Post Dissonance Reduction Alternatives to dissonance Theory Impression Management, Self-Perception Theory, Self-Affirmation Theory Recent Research Hypocrisy, Individual Differences, Implicit vs. Explicit Attitudes Persuasion Definition Factors affecting persuasion- Source, Medium, Message, Audience Models of Persuasion (Definitions and how they work_ Cognitive Response Model (Don?t forget strong and weak arguments) Systematic ?Heuristic Model Elaboration Likelihood model Know what a dual process model is and which models are dual process Heuristic Persuasion Fear Appeals Propaganda Cults Resisting Persuasion ? reactance, forewarning, inoculation, distraction
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