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Chapter 8 - Persuasion.doc

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PSYC 215
John Lydon

Chapter Eight Persuasion Functions ofAttitudes • attitudes guide behaviors (less powerfully than most people suspect) ◦ there are four functions of attitudes besides this ▪ utilitarian ▪ ego-defensive ▪ value-expressive ▪ knowledge The Utilitarian Function ofAttitudes • utilitarian function – an attitudinal function that serves to alert people to rewarding objects and situations they should approach and costly or punishing objects or situations they should avoid The Ego-Defensive Function ofAttitudes • ego-defensive function – an attitudinal function that enables people to maintain cherished beliefs about themselves and their world by protecting them from contradictory information The Value-Expressive Function ofAttitudes • value-expressive function – an attitudinal function whereby attitudes help people express their most cherished values – usually in groups where these values can be supported and reinforced • reference groups – groups whose opinion matter to a person and that affect the person's opinions and beliefs The Knowledge Function ofAttitudes • knowledge function – an attitudinal function whereby attitudes help organize people's understanding of the world, guiding how they attend to, store, and retrieve information Persuasion andAttitude Change • there is no simple one-solution-fits-all method to persuasion ATwo-ProcessApproach to Persuasion • heuristic-systematic model – a model of persuasion that maintains that there are two different routes of persuasion: the systematic route and the heuristic route • elaboration likelihood model (ELM) – a model of persuasion that maintains that there are two different routes of persuasion ▪ motivation may determine whether or not a fact passes through the central vs the peripheral route in responding to a persuasive message ◦ central route – accessed when the information includes personal consequences for us ◦ peripheral route – accessed when we have little motivation and ability to process a message • central (systematic) route – a persuasive route wherein people think carefully and deliberately about the content of a message, attending to its logic, cogency, and arguments as well as to related evidence and principles ◦ three factors make the central route to persuasion more likely ▪ personal relevance of the message ▪ our knowledge about the issue ▪ whether or not the message makes us feel responsible for some action or outcome • peripheral (heuristic) route – a persuasive route wherein people attend to relatively simple, superficial cues related to the message, such as its length, or the expertise or attractiveness of the communicator • overall routes to persuasion are twofold ◦ some circumstances or messages prompt thoughtful integration of new arguments and evidence into people's belief systems, thus promoting attitude change ◦ other times we engage in less effortful thinking and are more persuaded by superficial cues or even by subliminal cues ◦ your best bet of persuasion is through the central route of communication ▪ people attend to the message more carefully ▪ effects are more pronounced ▪ brings about attitude change that is more enduring, more resistant to persuasion, and more predictive of behavior Source Characteristics • source characteristics – characteristics of the person who delivers the message, including the person's attractiveness, credibility, and expertise Attractiveness • attractive communicators are more persuasive than less attractive communicators Credibility • communicators perceived to be high in credibility are more persuasive than communicators perceived to have a low level of credibility Expertise The Sleeper Effect • the sleeper effect – an effect that occurs when messages from unreliable sources initially exert little influence but later cause individual's attitudes to shift Message Characteristics • message characteristics – aspects of a message itself, including quality of evidence and explicitness of conclusions • message characteristics that make a communication persuasive ◦ Message Quality – high quality messages are more persuasive than low-quality messages ▪ high quality – convey desirable yet novel consequences of taking action in response to the message ◦ Vividness – vivid information embedded in a personal narrative with emotional appeal can be more persuasive than statistical facts that are, objectively, more informative ▪ identifiable victim effect – the tendency to be more moved by the plight of a signle, vivid individual than by a more abstract number of individuals ◦ Fear – intense fear can disrupt careful, thoughtful processing of the message, thus reducing the chance of persuasion, OR, the right kind of fear might heighten the person's motivation to attend to the message ▪ persuasive messages that provide information that can be acted on can be highly effective, however, it is possible to frighten people so much that they will choose to deny the danger rather than act to combat it, especially if there is no clear recommendation about how to deal with the threat ◦ Culture – how a message is targeted to a particular social group matters ▪ the messages we find in the media of independent vs. interdependent cultures differ substantially • individual-oriented ads were more effective withAmerican participants • collective-oriented ads were more effective with Korean participants Receiver Characteristics • receiver characteristics – characteristics of the person who receives the message, including age, mood, personality, and motivation to attend to the message Need for Cognition • influences the likelihood of an attitudes change • refers to the degree to which people like to think deeply about things ◦ high need – like to think, puzzle, ponder, and consider multiple perspectives on issues ▪ more persuaded by high-quality arguments and are relatively unmoved by peripheral cues of persuasion ◦ low need – don't find thought and contemplation to be that much fun Mood • people who are good at communication go to great lengths to create a particular mood for their audience ◦ McGuire, 1985 ▪ people exposed to persuasive messages while eating or listening to beautiful music were more likely to change their attitudes, presumably through the peripheral route of persuasion ◦ Wegener & Petty ▪ mood can effect persuasion through the central route as well ▪ persuasive efforts are more likely to be successful through the central route when the mood of the message matches the mood of the receiver • pessimistic, counterattitudinal messages tend to prompt greater mental processing in sad or depressed people
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