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Social Psyc Chapter 7 Persuasion

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University of Guelph
PSYC 2310
Saba Safdar

Social Psyc Chapter 7 How do we process persuasive messages? - In Smith & Shaffers study, participants were asked to listen to a speech supposedly made by another student - In one condition, the speech included strong arguments and in another, the speech included weak arguments - Half of the participants heard the speech at a moderate rate of speech, the other half heard the speech at a very high rate - Participants who heard weak arguments at a normal rate were least persuaded, those who heard weak arguments at a fast rate were just as persuaded as those who heard strong arguments at either a normal or fast rate - Faster delivery is more amenable to peripheral than central processing as it gives you less time to think about the content of the message - Another study by researchers from HEC Montreal examined how voice and gender influence credibility in a banking telemarketing context - Found that voice characteristics significantly affected attitudes toward an advertisement - Student participants found a voice more credible if it spoke with moderate intensity, no marked voice intonation, and at a fast speech rate - These studies provided support for the idea that how an argument is presented has an influence on people, rather than just the argument itself Routes to persuasion - The elaboration likelihood method argues that people focus on different aspects of a persuasive message based on their involvement in the message concept - When people think carefully about a communication message and are influenced by the strength of the arguments, theyre using the central or systematic route - The peripheral route to persuasion is when people dont think carefully about a communication message and are influenced by superficial characteristics Ability to focus - If you are distracted its difficult to concentrate on central messages that require greater processing, and you therefore rely on peripheral cues - People tend to automatically accept information they receive, and only later process that information and decide whether to reject it - In one study students read either a strong or weak argument in favour of a 20% increase in school tuition - The strong messages emphasized the benefits for education, the weak emphasized the benefits for the campus yards - Some listened while distracted, others listened without distraction - Those who had no distraction were persuaded by the strong messages but not the weak ones, and those who were distracted were persuaded somewhat by both of them, probably because they didnt have a chance to generate counter-arguments - People who consumed caffeine were more persuaded by counter-attitudinal messages Motivation to focus - If youre uninterested or uninvolved in the message and therefore have no motivation, youre likely to rely on peripheral cues, such as the length of the message, source of the message, and the speed at which the message is delivered - In one study, it was found that even the familiarity of the phrases used in a message can influence persuasion - People whose involvement with a message was low were more persuaded by familiar phrases than by the literal phrases. These participants relied on the peripheral cues, and therefore were more persuaded by the familiar phrases - High involvement participants were equally persuaded by both phrases - Peripheral cues can also include the presumed expertise of the person delivering the message - In a study by Richard Petty, students listened to a speaker promoting the benefits of mandatory exams for all students before graduation. This study included three distinct independent variables: - Expertise of the speaker - Message strength - Personal involvement - For those who were not very involved and who were therefore less likely to employ central processing and more likely to rely on peripheral processes, the primary factor that predicted attitude was the expertise of the speaker - They were more positive about the exams when the message was delivered by a professor than by a high school student, regardless of the strength of the argument - For those who were highly involved, the strength of the argument was the major predictor of attitudes - If an argument is difficult to understand, this may also lead people to rely on peripheral processing - When attitudes were difficult to comprehend, attitudes were more favorable when the source had high status - In other words, the complexity of the arguments made central processing less productive, so peripheral factors were given more weight - A combination of factors, including who is delivering the message, how strong and complex the message is, and the extent to which the listener is involved and motivated to examine the message, influences the persuasiveness of the message Which route is more effective? - Messages that are of high personal relevance motivate us to pay attention, and as long as we have the ability, we process such messages centrally - Messages that are of low personal relevance or that we need to process while distracted are processed peripherally - Attitude change that is based in central route processing is longer lasting and more resistant to future persuasion efforts, suggesting that, in the long term, this is the more effective route to persuasion What factors influence persuasion? - People who drink coffee found both the strong and weak reports much less convincing than those who didnt drink coffee - Researchers believe that those who drank coffee and therefore found a personal link were threatened by the information, and therefore processed the message in a highly defensive way Source: Who delivers the message - Source of persuasion refers to the person who delivers the message, such as a spokesperson, an actor in an advertisement, or a person who gives a speech- The sources attractiveness, similarity, and credibility can each influence how persuasive the message appears to people Attractiveness - Attractive and likeable sources are more persuasive than unattractive and less likeable ones - We believe well become more attractive by engaging in the same behaviours - In one study researchers got attractive and unattractive people to ask students to sign a petition, in which attractive people were more successful - Partly because people assume that attractive people have positive qualities such as honesty, generosity, intelligence, and agreeableness - Likeable people are especially persuasive in videotaped and audiotaped messages, compared to written ones - Unlikeable people are more persuasive in writing Similarity - Friends are more persuasive than strangers - In one study, students read a strong speech about gun control or euthanasia - Some were told the writer was a fellow UCSB student, others were told the writer attended a different university - Students attitudes changed in the direction of the message when they thought the student attended the same school as them - They were not influenced at all when it was written by someone from a different school - Why similar sources are more persuasive: - We remember messages presented by in-group members better than those presented by outgroup members - Another involves iden
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