Prologue: Attitude change is big business!
Just watch a journal, walk on the street and someone will try to influence your attitude.
1- Average person in North America is exposed to over 1500 persuasive attempts in a single day!
- About half come from advertisements:
- In Canada, $10 billion per year;
- In USA 1$ billion per year (just for McDonald’s) and 3$ billion per year just for GM.
Designed to influence attitudes.
What do we mean by attitude?
2- Defining attitudes: an evaluative response toward an object or issue (expresses favor or
disfavor). To understand attitude we have to understand the three types of evaluative
Behavioral (approach/avoid; buy/not buy) for example advertisers spend a lot of
money in advertising just to influence consumer!
Affective response (emotional responses, love/hate/like). Tell us something about our
Cognitive response (evaluative beliefs “I believe…”) I believe nuclear power is
dangerous for environment, I have a disfavor cognitive response.
How can we change people’s attitudes?
Part 1: The message learning approach (Hovland and the “yale group”)
Hovland and Yale group founded the Yale communication program (1950) and today we call this
group: the Yale group. They try to know how we persuade people to do something (like buy a car).
The obvious response it’s to provide a persuasive message. But the Yale group thinks we have to learn
this message, that’s why we call this: the learning approach!
A. There are 4 sequential stages of message learning:
Attention (must notice/ pay in attention to the message)
Comprehension (for learn the message we must understand the content of message)
Yielding (we have to accept the conclusions of the message) this is the critical stage where
the attitude changes.
Retention (if the message learning wants to be learn we have to remember the message and
The Yale group just confirms what the people on business knew!
B. Attitude change (message learning) is not easy!
Let’s imagine if we are 80% successful with 100 people at the each stage of the message learning,
- 80 will attend to message
- 64 will comprehend the message
- 51 will yield to conclusions
- 41 will retain new attitude - So only about 33 people will act on their new attitude!!!
It’s not bad if target large numbers of people!
The Miller Lite beer commercials (“tastes great”, “less filling”). Commercial with sport
celebrities, because the advertiser wants to touch the people who drink beer and watch
sport! So it becomes easier to remember the “slogan”, tastes great and less filling!
C. Factors that influence message learning:
“WHO SAYS WHAT TO WHOM??”
Who: the source
Says what: the message
To whom: the characteristics of recipients
Most of the research think: recipient will expose to a message. We have to manipulate some
characteristics to see what’s happening!
D. Research on “yielding” (attitude change)
Most researchers are interesting by the effect of the message (right after the exposure). They want to
focus on the critical stage which involves attitude change!
But the results are inconsistent!
- Source (credibility (highly credibility source might interfere with the message), expertise, likeability,
- Recipient (certain people are more easily persuade, e.g. a person with less intelligence is easier to
convince/ moods: should we used moods in recipient to put the consumer in a good mood?!
Apparently yes, a people with a good mood are more likely to be agree with the message)
- Message: (length: longer message are more persuasive, but sometimes long message are less
persuasive, we need a balance. The message must be really comprehensible!) But some experience
had shown that sometimes we agree with a message that we even understand!)
The conclusion in 1977: there is reigning confusion in this area!!!
Part 2: Greenwald’s cognitive response model
Attention => comprehension => XXXXX => Yielding => retention
XXXX: something is missing, so we are elaborating to what is said, we make a cognitive
responsescalled in this model: “Internal stream of thought”. And it’s this internal stream of thought
which leads us to change own attitude.
If the cognitive response is favorable is agree with the message. If no, unfavorable, we disagree with
the message. So cognitive response influences direction (agree or disagree) and amount (how much
we agree or disagree) of attitude change.
According to this model to people watching the same message might have a different response!
Because they make different cognitive responses! Interlude: Measuring cognitive responses!
By the “thought-listing task”:
- Recipients listen to (or read) the message
- Then the list all of their “thoughts” about the message.
- And this thoughts are coded as favorable or unfavorable. E.g. sometimes the reci