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COM 275 Notes Unit 3

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Department
Communication
Course
COM 275
Professor
All Professors
Semester
Fall

Description
I. Persuasion a. The process by which attitudes are changed (definition) b. An attitude is a general predisposition to evaluate other things favorably or unfavorably i. The mediator between a persuasive message and behavioral change c. Influential Researchers i. Carl Hovland 1. Media’s persuasive effect was limited a. Film studies on soldiers during WWII 2. Identified moderating variables a. Source credibility b. Argument order c. Message appeal type d. Individual differences ii. Hyman and Sheatsley 1. Found persuasive messages had to overcome psychological barriers iii. Paul Lazarsfeld and colleagues 1. Media primarily reinforce existing attitudes rather than change them 2. Could influence through opinion leaders a. Two-step flow model d. Contemporary Approaches to Mass Media Persuasion i. Theories and models 1. Cognitive Dissonance theory a. Leon Festinger: When attitude and action become inconsistent: i. Resulting anxiety that must be resolved ii. Attitude change occurs to resolve anxiety 2. McGuire’s Communication/Persuasion Matrix Model a. Attitude change occurs in steps i. Model outlines inputs and outputs ii. Influence decreases for each step b. Shortcomings: i. Lack of detail on process of yielding ii. Assumes variables are sequential c. Research shows variables have opposite effects on reception versus yielding d. Two key issues i. Low correlations for learning and persuasion ii. Processes responsible for yielding 3. Cognitive Response Theory a. Learning a new message is not enough to make us yield b. Yielding (i.e., attitude change) depends on what we think about the message – our cognitive response c. Effects results from i. Articulation and rehearsal of our thoughts ii. Valence (positive/negative) of thinking d. Confidence in thoughts is also a useful predictors e. Problem: i. In some cases persuasion occurs even though the audience member isn’t thinking about the content of a message 4. The Elaboration Likelihood Model a. Message elaboration governs persuasion b. Two distinct routes of thought i. Central route – careful thinking ii. Peripheral route – without careful thinking c. Change from the central route: i. Stronger, more lasting, more predictive ii. Results from the quality of the arguments d. Change from peripheral: i. Weaker and short lasting ii. Results from various heuristic e. Two factors affecting elaboration i. Motivation and ability f. Motivation – three main contributors i. Personal relevance ii. Need for Cognition – the tendency for an individual to engage in and enjoy thinking iii. Multiple sources with multiple arguments 5. Theory of Reasoned Action and Theory of Planned Behavior a. Intention to behave and subsequent behaviors are predicted by i. Attitudes toward the behavior ii. Normative beliefs – beliefs about how influential others will evaluate the behavior 6. Extended Parallel Process Model a. Fear appeals have two components: a threat and a recommended response i. Threat – which motivates action ii. Response efficacy – which determines action iii. When threat is low: 1. There is no response to the message 2. So efficacy not considered iv. When threat is high: 1. If Efficacy is High, people Control Danger 2. If Efficacy is Low, people Control Fear and ignore the message b. As long as perceived efficacy is stronger than perceived threat, people will change behavior to control the danger e. Recent Research and Future Trends i. Message-based persuasion and motives that produce attitude change or resistance ii. Gender differences and emotions and their influence in the persuasion process iii. Link between attitudes and persuasion iv. Variables involved in the persuasion process II. Communication Campaigns a. Definition of a Campaign i. A campaign is: 1. A purposive attempt . . . 2. . . . to inform, persuade, or motivate behavior changes . . . 3. . . . in a relatively well-defined and large audience . . . 4. . . . generally for non-commercial benefits to either the individual and/or society at large . . . 5. . . . often complemented by interpersonal support. b. Why Campaigns Fail i. Audience selective attention to messages ii. Barriers to audience’s perceptions of messages iii. Unsophisticated audience-targeting techniques iv. Unrealistic goals v. The lack of clearly defined criteria for success c. Successful Campaign Principles i. 10 Principles 1. Understand Historical and Conceptual Dimensions a. Study successful campaigns of the past 2. Apply and Extend Relevant Theory a. Theoretical principles help design the most effective campaigns possible 3. Understand Theoretical Implications & Interactions of Campaign Components a. Some powerful campaign components may undermine or aide campaign’s overall message 4. Plan the Campaign a. Define clear media objectives and plan 5. Apply Formative Evaluation a. Obtain information about the sociocultural climate that may impact the campaign b. Four stages: i. Identify audience-related factors ii. Specify behavior-related factors iii. Identify the intermediate steps iv. Identify media use factors 6. Analyze and Understand the Audience a. Identify sub-audiences and recognize the three major types of audiences: i. Focal segments (of target group) ii. Interpersonal influencers iii. Societal policy makers 7. Analyze and Understand Your Media Choices a. Strategies of media used must match campaign goals and target 8. Mix Multiple Media and Interpersonal Channels a. Interpersonal communications should be used as support for the overall media campaign 9. Understand Uses and Contradictions of Mass Media a. Other media sometimes deliver messages that conflict with campaign messages 10. ID Criteria for Campaign Success & Use Summative Evaluation a. Identify reasonable criteria b. Measure several aspects of campaign: i. The audience ii. Implementation of the campaign components iii. The effects on individuals and society iv. The cost effectiveness of the project III. Media Effects on Health a. Research Findings i. Media messages have unintentional positive and negative impacts b. Effects of Ads on Health i. Focus on 3 types of advertisements used: 1. Cigarettes a. Some evidence of effects 2. Alcoholic beverages a. Alcohol ads exposure correlated with i. Increased alcohol consumption ii. Drunk driving 3. Foods a. Food commercials may have positive or negative effects i. But more likely negative c. Effects of Health News i. Two types of studies on health-related news: 1. Those that measure news as source of health information 2. Those that compare public opinion on a health topic to news coverage of that topic ii. Characteristics of coverage of health issues 1. Information on biomedical research, hardware, and drug treatments 2. “Victim-blaming” attitude 3. Emphasizes mainstream America 4. Little about symptoms, non-drug treatment d. Other Mediated Health Education i. Health Campaigns ii. Two new educational strategies 1. Edutainment a. Health messages embedded in entertainment i. Programs and effects have not been studied extensively 2. Media Advocacy a. Public health agent attempts to focus media on health issues to effect social or public policy e. Tools for Health Education i. Groups use several techniques to bring about change 1. Journalism education 2. Critical viewing skills 3. Media literacy training 4. Interactive communication technologies f. Negative Effects of TV Entertainment i. TV world differs from real world ii. TV is related to poor physical fitness iii. Thin Ideal Effects Studies 1. Thin TV program main characters 2. Thin female magazine models iv. But little evidence that media images of thinness cause eating disorders v. Greenberg (2001) 1. Body size 2. Behaviors and interactions with other characters 3. TV vs. reality body size 4. Relevant Findings a. Larger characters: i. Have fewer romantic interactions, friends, positive interactions ii. Are less attractive, charming, intelligent, helpful iii. Are more often objects of humor, ridicule iv. Are more often seen eating and drinking 5. Recent Research and Future Trends a. Unintended and intended messages from health-related communications i. Both negative and positive effects b. The effects of Internet health information on individual health and health policy i. The Internet as a source of health messages ii. The effectiveness of media literacy programs IV. Advertising Effects a. Research Tradition i. Transactional model 1. Popular research paradigm today 2. Focuses on how individual differences combine with media characteristics b. Individual Difference Studies i. Consumer characteristics are thought to influence advertising effects 1. E.g., traits influence selective exposure ii. Five important Characteristics 1. Attitude regarding the medium 2. Uses of the medium 3. Involvement while using the medium a. Krugman (1960s) said media are either: i. High involvement 1. Print media ii. Low involvement 1. Broadcast media b. High involvement is better for learning and persuasion c. TV ads seem best for brand recognition 4. Mood states that affect media usage a. Moods cause different reactions to ads i. Can affect involvement and recall b. Consistency Theory i. Commercials with a different tone or mood from the media context are less effective 5. Interactivity of the medium a. Media Context Studies i. Focus upon media content ii. Four types of study 1. Cognitive Response Studies a. Cognitive response to ads are affected by user knowledge i. Knowledge leads to more attention ii. Print ads better than audio 2. Observational Studies a. Direct observation of consumers viewing ads 3. Studies of Psychophysiological Measures a. Brain activity during ad exposure and recall seem positively related 4. Priming Studies a. Content can prime people to attend to different things c. Frequency and Repetition i. Two different models of advertising response: 1. Threshold effects a. Several exposures needed for ad to have any effect b. Greatest effect achieved after several exposures c. After a number of exposures impact begins to decline 2. Diminishing Returns a. Response to ad begins with first viewing b. Initial exposures are highly effective c. Eventually, subsequent exposure becomes less effective ii. Heavy repetition helps long-term memory iii. But, “advertising wear-out” can occur 1. Prolonged exposure causes resent 2. Effectiveness of the ad declines 3. Mystery example (head on) iv. 3 “quality” exposures needed for effect 1. Too many may result in diminished returns V. Propaganda a. Defining propaganda i. Many definitions of propaganda exist ii. Working definition: 1. “Planned use of communication to affect the minds and emotions of a given group for a specific purpose, whether military, economic, or political.” 2. Strong negative and political connotations, though used with advertising on occasion iii. Can be subtle and slippery 1. Hard to separate from advertising and PR iv. Sometimes distinguished as 1. A message with a flawed epistemology 2. Either false, misleading, or inappropriate b. Committee on Public Information (CPI) i. Also known as the Creel Commission ii. First large scale government use of propaganda (1917) iii. Commissioned by Woodrow Wilson iv. Had many sub-divisions c. Institute for Propaganda Analysis i. Created in 1937 to educate American public on political propaganda ii. Best known for its seven propaganda devices: 1. Name-calling 2. Glittering generalities 3. Transfer 4. Testimonial 5. Plain folks 6. Card-stacking iii. Word Games 1. Name-calling a. Giving an idea or person a bad label, and therefore rejecting and condemning it without examining the evidence 2. Glittering Generalities a. Associating something with a “virtue word” and creating acceptance and approval without examination of the evidence b. Vague, and has positive connotations 3. Euphemisms a. Attempts to pacify the audience in order to make an unpleasant reality more palatable iv. False Connections 1. Transfer a. A device that takes the sanction and authority of something respected and associates it with something else to make the latter accepted i. Also works in reverse 2. Testimonial a. Getting support from a respected authority and transferring it to your product i. Also works in reverse from a hated person 3. Special Appeals a. Plain Folks i. A speaker, idea, or product is good because they are “of the people” b. Card Stacking i. The selection and use of facts or falsehoods in order to give just one side of an issue ii. Examples: 1. Negative political ads 2. Ads that note positive feature of their product without noting negative attributes a. FTC requires some ads to include negative attributes c. Bandwagon i. A claim that “everyone is doing it” (or at least all of “us”) and so should you d. Fear i. Warning members of an audience that a disaster will result if they do not follow a particular course of action VI. Mass-Mediated Political Communication Effects a. Functions of Mass Media in Democracy i. Eight Societal Roles: 1. Surveying contemporary events important to welfare of citizens 2. Identifying key sociopolitical issues 3. Providing platforms for advocacy 4. Transmitting content across factions of political discourse 5. Scrutiny of government officials 6. Providing incentives and information to become active and informed participants 7. Principled resistance to sources trying to subvert media autonomy 8. Respectful consideration of potentially concerned and effective citizens b. Media Content i. Two types: 1. Political advertising a. On Television i. Present particular candidate images ii. Provide information about key issues 1. Provide more information about campaign issues than candidate image 2. News stories a. Research on Political News i. Frames 1. Metaphors that media professionals use to structure understanding of news stories ii. News flaws (that influence political communication) 1. Personalization a. Tendency for news stories to concentrate on individuals 2. Fragmentation a. Delivering news in brief capsule summaries 3. Dramatization a. Selecting news based on entertainment rather than import 4. Normalization a. Showing how problems can be solved within existing system c. Research on Political Communication Effects i. Effects of media on politics depend on many factors: 1. Micro-level a. Four major areas: i. Formation and change of opinion 1. Poli
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