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Chapter 8

Social Psychology Chapter 8 Summary.docx

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McGill University
PSYC 215
John Lydon

Social Psychology Chapter 8 Summary Functions of Attitudes Utilitarian function of Attitudes - Utilitarian function: attitudinal function serving to alert people to rewarding objects and situations they should approach and costly or punishing objects or situations they should avoid - If you have a goal, your attitude towards the means of attaining that goal become more positive - Pairing a neutral object with some positive stimuli boosts our positive reaction to it The Ego-Defensive Function of Attitudes - Ego-defensive function: attitudinal function that enables people to maintain cherished beliefs about themselves and their world by protecting them from contradictory info - Fear can make us cling to beliefs; like fear of death can make us more patriotic - Conservative who cling to traditional ways are also more fearful The Value-Expressive Function of Attitudes - Value-expressive function: attitudinal function whereby attitudes help people express their most cherished values—usually in groups in which these values can be supported and reinforced - We join groups that express our attitudes - Reference groups: groups whose opinions matter to a person and that affect the person’s opinions and beliefs - Groups can also serve to fundamentally change our opinions as a group norm will be reinforced while a deviant from the norm will be isolated The knowledge function of attitudes - Knowledge function: attitudinal function whereby attitudes help organize people’s understanding of the world, guiding how they attend to, store, and retrieve info - We pay attention to and recall info consistent w/ our pre-existing attitudes - Our attitudes are built on experiences and our acquisition of knowledge yet eventually our attitudes become entrenched and bias us toward being more attentive to certain info that supports our attitudes - Attitudes in sum help us: identify rewards and threats, avoid unpleasant realties about life and who we are, they are part of why we belong to different groups and are powerful guides to our construal of the social world Persuasion and Attitude Change - People would have to change old habits, give up strong preferences and adjust their daily routine so you must be persuasive to accomplish this A two-process approach to persuasion - Heuristic-systematic model of persuasion: model maintaining that there are two different routes of persuasion: systematic and heuristic route - Elaboration likelihood model (ELM) of persuasion: maintains there are 2 different routes of persuasion: the central route and the peripheral route - ELM: through central (systematic) route (persuasive route wherein people think carefully and deliberately about content of message attending to its logic, convincingness & arguments as well as to related evidence and principles - ELM: through peripheral (heuristic): people attend to relatively simple, superficial cues related to the message such as the length of message or expertise or attractiveness of communicator - What makes us go through central or peripheral route in responding to persuasive message? Motivation to devote time and energy to message (when it has personal consequences= personal route) and ability to process message in depth (if message is clear we use central route) - Basically if we have motivation and ability to process we use central if we don’t have motivation or ability we use peripheral - Factors making central route more likely: 1.) Personal relevance 2.) Knowledge of issue 4.) If message makes us feel responsible for some action or outcome - Factors making peripheral route more likely: 1.) reduced motivation 2.) Interfere w/ ability to attend to message carefully (like being distracted) - High personal relevance makes people more easily persuaded by source expertise - Using central route has more enduring effects as people attend to message, more resistant to persuasion and more predictive of behaviour - Persuasive message is made up of: 1.) Who, or source of message 2.) What, the content of message 3.)The whom, or target of the message A Subliminal Route to Persuasion - While subliminal messages can be powerful they can’t entirely shift people’s attitudes and behaviour with respect to more familiar psychologically significant stimuli - Subliminal stimuli can’t induce people to do something they’re opposed to doing Source of Characteristics - Source characteristics: characteristics of person who delivers message including attractiveness, credibility and expertise Attractiveness: - Attractive communicators can promote attitude change through peripheral route of persuasion - Attractiveness has been persuasive to people for whom message isn’t important and who have limited knowledge in domain Credibility: - Combination of expertise and trustworthiness of communicator - Use peripheral route of communication when topic is of little personal relevance - Can still be susceptible even if audience is highly motivated as high credibility may be a strong argument to change attitude The sleeper effect - Is: effect occurring when messages from unreliable sources initial exert little influence but later cause individuals’ attitudes to shift - Once the person isn’t trustworthy, the opposite occurs and the people start reacting negatively to message Message Characteristics - Message characteristics: aspects of message itself including qualities of evidence and explicitness of its conclusions Message Quality - Higher q
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