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Chapter 7

PSYC 2310 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Attitude Change, Collectivism, Stress Management

Course Code
PSYC 2310
Jeffrey Yen

of 6
Chapter 7 Persuasion
Persuasion: communications that are designed to influence people’s attitudes
Routes to persuasion
Elaboration likelihood model (ELM): people focus on different aspects of persuasive message as
a function of their involvement in message content.
Central/systematic route: person thinks carefully about a communication message and is
influenced by strength of arguments
Peripheral or heuristic route: a person does not think carefully about a communication message
and influenced by superficial characteristics
Message high motivation central route processing persuasion
Message low motivation peripheral route processing persuasion
Factors influencing type of processing
Ability to focus
Distracted = limited ability to focus, difficult to concentrate on central messages that
require greater processing, so may rely on peripheral cues (Petty, Wells, Brock)
People accept automatically info received (Gilbert) person interrupted immediately
after hearing some info, more likely to accept info as true because lack of motivation and
opportunity to engage in careful processing
Petty distracted, therefore accepted weak and strong arguments. Didn’t have chance to
process what they heard
Motivation to focus
No motivation to focus on processing central message if uninvolved or uninterested in
message (Chaiken)
No motivation, you are likely to rely on peripheral cues (length of message, source,
description and speed of delivery)
Familiarity of phrases influences persuasion (Howard)
o Asked students to read 2 phrases and to rate agreement with phrase
o People low in involvement persuaded with familiar phrases (relied on peripheral
o High involvement were equally persuaded by both phrases (weighed meanings of
both phrases which were identical)
Students listening to speaker on benefits of mandatory exams (Petty)
o Three variables: expertise of speaker, message strength, personal involvement
o Those not involved primary factor was expertise of speaker (peripheral)
o More positive about exams when delivered by professor
o High involved strength of argument was major predictor of attitude (central)
Which route is more effective?
Both are effective
Highly personal messages motivate us to pay attention as long as there is no distraction
Low personal relevance are process peripherally
Same cue processed in different ways
Attitude change based in central route processing is longer lasting, more resistant to
future persuasion efforts
What factors influence persuasion?
Who delivers the message
Source of persuasions refers to person who delivers the message
Source’s attractiveness, similarity and credibility can influence how persuasive people
find the message
More persuasive than unattractive and less likeable ones
Assume attractive people buy a certain car, or soda, etc. become more attractive by
engaging in similar behaviour
Eagly & Chaiken
o Hired unattractive and attractive people to survey students
o Attractive people were more successful in getting student’s signatures
Likeable people more persuasive in videos, while unlikeable people more persuasive in
Good friend is more similar to you and therefore more persuasive
Have more in common with friend, believe what they say
o Students attitudes changed in direction of message they read when speech
delivered by student at their school
Messages delivered by same sources can be persuasive even if message delivered feels
o Essay has negative attitude
o Students who believed shared first name and birthdate with author of essay, rate
agreement with essay high
o Did not have same name, rated essay lower
Sources who appear credible are more persuasive than those who lack it
Convinced by sources that we believe are trustworthy
People who argue unexpected positions are especially persuasive because they are seen as
highly credible
Message against participants expectations seen as more factually based than on expected
side, leading to greater attitude change
When people have just received a persuasive message from a source with low credibility,
are more persuaded by message from moderately credible source than if they had first
received message from a source with high credibility
We evaluate credibility of source also with credible references
Repeated exposure to persuasive message leads to individuals to attribute message to a
more credible source.
Fragale & Heath
o Exposed participants to statement regarding food legend 5 times and others 2
Sleeper effect: noncredible sources can become more persuasive over time
Over time people remember the message but no the speaker
Content of message
Often think long messages are more persuasive than short, link between persuasion and
length is complex
Long message are more effective if message is strong and processed centrally, less
effective if weak and processed peripherally
Long message w/ weak message can have less impact than short strong messages
Messages too discrepant from people’s attitudes are likely to be ignored, and messages
that are right at people’s current attitudes aren’t effective in changing attitudes
Attitudes tend to be more extreme over time because people gather support for own
beliefs and ignore disconfirming evidence
o Those in favour of capital punishment now strongly supported it, while those who
were somewhat against it were now more strongly opposed to it
People tend to see evidence that supports their view as quite strong and evidence that
opposes their view as quite weak
Demographic effect
People in late adolescent and early adulthood are most influenced by persuasive message
(may explain why this demographic group is coveted by TV execs)
College students have less stable attitudes, and tendency to comply with authority
Adults are more responsive to messages that have meaningful goals, younger adults have
no preference
o Women more easily persuaded than men