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Chapter 8

TEXTBOOK Chapter 8 - Persuasion

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Emily Impett

Chapter Eight: Persuasion Functions of Attitudes THE UTILITARIANFUNCTION OFA TTITUDES Utilitarian Function: An attitudinal function that serves to alert people to rewarding objects and situations they should approach and costly or punishing objects or situations they should avoid  Goals activate a shift in our attitudes causing us to evaluate and view things difference making us engage in goal-relevant behavior o Ex: goal is a good grade on the psych exam whereas the attitude change causes us to evaluate the library more positively  Food preferences: dietary likes and dislikes help us eat food beneficial to survival  We prefer natural settings because in the past water, trees, open space, ground cover, and distant views of the horizon offered ancestors water, hunting and gathering food, shelter thus we have a positive attitude towards it  When our attitudes on fairly neural objects as paired with emotionally arousing stimuli, our attitudes can be modified ex: car and model THE EGO-D EFENSIVEFUNCTION OFATTITUDE Ego-Defensive Function: an attitudinal function that enables people to maintain cherished beliefs about themselves and their world by protecting them from contradictory information  Protect valued beliefs by 1. Terror-management theory and 2. Political conservatism  Terror management theory: due to our fear of dying we cling to attitudes reflecting cultural world-views in hopes of surviving death o Since death is one of life’s uncertainties we hold strong attitudes and deep values towards it  Political conservatism: helps ward off uncertain anxieties attempting to manage our fear and uncertainty o Resistance to change o Endorsement of inequality: resources and opportunities  Political conservatives show higher levels of fear than those with other political beliefs o They show less interest in new technology innovations, unfamiliar music and job requirements since all involve uncertainty hence they lean towards views displaying the world as structured and orderly THE VALUE EXPRESSIVEFUNCTION OFA TTITUDES Value-Expressive Function: an attitudinal function whereby attitudes help people express their most cherished values – usually in groups in which these values can be supported and reinforced Reference Groups: groups whose opinions matter to a person and affect the person’s opinions and beliefs  People in reference groups can lead to bias ex: in political groups, people overestimate similarity between their attitudes and the attitudes of their readers Study: Theodore Newcomb (mid 1930s)  600 students attending Bennington: experimental liberal arts college  College had mostly liberal professors but upper-class students from Protestant Republican families  Would student’s conservative background or liberal context shape their political attitudes?  In a 4-year period students candidate preferences became more liberal over time in college  25 years later, a follow-up study of 125 former students 60% voted for a more liberal candidate thus changes underwent in college stayed throughout their life  Liberal students had more respect for peers, better integrated into groups than conservatives, whereas conservatives were less likely to be leaders, and they spent more time at homes. Both attitudes reflect deep value-expressive function. THE K NOWLEDGE F UNCTION OFA TTITUDES Knowledge Function: an attitudinal function whereby attitudes help organize people’s understanding of the world, guiding how they attend to, store, and retrieve information  Our attitudes guide what we attend to, remember, and remain consistent with our preexisting attitudes Study: Lepper Ross, Vallory and Keavney  Participants watched videotapes between 2 candidates during the 1980 presidential campaign  Students preexisting attitudes led to different conclusions of who emerged victorious. Carter and Reagan supports thought their own candidate won the debate  Attitudes are built on experience and acquisition of knowledge, but eventually attitudes become entrenched and bias us towards being more attentive to new information supporting our attitudes thus attitudes sometimes cause us to sacrifice objectivity Persuasion and Attitude Change A Two-Process Approach to Persuasion Heuristic-systematic model: a model of persuasion that maintains that there are two different routes of persuasion: the systematic route and the heuristic route Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM): a model of persuasion that maintains that there are two different routes of persuasion: the central route and the peripheral route Central (Systematic) Route: a persuasive route wherein people think carefully and deliberately about the content of the message, attending to its logic, cogency, and arguments as well as related evidence and principles Peripheral (Heuristic) Route: a persuasive route wherein people attend to relatively simple, superficial cues related to the message or the expertise or attractiveness of the communicator Motivationand Process Factors AbilityFactors •central Promoting (systematic) AttitudeChange •issueis personally relevant •quality of argument •knowledgeable in domain •personally resonsible Motivation and Process Factors Ability Factors •peripheral (heuristic) Promoting Attitude Change •issue is not personally relevant •source of •distracted or fatigued expertiseeness, fame, •incomplete or hard- to-comprehend •argumentsd length of message •consensus Factors determining central or peripheral route in responding to a persuasive message:  Motivation to devote time and energy to a message o If it has personal consequences for us we are more likely to go through the central route  Ability to process the message in depth o If message is clear and we have sufficient time it will probably go through the central route o With little motivation and time we process peripheral cues Factors making central route to persuasion more likely:  Personal relevance of message: bearing on goals, concerns, well-being  Knowledge about the issue – more we know more scrutinize message with care and though
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