Chapter 8: Persuasion
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.
EGO-DEFENSIVE FUNCTION - An attitudinal function that enables people to maintain
cherished beliefs about themselves and their world by protecting them
from contradictory information.
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 that affect the
person’s opinions and beliefs.
KNOWLEDGE FUNCTION - An attitudinal function whereby attitudes help organize
people’s understanding of the world, guiding how they attend to, store, and retrieve
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
CENTRAL (SYSTEMATIC) ROUTE - A persuasive route wherein people think carefully
and deliberately about the content of a message, attending to its logic, cogency, and
arguments as well as to related evidence and principles.
PERIPHERAL (HEURISTIC) ROUTE - A persuasive route wherein people attend to
relatively simple, superficial cues related to the message, such as the
length of the message or the expertise or attractiveness of the communicator.
SOURCE CHARACTERISTICS - Characteristics of the person who delivers the
message, including the person’s attractiveness, credibility, and expertise.
SLEEPER EFFECT - An effect that occurs when messages from unreliable sources
initially exert little influence but later cause individuals’ attitudes to shift.
MESSAGE CHARACTERISTICS - Aspects of the message itself, including the quality
of the evidence and the explicitness of its conclusions. IDENTIFIABLE VICTIM EFFECT - The tendency to be more moved by the plight of a
single, vivid individual than by a more abstract number of individuals.
RECEIVER CHARACTERISTICS - Characteristics of the person who receives the
message, including age, mood, personality, and motivation to attend to the message.
THIRD-PERSON EFFECT - The assumption by most people that “other people” are
more prone to being influenced by persuasive messages (such as those in media
campaigns) than they themselves are.
AGENDA CONTROL - Efforts of the media to select certain events and topics to
emphasize, thereby shaping which issues and events people think are important.
THOUGHT POLARIZATION HYPOTHESIS - The hypothesis that more extended
thought about a particular issue tends to produce more extreme, entrenched attitudes.
ATTITUDE INOCULATION - Small attacks on people’s beliefs that engage their
attitudes, prior commitments, and knowledge structures, enabling them to counteract a
subsequent larger attack and be resistant to persuasion.
Functions of Attitudes
Attitudes serve several functions. They serve a utilitarian function, signaling
rewards and punishments. They serve an ego-defensive function, protecting
people from undesirable beliefs and emotions. They serve a value-expressive
function, reflecting values that people want others, especially their reference
groups, to acknowledge. And attitudes serve a knowledge function, organizing how
people construe the social world and guiding how people attend to, store, and
Persuasion and Attitude Change
Both the heuristic-systematic model of persuasion and the elaboration likelihood
model of persuasion hypothesize that there are two routes to persuasion.
Factors determining which route is used include motivation, or how important the
message is to the person, and ability to process the message.
When using the central (systematic) route to persuasion, people attend carefully
to the message, and they consider relevant evidence and underlying logic in detai