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Chapter 8


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Western University
Psychology 3723F/G
James M Olson

Chapter 8 Basic Principles in How Attitudes are ShapedDifficulty in Identifying the Basic Principles of PersuasionArt of persuasion is complex and difficultFour principles to get a bigger view of how attitudes are shapedPrinciple 1 Influence by Silly ThingsAttitudes can be influenced by information that has a weak relevance to the attitude objectWide range of silly variables that influence attitudes and most people dont believe the variables influence them personallySome things are easier for people to acceptPeople can be more amenable to an argument when they are in a good modOther irrelevant variables are more puzzlingPeople may remain favourable even after learning the desirable consequence will not occurMaybe because by the time the discover occurs people have found new reasons to feel the way they doOther influences include the rate of speech the number of arguments citations of consensus and the positive vs negative framing of the attributesFraming effects merely involve showing the same attribute in two ways but can differ in persuasiveness depending on ones current goalsEffects of likable attractive powerful famous and ingroup sourcesTend to cause more agreement with a message although can occasionally cause disagreementHowever these factors are not always irrelevant to the correctness of the messageThere may be individual and cultural differences in what we believe to be relevant infoPrinciple 2 Influence by Motivation and AbilityThe relative impact of weak information can be reduced when people possess high motivation and the ability to form a correct attitudeExcept when the relevant info is difficult to interpret and the irrelevant info is difficult to identifyHigh personal relevance of a topic and low distraction can increase motivation and ability which makes people more likely to use information that is more directly relevant to attitude objectAccording to the Elaboration Likelihood Model these people can attempt to correct for the potential impact of extraneous info on their attitudesbeliefsA deeper consideration of info may cause the relevant info to override the impact of irrelevant infoMotivation to be correct can also cause the use of irrelevant info on occasionHeuristicSystematic model predicts that people use less relevant info when they are highly motivated to form a correct attitude and all the available relevant info is ambiguous or contradictoryThis may occur because less relevant info becomes more relevant in the presence of contradictory infoTwo source characteristics are importantcredibility and trustworthinessAnother way to look at these effects ambiguous info might be causing people to be more influenced by whether source of message addresses the dominant attitude function for the message recipientPeople in this situation may also expand their theories of the attitude object to include more info as a plausible guideInfo not normally relevant can become relevant after we imagine it differentlyThe result can be an overinterpretation of irrelevant evidencePeoples use of more relevant info might be enhanced when they feel confident about their own selfconcept to be openminded about ideas that challenge their viewsNormally people can be defensive when they get info that challenges their views
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