psych15 chapter 8.docx

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Psychology 15
Christopher Greene

Ellen Katherine Rothschild Social Psych Chapter 8: Persuasion Functions of Attitudes They guide behavior, but also have other functions The utilitarian function of attitudes: an attitudinal function that serves to alert people to rewarding objects and situations they should approach and costly or punishing objects are situations they should avoid. • Attitudes are often activated by our current goals and trigger actions that help us pursue our goals. • When your attitudes towards goal relevant objects are positive, you are more likely to engage in goal relevant behavior. • Food: dietary likes and dislikes help us eat foods that are beneficial to survival and avoid foods that are potentially dangerous • Apositive attitude toward a beautiful woman may help sell a car if an association is created between the woman and the car • Some evolutionary psychologists claim that people have evolved a preference for landscapes that have water, semi-open space, ground cover, and distant views of the horizon because these environments provided survival advantages to our ancestors The Ego-Defensive Function of Attitudes: an attitudinal function that enables people to maintain cherished beliefs about themselves and their world by protecting them from contradictory information • Protecting us from unpleasant facts or emotions • Terror management theory: our fear or dying leads us to adopt or cling to attitudes that reflect cultural world views out of a belief that if we do, part of us will survive death. • Political conservatism – resistance to change and endorsements of inequality o Attempts to manage fear and uncertainty The Value-expressive function of attitudes: an attitudinal function whereby attitudes help people express their most cherished values – usually in groups in which these values can be supported and reinforced • We all join groups to express our attitudes • These groups are knows as our reference groups: groups whose opinions matter to a person and that affect the person’s opinion and beliefs • Our commitment to the idea that people in the groups we join share our attitudes can lead us to certain forms of biases o Within political groups, people tend to overestimate the similarity between their own attitudes and the attitudes of their leaders. The knowledge function of attitudes: an attitudinal function whereby attitudes help organize people’s understanding of the world, guiding how they attend to, store, and retrieve information. • Guide what we attend to and remember • They make us more efficient, and sometimes more biased, perceivers of the complex social situations we experience • Most typically, we pay attention to and recall information that is consistent with our preexisting attitudes • Our attitudes lead us to seek out and selectively attend to information that bolsters our preexisting attitudes Persuasion and Attitude Change Atwo process approach to persuasion: 1. Heuristic-systematic model: a model of persuasion that maintains that there are two different routes of persuasion: the systematic route and the heuristic route 2. Elaboration likelihood model: a model of persuasion that maintains that there are two different routes of persuasion: the central route and the peripheral route a. Central/systematic route: a persuasive route wherein people think carefully and deliberately about the content of a message, attending to its logic, cogency, and argument as well as to related evidence and principles i. Motivation and ability factors: issue is personally relevant, knowledgeable in domain, personally responsibility ii. Factors promoting attitude change: quality of argument b. 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 of attractiveness of the communicator i. Motivation and ability factors: issue is not personally relevant, distracted or fatigued, incomplete or hard to comprehend message ii. Factors promoting attitude change: source attractiveness, number and length of arguments, consensus. • What determines whether we will go through central of peripheral route? o Motivation to devote time and energy to the message o Our ability to process the message in depth Source Characteristics: characteristics of the person who delivers the message including the persons attractiveness, credibility, and expertise – independent of the actual context of the message • Attractiveness of the communicator o Beauty of celebrity has no logical connection to the trustworthiness of an opinion about a consumer product of a risky behavior o Attractive communicators can promote attitude change through peripheral routs of persuasion  Particularly persuasive to people for whom the message is not important and who have little knowledge in domain • Credibility of the communicator (combination of expertise and trustworthiness) o “I am not a real doctor but I play one on tv” o works best for peripheral routes of persuasion – when the topic is of little personal relevance • the sleeper effect: an effect that occurs when messages from unreliable sources initially exert little influence but later cause individuals’attitudes to shift o over time people disassociate the source of the message from the message itself o when cues that challenge the non credible source precede the message, the sleeper does not occur Message Characteristics: aspects of the message itself, including the quality of the evidence and the explicitness of its conclusion • message quality: high quality messages are more persuasive in general an are especially so for people who find the message relevant, have knowledge in the domain, and who feel responsible for the issue o high quality messages convey the desirable yet novel consequences of taking action in response to the message – often appeal to the core values of the audience – straightforward, clear, logical o more attitude change if you make your conclusions explicit and if you explicitly refute the opposition thereby giving the receiver of the message material to use in counterargument o more persuasive if you argue against your own self interest – message received as more sincere • Vividness: vivid information embedded in a personal narrative with emotional appeal can be more persuasive than statistical facts that are objectively more informative o Facts to little to change people’s mind o 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. • Fear: On the one hand, intense fear could disrupt the careful, thoughtful processing of the message thus reducing the amount of persuasion. On the other hand, the right kind of fear might heighten the participants motivation to attend to the message, thus increasing the likelihood of attitudinal change. o In general, it is advisable to make ad campaigns frightening and also to provide information about how to act on that fear. • Culture: how a message is targeted to a particular culture group. o The sort of message content we find in the media of independent and interdependent societie
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