Persuasion paper

Persuasion paper - Persuasion and Attitude Change...

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Persuasion and Attitude Change Throughout the course of the day the average person is bombarded with numerous persuasive messages that we can’t even comprehend. These persuasive messages can subconsciously have a large impact on our attitudes and behaviors in our every day lives and, in turn, effect how we operate. When we think of persuasion we think of extremities such as subliminal messaging, what we don’t realize is how persuasion can be much more subtle and can subtly effect small decisions and attitudes that we hold. For this paper I will discuss persuasion and the effect that it has on one’s attitude. Petty and Wegener (1995) state that persuasion has been shown to have an effect on one’s attitude by effecting a person’s emotions, cognitions or behavior towards a person, object or idea. This, in turn makes a persons attitude towards this person or object change. Attitude is loosely defined as a positive, negative or mixed reaction to a person, object or idea. A person’s attitude more often that not, is used to predict the way a person will behave, although with all the persuasive messages that are seen throughout the media it makes it harder to predict the way in which someone will behave. Persuasion is defined as the process by which attitudes are changed. Persuasion is usually studied in an environment where change can be examined in respect to the position that is being promoted. Petty and Wegener (1995) studies show that if there is a change in the person’s attitude it is placed on a continuum that
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ranges from maximal acceptance to maximal boomerang. Maximal acceptance is when the person’s original view has been completely changed towards the message advocated, where as maximal boomerang is where the person either retains their original view or goes completely against the message advocated. Current studies from Wood (2000) have shown that attitude changes, due to persuasion, were first noted in the Ancient Greeks as well as the Roman Republic (during the Italian renaissance) through means of political propaganda. Over the years the social psychological idea of attitude change and persuasion has significantly developed through the help of many psychologists such as Carl Hoover and his team at Yale, whom during the 1950’s who were the first to categorize this phenomenon within Social Psychology. During the years when this phenomenon was first developed numerous theories were constructed, many of which clashed with each other. This was until two main theories were developed and accepted within the field. These two theories were the Elaboration Likelihood Model and the Heuristic- Systematic Model. According to Petty and Wegener (1995) the ELM is a theory about the process that is responsible for attitude change and the strength of the attitudes that are a result of the process. ELM is placed on a likelihood continuum. When one is high on this continuum the person is highly motivated to scrutinize the information given on the persuasive message (which would
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This note was uploaded on 04/09/2008 for the course PSY 232 taught by Professor Salgado during the Spring '07 term at Wheaton MA.

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Persuasion paper - Persuasion and Attitude Change...

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