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Persuasion - (suchasacriminal)canbeatleastas (aprosecutor,...

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March 4--Attitudes and Persuasion
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This slide shows that an “untrustworthy” communicator (such as a criminal) can be at least as persuasive as a trustworthy one (a prosecutor), if the position taken in the message runs counter to self-interest (a criminal advocating more powerful courts). The broader point is that messages that cannot be attributed to the communicator’s known characteristics are more persuasive. Source: Walster et al., 1966
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Subjects read an essay on whether there should be restrictions on the sale of “pornography” on campus, delivered by a source whose background led them to expect him to favor or oppose such restrictions. The data show that there is more attitude change when prior expectations are disconfirmed (and fewer attributions to the source’s background, along with more attribution to the factual evidence. Less bias is also detected with unexpected messages.
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Even an unlikeable source can be very effective, if that source delivers an (unexpected) message that is desirable to his audience (again, because the message cannot be attributed to the source’s characteristics).
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