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Theories+of+Message+Processing+Theories+of+Persuasion -...

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Theories of Message Processing: Classic and Contemporary Theories of Persuasion Persuasion Basics Definition: Messages intended to change or reinforce beliefs, attitudes and/or behaviors in others Usually intentional Can be either to change or reinforce status quo Assumes voluntary decision from receiver (no coercion) (have free will, not being forced) Often assumes beliefs à attitudes à behaviors Theories focus on ways people process persuasive information Reveals how attitude/belief/behavior change is possible Attitudes Definition: A “relatively enduring predisposition to respond favorably or unfavorably” toward something (Simons, 1976, p. 80). o Because attitudes are enduring, they are neither fleeting nor based on whims (relatively stable, don’t just go away) o Attitudes are learned evaluations; they are not something people are born with. As such, attitudes are changeable. o Attitudes are presumed to influence behavior, although this influence is not as strong as might presume. (even if it is favorable, still may not take part in it, or vice versa) Cognitive Dissonance Theory Festinger
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