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Article

Paul H. P. Hanel, Colin Foad, and Gregory R. Maio

Attitudes are people’s likes and dislikes toward anything and anyone that can be evaluated. This can be something as concrete as a mosquito that is tormenting you during the night or as abstract and broad as capitalism or communism. In contrast, human values have been defined as abstract ideals and guiding principles in one’s life and are considered as abstract as well as trans-situational. Thus, while both attitudes and values are important constructs in psychology that are necessarily related, there are also a range of differences between the two. Attitudes are specific judgments toward an object, while values are abstract and trans-situational; attitudes can be positive and negative, while values are mainly positive; and attitudes are less relevant for one’s self-concept than values. A range of studies have investigated how values and attitudes toward specific topics are associated. The rationale for most studies is that people’s values guide whether they like certain people, an object, or an idea. For example, the more people value universalism (e.g., equality, broad-mindedness), the more they support equal rights for groups that are typically disadvantaged. However, these associations can also be complex. If people do not consider an attitude to be a relevant expression of a value, it is less likely that the value predicts this attitude. Further, it can also matter for people’s attitudes whether their values match those of the people in their country, are similar to other social groups (e.g., immigrants), and whether they think their own group’s values are similar or dissimilar to the values of other groups. In sum, the literature shows that the links between values and attitudes are both entrenched and malleable and that these interrelations have many important consequences for understanding social-political divisions and well-being.

Article

Issues of attitudes and attitude change are the foundation of many social processes. Psychologists have long sought to understand people’s opinions and evaluations and many studies have sought to understand how, why, and when those attitudes change in the face of persuasive communication. Early persuasion research identified many variables that influence the effectiveness of persuasive messages. These variables include characteristics of the communicator, the recipient, and the message itself. Over the years, however, the evidence for these influences became rather mixed, prompting a new generation of persuasion psychologists to ask whether there was a sensible pattern underlying it. This question ushered in several new approaches to thinking about persuasion. These “dual process” models proposed key moderators, identifying the conditions under which certain variables would and would not produce attitude change. A particularly influential model has been the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM), which proposed that the audience’s motivation and ability to think deeply about a persuasive message determines how much a given characteristic of that message will change the audience’s attitude. Other models, such as the Heuristic-Systematic Model (HSM), have contributed additional insights about the “when” and “why” of attitude change. In sum, these nuanced accounts of attitude change have been demonstrated time and again across cultures and topics of persuasion.

Article

Chad R. Mortensen and Robert B. Cialdini

It is through the influence process that people generate and manage change. As such, it is important to understand fully the workings of the influence processes that produce compliance with requests for change. Fortunately, a vast body of scientific evidence exists on how, when, and why people comply with influence attempts. From this formidable body of work, one can extract six universal principles of influence that generate compliance in the widest range of circumstances. Reciprocation states that people are more willing to comply with requests (for favors, services, information, concessions, etc.) from those who have provided such things first. Commitment/Consistency states that people are more willing to be moved in a particular direction if they see it as consistent with an existing commitment. Authority states that people are more willing to follow the directions or recommendations of a communicator to whom they attribute relevant expertise. Social Proof states that people are more willing to take a recommended action if they see evidence that many others, especially similar others, are taking it. Scarcity states that people find objects and opportunities more attractive to the degree that they are scarce, rare, or dwindling in availability. Finally, Liking states that people prefer to say yes to those they like, such as those who are similar to them and who have complimented them.

Article

Pablo Briñol, Richard E. Petty, and Joshua J Guyer

The history of attitudes research can be organized into three main sections covering attitude definition and measurement, attitude-behavior relationships, and attitude change. First, an evaluation of the history of attitude measurement reveals three relatively distinct phases: an early phase in which the classic direct self-report procedures were developed, a middle phase focused on “indirect” assessment devices, and a modern phase in which various measures designed to capture people’s automatic or “implicit” attitudes have flourished. Second, the history of attitude-behavior correspondence can be organized also around three broad themes: an early period in which the presumed close association between attitudes and behaviors was largely an article of faith; a middle period in which some researchers concluded that little, if any, relationship existed between measures of attitudes and overt behaviors; and a more recent period in which the resolution of prior issues stimulated an explosion of research focused on identifying the moderators and psychological mechanisms responsible for attitude-behavior correspondence. Finally, the history of research and ideas regarding attitude change and persuasion can be organized around several prominent theories focused on distinct single processes, dual processes, or multiple processes, each of which are still used by contemporary attitudes researchers.

Article

Nick Chater and Mike Oaksford

The psychology of reasoning and argumentation studies how people reason and persuade others using language. Influenced by analytic philosophy, much early work focused on the degree to which verbal reasoning is captured by or diverges from classical deductive logic. From this viewpoint, human thinking can seem prone to substantial and systematic bias. Since 1994, verbal reasoning has been set in the context of uncertain, common-sense reasoning rather than deduction, and reasoning has been seen as continuous with the social challenge of real-world argumentation. From this perspective, the human ability to reason and argue with words is better considered not as flawed logical reasoning, but as often highly competent reasoning and persuasion in an uncertain and contested world.