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Textbook Site for:
Social Psychology , Sixth Edition
Sharon S. Brehm - Indiana University
Saul Kassin - Williams College
Steven Fein - Williams College
Chapter Outlines - Attitudes

I. The Study of Attitudes
A. How Attitudes Are Measured
1. Self-report measures
a) many types of scales; the Likert scale is the most common
b) the bogus pipeline provides evidence that self-reports are often biased
2. Covert measures
a) facial electromyograph - measures minute movement of face muscles
b) electroencephalograph (EEG): measures electrical impulses in the brain
B. Link Between Attitudes and Behavior
1. People may not act according to their attitudes
2. Attitudes in context
a) behavior is influenced by attitudes toward specific behaviors
b) behavior is influenced not only by attitudes, but also by subjective norms
c) attitudes lead to behavior only when we perceive the behavior to be within our control
d) attitudes lead to an intention to behave, but people often cannot or will not follow through on their intentions
3. Strength of attitude: strong attitudes seem to be more closely related to behaviors
II. Persuasion by Communication
A. Two Routes to Persuasion
1. The central route to persuasion: the process in which a person thinks carefully about communication and is influenced by the strength of arguments
2. The peripheral route to persuasion: the process in which a person does not think carefully about a communication and is influenced instead by superficial cues
3. Route selection: people must be able and motivated to take the central route
B. The Source: Factors Related to the Source that Affect Persuasion
1. Credibility: credible, trustworthy communicators are more persuasive
2. Likability: likable, attractive, similar communicators are more persuasive
3. When what you say is more important than who you are - the sleeper effect - over time a noncredible source can increase in persuasiveness
4. The Sleeper Effect
C. The Message: Factors Related to the Message that Affect Persusion
1. Informational strategies
a) primacy effect: messages heard first are more persuasive if the messages are presented together and the decision is made later
b) recency effect: messages heard second are more persuasive if there is a delay between presentation of the messages and decisions are made right after the second message
2. Message discrepancy: a moderately extreme message is usually most effective
3. Fear appeals: work if there is reassuring advice on how to avoid the threatened danger
4. Positive emotions: positive emotions can promote persuasion
5. Subliminal messages: have little if any persuasive impact
D. The Audience
1. Individual and group differences: What turns you on?
a) need for cognition: people high in need for cognition are more likely to process information through the central route to persuasion
b) self-monitoring: high self-monitors are particularly responsive to messages that promise desired social images
c) the cultural context: persuasion is more likely when messages are in line with the culturally shared values of the audience
2. Forewarning: Ready or not, here I come!
a) forewarned audiences are the hardest to persuade
b) inoculation hypothesis: people who are exposed to a weak argument against their views are more resistant to a later strong argument
III. Persuasion by Our Own Actions
A. Role Playing: All the World’s a Stage Role Playing Can Lead to Attitude Change
B. Cognitive Dissonance Theory: The Classic Version
1. Cognitive dissonance: an unpleasant psychological state often aroused when a person holds two conflicting cognitions
2. Justifying attitude-discrepant behavior: When doing is believing
a) insufficient justification: when people freely perform an attitude-discrepant behavior without a large reward
b) insufficient deterrence: when people refrain from engaging in a desirable activity even when only mild punishment is threatened
3. Justifying effort: Coming to like what we suffer for
4. Justifying difficult decisions: When good choices get even better
C. Cognitive Dissonance Theory: A New Look
1. Attitude discrepant behavior must produce negative consequences
2. People must feel personally responsible for attitude-discrepant behaviors
a) they must feel they chose the action
b) they must believe the outcomes were foreseeable
3. People must feel physiological arousal
4. People must attribute the arousal they feel to their own behavior
D. Alternative Routes to Self-Persuasion
1. Self-perception theory: people make attributions about their own behaviors in the same way they make attributions about other people’s behaviors
2. Impression-management theory: people change their attitudes so they don’t look foolish in front of others, so they appear consistent or aren’t held responsible
3. Self-affirmation theory: people change their attitudes to maintain a positive overall image of themselves