Attitude Change and Cognitive Dissonance
  back to Course Activities     -      back to 7670 Homepage
 


 

1. How are the advertisers trying to influence you to buy these two products?


 
 


2. Advertisements are one common form of persuasion. However, most individuals do not
    know of or take the time to examine the forms of persuasion that are commonly used in
    advertisements. Watch three different commercials and note the forms of persuasion by
    using this form.

3. Sometimes we think hard about a message, especially when it is relevant to us, but sometimes we
    we think very little about a message. Both ways have been shown to affect persuasion. The Dual
    Process Models of Persuasion incorporate both ways the attitude change process can occur. The
    two dual process models of persuasion are: the Elaboration Likelihood Model and the
    Heuristic-Systematic Model. The two models differ little, but they have a lot in common as you
    can see.


 

4. As you can imagine, the source of the persuasive communication and the message itself are
    important factors in the persuasion process. But, the successful persuader will always take
    into account of the audience in order to increase the success of his or her persuasive message.
    One "audience" characteristic that affects the success of persuasive messages is the need for
    cognition. The need for cognition is a personality variable that discriminates the "audience"
    on the basis of how much they enjoy thinking. Cacioppo and Petty (1982) developed a
    Need for Cognition Scale that measures how much people enjoy engaging in effortful cognitive
    activities. Items 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 16, and 17 are reverse scored so that higher scores
    indicate greater enjoyment of engaging in effortful cognitive activities. Research has demonstrated
    that people who are high in the need for cognition are more persuaded by the central route to
    persuasion; whereas, people low in the need for cognition are more presuaded by the peripheral
    route to persuasion.

5. You may be thinking that the attitude one has toward a product/service/person etc. is a strong
    predictor of how that person will react to that product/service/person etc. For a period of time
    in social psychology, the link between attitudes and behavior was quite poor. For example,
    Warner and DeFleur (1969) found that when White students were asked to go on a date with a
    Black student most agreed to the request. However, two weeks later their attitudes toward
    dating a Black student were assessed again and those students who believed their commitment to
    the date would be made public refused to go on the date. Many studies during this period found
    that a very weak relationship between the attitude a person held toward performing a behavior
    and actually performing it.

    One notable exception to this pattern was the rather strong relationship between a person's
    attitude toward a candidate and their actual vote. Schuman and Johnson (1976) found that a
    person's attitude toward a candidate predicted very well whether they actually voted for that
    candidate. What are some of the possible reasons for the strong attitude-behavior relationship
    and voting behavior?