Timothy C. Brock Ohio State University
It has been almost half a century since Gordon Allport ( 1935) wrote that "attitude is probably the most distinctive and indispensable concept in contemporary social psychology [p. 798]." A quick perusal of the contents of any current text in social psychology will reveal that more attention is devoted to the topic of attitudes and persuasion than to any other area. Social psychologists have emphasized the empirical investigation of attitudes because of the directing role attitudes play in determining social behaviors. Other disciplines are interested in the study of attitudes and persuasion because of its direct practical relevance for understanding and predicting such phenomena as consumer behavior, the effectiveness of advertising campaigns, the results of political elections, jury decisions, psychotherapy outcomes, and so forth.
This volume is an advanced undergraduate/introductory graduate textbook dealing with attitude change from the perspective of mediating and accompanying cognitive responses. Cognitive response analysis, the volume's unifying theme, stems from the long-standing and widespread interest in elucidating the fundamental cognitive processes that are instigated by a persuasive message. In his excellent chapter on attitudes and persuasion in The Handbook of Social Psychology, McGuire ( 1969a) proposed that two schools of research techniques and interests have