Cognitive Responses in Persuasion

By Thomas M. Ostrom; Timothy C. Brock et al. | Go to book overview

4
Psychophysiological Functioning, Cognitive Responding, and Attitudes

John T. Cacioppo University of Iowa

Curt A. Sandman University of California-Irvine


INTRODUCTION

How are psychological phenomena such as attitudes and cognitive responses related to physiological processes? The question is thousands of years old and has frustrated generations of philosophers and scientists (cf. Uttal, 1975). Indeed, Schopenhauer ( 1788-1860) was moved by the magnitude and complexity of this question to call it the world knot. This puzzle continues to mystify philosophers and scientists. Recently, scientists, particularly psychologists, have broken this overall question down into smaller subquestions. Some of these subquestions have been deemed inappropriate for scientific study, whereas empirical evidence has been collected that bears on some of the remaining subquestions. In this chapter, we consider the present state of evidence and theory pertaining to physiological processes as they relate to attitudes and cognitive response.

In the first part of' this chapter, we discuss and evaluate some popular physiological techniques for measuring attitudes. These techniques can be added to the rating scale methods discussed in Chapter 2. In the second part, we show how cognitive responses may be reflected physiologically. In addition, a psychophysiological model of cognitive responses and attitudes is presented that illustrates that internal physiological factors may affect information processing and cognitive responding much like the external factor of distraction discussed in Chapter 3.

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