Attitudes and Persuasion: Classic and Contemporary Approaches

By Richard E. Petty; John T. Cacioppo | Go to book overview

Retrospective

In this chapter we have presented an approach to persuasion that focuses on the role of information in changing peoples' attitudes and on how people combine the information they receive into an overall impression. Common to all of the theories covered in this chapter is the view that an attitude is based on the information or beliefs that a person has about the attitude object. The probabilogical theories with which we began our discussion emphasized the interrelationships among a person's beliefs and how the change in one belief could lead to a change in others. These belief changes were shown to be governed by both logical and "wishful" thought processes. The theory of reasoned action viewed an attitude as a weighted sum of the information that a person had about an attitude object; and it further indicated that a person's behaviors were based on a consideration of one's own attitude and one's perceptions of the views of important other people. The theory of information integration was shown to allow description of a wide range of attitudinal phenomena with the fundamental principle that an attitude was best represented as a weighted average of information about an attitude object. The next chapter also emphasizes the role of information in persuasion but focuses on the information that people generate themselves rather than on information presented by external sources.


Notes
1
The term psycho-logic is used to imply that the actual syllogisms comprising a person's belief structure do not necessarily follow the formal rules of logic and probability. Instead, the conclusion of the syllogism may "follow from" the premises only in the mind of the person ( Abelson & Rosenberg, 1958).
2
The probability of an event can range from 0 (no chance of occurring) to 1 (certain to occur). In this instance, it is impossible to assign an objective probability to the event, and therefore a subjective probability is employed. Thus, different people might assign different probabilities to the same event.
3
McGuire labels the probabilities associated with the two premises p(a) and p(b) and the probability associated with the conclusion p(c). Thus, p(c) = [p(c/(a & b)) p (a & b)] + [p (c/(a & b)) p (a & b)] ( McGuire, 1981). Although McGuire's and Wyer's models make the same predictions, Wyer ( 1975) notation is somewhat easier to use.
4
Of course, intentions will not predict behaviors perfectly because some behaviors are not under the complete control of the actor. For example, Fred may intend to marry Ethel, but whether he does or not depends on Ethel's intentions also.
5
Fishbein and Ajzen ( 1975) argue that although a person may hold a very large number of beliefs about any given attitude object, only a relatively small number of salient beliefs (5-9) will generally serve as determinants of attitude at any given moment in time. Of course given more time or incentive, a greater number of beliefs may be taken into account.

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Attitudes and Persuasion: Classic and Contemporary Approaches
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword xiii
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • 1: Introduction to Attitudes and Persuasion 3
  • Notes 37
  • Conditioning and Modeling Approaches 2 39
  • Notes 57
  • The Message-Learning Approach 3 59
  • Notes 93
  • Judgmental Approaches 4 95
  • Notes 123
  • 5: Motivational Approaches 125
  • Notes 160
  • 6: Attributional Approaches 163
  • Notes 181
  • Combinatory Approaches 7 183
  • Notes 211
  • 8: Self-Persuasion Approaches 213
  • Notes 252
  • Epilog: A General Framework for Understanding Attitude Change Processes 9 255
  • Notes 268
  • References 271
  • Author Index 301
  • Subject Index 309
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