Discuss the relationship between persuasion and attitude change.
The procedure of changing attitudes to then furthermore change behaviour has led psychologists to develop research into the topic of how persuasion takes place.
The Hovland-Yale model was initially developed to persuade the American public for more support in the last stages of WW2. It was learnt that in order to persuade effectively, the need was to focus on who and what. Principally the content, the audience and the communicator. It was found that the most effective sources were experts as they had more credibility than non-experts, but also popular and attractive sources were more effective than unattractive sources. Bochner & Insko asked students to suggest how much sleep was needed, before showing them two different sources of information - an expert and a non-expert. Students were more persuaded by the expert even when it conflicted with their own beliefs. Another finding from the model found that messages are more effective if the audience feels that their main purpose is not to persuade. Also, if a message contains a moderate level of fear it becomes more successful. McGuire also found that there was a primacy effect in messages. His research found that when he was trying to persuade students to join a course, he was more persuasive if he gave the positive points first. The final factor involved in the Hovland-Yale model is audience factors. It was seen that moderately intelligent audience members were more easily persuaded and when aiming at high intelligence audience members, it would be more effective to present both sides of the argument.
The Elaboration-Likelihood model focuses on the message itself and splits this into two sections. Whether the audience focuses on the main content of the message or if they focus on other factors such as the communicator giving the message. Petty et al. called this the central and peripheral route. The central route audience members focus on...
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