Attitude Persuasion

Topics: Psychology, Social psychology, Attitude change Pages: 5 (1581 words) Published: March 20, 2013

The word attitude is an expression of favor or disfavor toward a person, place, thing, or event. Prominent psychologist Gordon Allport (1935) once described attitude “the most distinctive and indispensable concept in contemporary psychology”. The words attitude and persuasion are often found together, as in the phrase persuasion and attitude change. Persuasion is an attempt to change people's attitudes. For example, advertisers try to persuade potential customers to buy a product. To do this, they try to create a positive attitude toward the product. Social psychologists have emphasized that an attitude is preparation for behavior. Otherwise, nobody would care about attitudes. An advertiser would not try to make you feel more “positive” or “liking” toward a product unless this was assumed to affect your likelihood of buying the product. Attitude as an inward feeling expressed by outward behavior. People always project on the outside what they feel on the inside. But some people try to mask their attitude. You have developed attitudes about such issues, and these attitudes influence your beliefs as well as your behavior. Attitudes are an important topic of study within the field of social psychology. What exactly is an attitude? How does it develop? Studies show that how psychologists define this concept, how attitudes influence our behavior and things we can do to change attitudes. Definitions

i. A settled way of thinking or feeling typically reflected in a person's behavior. A position of the body proper to or implying an action or mental state: “the boy was standing in an attitude of despair”. ii. Attitude is “a relatively enduring organization of beliefs, feelings, and behavioral tendencies towards socially significant objects, groups, events or symbols” (Hogg & Vaughan 2005, p. 150) iii. “A psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favor or disfavor” (Eagly & Chaiken, 1993, p. 1) Explanation

An attitude is a cognition (form of thought) that is formed through experience and influences our behavior. The fact that attitudes are formed through experience means that we can, potentially, change them. When a persuader gives a message to an audience member, that message becomes part of the listener’s experience, and it can affect his or her attitudes. The fact that attitudes influence our behavior means that we can use persuasion as a means to achieve our goals -- when the behavior, or actions, or others can help attain those goals. Attitudes have two basic components: beliefs and values. Beliefs are, roughly, statements of facts. Beliefs are potentially verifiable. We say a belief is true or correct when it seems to reflect the world and false or incorrect when it seems contradicted by the world. Values are judgments of worth, like good or bad, useful or useless, expensive or cheap, efficient or inefficient. Together, these cognitions (thoughts), beliefs and values, form attitudes. (M.Clubertson, 1968)Attitudes are learned from experience and also influence our behavior. A person’s attitude is a composite of all the relevant belief/value pairs, with the more important ones influencing the attitude more. You can change a person’s attitude by changing either the belief or the value (but not both), or by creating new belief/value pairs (or by changing the relative importance of belief/value pairs). Persuasion is, quite simply, the use of messages to influence an audience. The messages that make up persuasive discourse are instrumental, or means to ends or goals of the persuader. Companies use persuasion in the form of advertising to convince consumers to buy their products or services. Students use persuasion to convince their parents to increase their allowance, or let them go to see a particular movie, or to let them use the car. Parents can use persuasion to get their children to study or to clean up their rooms. People use persuasion...

References: Crano, W. (2005). Attitude and Persuasion. California: Claremont Graduate University.
Clubertson, H. (1968). Attitudes. Journal of Cooperative Extension, 79.
Murchinson,C. (1985). Handbook of Social Psychology. Clark University Press
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