Influence Social Media Inchanging Public Perception

Topics: Elaboration likelihood model, Attitude change, Persuasion Pages: 12 (4145 words) Published: June 24, 2013
During the war, psychologist Carl Hovland had investigated the relationship of communication to attitude assessment. The assumption that attitudes could predict behaviors was a major break with Skinners brand of behaviorism. According to research on attitude change, human behavior is guided by many constraints, but among the most important are attitudes. Moreover, contemporary persuasion research still views attitude change as one key to changing behavior. The question for researchers then becomes. Hovland attempted to isolate many of the factors leading to effective persuasion through an ambitious program of research. The Yale group assumed that people would change their attitudes if provided with sufficient reinforcement for or evidence in support of the change. In other words, people need motivation to process information that will change their existing attitudes and the actions that flow from those attitudes. The researchers maintained that persuasion passed through a chain of five steps or stage.

According to information-processing theory, attitude change accurs in five steps. First is Attention. If persuades do not attend to a message, they cannot be persuaded by it. Second is Comprehension. If persuaded do not understand or comprehend a message, they cannot be persuaded by it. Third is Acceptance. If persuades reject the message after attending to and comprehending it, they will no be persuaded. Fourth is Retention. Most of the time, persuaded have to withhold action for some time after comprehending and accepting the message. They therefore must retain or remember the message until the time comes to act on it and lastly is Action. The specific behavioral change or action requested in the message must be in accordance with the accepted and retained appeals. The Yale approach assumes that people act in logical ways that are consistent with the argument of persuader.

Although each of these elements in the persuasive process is important to the success or failure of a message, most of the researchers conducting studies in the Yale tradition focused on the third step-the acceptance stage. In other words, they tried to discover what factors most powerfully lead to acceptance or rejection of a message.

The ELM revitalized researchers interest in persuasion. The term elaboration refers to a continuum of the conscious scrutiny used in making an evaluative judgment. Elaboration involves both the motivation and the ability to process information. Even though you possess exceptional ability to process information, that ability goes to waste if you are not motivated to process the information. Thus, it is important to consider both elements in devising a persuasive strategy. This elaboration continuum is represented on each end by one of two routers of elaboration continuum is defined by the central route of information processing, which accurs as a result of a person’s careful and thoughtful considerations of the true merits of the information present. It is a slower, more deliberative, high effort mode of information processing that uses systematic reasoning. When persons use the central route, it is clear that they consciously involved in thinking. Petty and Wegener (1999) maintain that not only is the greater amount of thinking being done at the high end but elaboration at the high end involves a kind of thinking that adds something beyond the original information. At the high end of this continuum, people are making the best-reasoned judgments they can make based on scrutiny of the information available.

On the low end of the elaboration continuum, people use the peripheral processing route, which involves much less cognitive effort. It may also involves simple classical conditioning or the use of mental shortcuts known as heuristics, which we will discuss later. It definitely involves a lot less effort and often...
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