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Chapter Eight

Chapter Eight

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Chapter Eight

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  1. Chapter Eight Theories of Message Processing

  2. Classic Models of Persuasion:Cognitive Dissonance Theory • Developed by Festinger • Individuals have a need for consistency between attitudes and behaviors • When we behave in inconsistent ways, we feel discomfort • Thus, if we behave in an inconsistent way, we might change our attitudes to match behavior

  3. Classic Models of Persuasion:Theory of Reasoned Action • Developed by Fishbein and Ajzen • Argues that best predictor of behavior is behavioral intention (BI) • BI is predicted by attitude (sum of weighted beliefs: pos. & neg.) and by subjective norms (influence of others in the social environment)

  4. Extension of Reasoned Action: • Theory of Planned Behavior Attitude Behavioral Intention Behavior Subjective Norms Perc’d Beh. Control

  5. Classic Models of Persuasion:Social Judgment Theory • Developed by M. Sherif, C. Sherif, and colleagues • Proposes that statements about a particular “attitude object” can be arrayed to include latitudes of acceptance, rejection, and noncommitment • Attitude change will be influenced by how new messages fit among these “latitudes”

  6. Example • In Illinois, “It is unlawful to carry or possess any firearm on any public street or other public lands within the corporate limits of a city, village, or incorporated town, except law enforcement officers...” • This law should be changed. • What is your latitude of acceptance? • What is your latitude of rejection? • What is your latitude of noncommitment? Acceptance non-com Rejection

  7. Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) • Developed by Petty and Cacioppo • Two routes to persuasion-- • Central route involves careful scrutiny of message logic and arguments • Peripheral route involves consideration of cues in the message environment such as source credibility and message design

  8. Which Route Do We Take? • ELM proposes that people will take the central or peripheral route based on several factors • Motivation. If people see the message as relevant, they will be motivated to process centrally • Ability. People must have the ability and be in a situation where central processing is possible

  9. Outcomes of the Two Routes • Messages processed through the central route lead to attitude change that is “relatively enduring, resistant, and predictive of behavior.” • Messages processed through the peripheral route lead to attitude change that will be “relatively temporary, susceptible [to change], and unpredictive of behavior.”

  10. ELM: Critiques of the Model • There has been a great deal of research stemming from ELM • ELM has also been criticized: • First, many critics point out that it is possible to take both routes to persuasion • Second, many critics believe the ELM is difficult to falsify

  11. Heuristic-Systematic Model • Developed by Chaiken • Another dual processing model • Systematic processing (like central route in ELM) • Heuristic processing (simple decision rules—not much effort in processing) • Experts can be trusted • Consensus implies correctness • When consistent, additive effects • When inconsistent, systematic supercedes, when person is highly motivated

  12. Inoculation Theory: • Originally proposed by McGuire, has been developed by Pfau and Burgoon • Inoculation Theory is a theory of resistance to persuasion based on the analogy of biological inoculation against disease

  13. Components of the Process • Threat: A forewarning that a challenge to existing attitudes is possible or likely • Refutational preemption: A message in which specific challenges to existing attitudes are raised and refuted • Booster Messages are sometimes included in the inoculation process as well

  14. The Process and Tests • Inoculation Theory proposes that when you are presented with a warning and weak arguments against one of your beliefs, you will be able to fight off that attack and subsequent attacks • Tests of the theory provide some support, but only in limited circumstances (e.g., adolescent smoking behavior)

  15. Problematic Integration Theory • Problematic Integration Theory (PIT) proposed by Babrow as a more general theory of how individuals receive, process, and make sense of messages • PIT has most often been applied to health-related messages, but it has wide possible application in communication

  16. What is being Integrated? • PIT proposes two kinds of judgments about events and issues in our lives • Probabilistic judgments involve an assessment of how likely something is to occur • Evaluative judgments involve an assessment of the relative good/bad outcome of a state of affairs • Not independent assessments

  17. When is Integration Problematic? • The integration of some judgments is not problematic (e.g., high likelihood of a positive event or low likelihood of negative event) • Four forms of integration are proposed as problematic: Divergence, uncertainty, ambivalence, and impossibility

  18. Problematic Integration (Table 8.1) • Divergence—Discrepancy between probability & evaluative judgments • Example? • Uncertainty—Unknowns so can’t make judgments • Example? • Ambivalence—Mutually exclusive alternatives (similar evaluation or different) • Example? • Impossibility—an event will not happen • Example?

  19. PIT & Communication • Communication serves as a medium and a resource for problematic integration (language constitutes problematic and evaluative judgments) • Comm. is a channel through which perceptions and beliefs about problematic integration flow. • Communication helps resolve the problems

  20. Applications • Health communication • Social support groups—e.g., may be good to increase uncertainty about prognosis of breast cancer if original diagnosis was bad • End-of-life decisions—Information to help patients cope rather than to make “informed” choices.

  21. Applications: PSAs • (I learned it by…) • (Shoulders) • (Fiction) • (I’m trying it …) • (just once) • (shower)