Chapter Eight - My Illinois State

Chapter Eight
Theories of Message
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
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)
Extension of Reasoned Action:
Theory of Planned Behavior
Perc’d Beh.
Classic Models of Persuasion:
Social Judgment Theory
Developed by M. Sherif, C. Sherif, and
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”
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?
Elaboration Likelihood Model
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
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
Ability. People must have the ability and
be in a situation where central processing
is possible
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.”
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
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
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
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
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)
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 healthrelated messages, but it has wide possible
application in communication
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
Evaluative judgments involve an
assessment of the relative good/bad
outcome of a state of affairs
Not independent assessments
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
Four forms of integration are proposed as
Divergence, uncertainty, ambivalence, and
Problematic Integration (Table 8.1)
Divergence—Discrepancy between probability &
evaluative judgments
Uncertainty—Unknowns so can’t make judgments
Ambivalence—Mutually exclusive alternatives
(similar evaluation or different)
Impossibility—an event will not happen
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
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”
Applications: PSAs
(I learned it by…)
a/p/339.aspx (Shoulders)
a/p/324.aspx (Fiction)
&feature=related (I’m trying it …) (just once)
I (shower)
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