Wednesday, October 20, 2004

10 16

Roloff 10 16

Process Models of Persuasion

1) Incentive Approach or Message/Learning Approach – People must remember the message, and then be given incentive to comply. Simplicity and Explicitness - tested for effectiveness, sometimes explicitness was offensive when conclusion was obvious. Repetition - can lead to “wearing out” if repetition is excessive. Wear-out can be mitigated with variety. Incentives – fear was a great motivator; the best way to get people to comply is to scare them. Other theories suggested moderation, or that fear was a negative. Conclusion was that Message/Learning effectiveness was inconsistent.
2) Cognitive Response Approach – Shifts focus from message to the audience, called a self-persuasion model. Message makes one think, and the thoughts generated determine level of persuasion. Four types of thoughts: 1) Counter arguments; 2) Supportive arguments; 3) Neutral Thoughts; 4) Irrelevant Thoughts. Cognitive Response suggests that people have Own-ness bias, that their own thoughts are better than others’. Therefore, the fact that people may not pay attention to a message doesn’t diminish the effectiveness of the message, as long as the thoughts generated are positive. - It is better, according to CR, when people remember the thoughts associated with a message than remember the message itself, what they were thinking at the time they heard the message. People should be encouraged to remember the “gist”. - People who are preaching to the choir, who do a so-so job presenting a position, are more effective than good presenters who have to convince a group that holds a contrary position; more thinking is required for persuasion. – Forewarning, or anticipatory attitude change, causes people to change their attitudes from intense to the middle…the middle ground creates less conflict. – Distraction – makes the message less effective, more attention paid to the distraction. “Salient Cue” can sometime make delivery effective if a positive cue. - With each repetition, the response to the message becomes more negative. – Personal connections lead to positive responses.

3) Ellen Langer developed the Theory of Mindlessness – people will choose mindlessness over mindfulness, and most hours are spent in a mindless state. Mindfulness requires effort, (cognitive control can be generated by suggesting that a person not think about something, then give them another task, which is difficult because of the cognitive effort required not to think of something) and often causes one to think of bad things…people in the U.S. dwell on negative things. Not thinking becomes an escape. “Rumination” the intrusiveness of negative thoughts and the difficulty in getting rid of negative thoughts. Women ruminate more than men. Women think more about their jobs. Rumination is bad for you! No new insights come from rumination. What forms does mindlessness take? 1) Complete Shutdown – stronger = not thinking at all, weaker = not thinking about immediate environment. The job is where shutdown, especially in highly routinized jobs, is common. Langer’s study focused on behavior at a copier, and someone who wanted to get make his or her copy first...some had few copies to make, some had a time limit, some gave a placebic explanation like “I need to make copies”. Reason was important when many copies needed to be made by the other, resistance to placebic explanation, few copies got compliance. Other study, secretaries given a memo that asked to be delivered to a room that didn’t exist, unusual looking memo got people to think about the fact that the room didn’t exist, a typical-looking memo had people looking for the room. Langer studies showed that seniors in a nursing home creates a routine that leads to mindlessness, and therefore depression and risk of physical harm. She also mixed up pictures in seniors’ rooms, it got them angry but stimulated cognitive activity. Langer believes we avoid mindfulness, but mindfulness is good for us. Langer’s studies called into question Cognitive Response theories that suggested that we are always thinking.

4) ELM – Elaboration Likelihood Theory – Everyone wants to hold an accurate view, but we know we don’t have all the information we need. Two paths to persuasion 1) Central Path – motivated to think about the message, a desire to understand the message. In Central Path, strong arguments matter to persuasion. Watching would be equivalent to reading a transcript of a presidential debate. 2) Peripheral Path – Most people are on this path, focus on prominent feature of the situation to infer what to believe. Facial features and body language would be important when watching presidential debates on peripheral path. What causes people to choose a path? Need for Cognition – some people like to think! Need to Criticize – people who analyze and pick-apart. Topic of persuasion has consequences for people affects persuasion, as does mood. Whether a person is by him or herself or in a group affects persuasion; a persuasive message is considered for less time by people in groups, and when they are relaxed. ELM tells us more about what is done while in Central Path…in response HSM was developed – Heuristic Systems Model – Heuristics are quick and dirty decision making algorithms. The Expert Heuristic – Competence counts. The Trust Heuristic – I trust this person, so what he or she says is probably true. The Length Heuristic – A longer message is likelier to be considered true. The Agreement Heuristic – The more people who agree, the likelier it is to be considered true. Laugh tracks bolster mediocre jokes. Likeability Heuristic – I like this person, so what he or she says is true. Faster speakers are more credible, a speech heuristic. (Except in Deep South) Most people are in more than one, or move between, Heuristics. When systematic approach leads to overload/conflicting information, heuristics are leaned-on.

Brehm’s Theory of Psychological Reactance

We want to believe that we have the freedom to choose. When our freedom to choose is limited, we are aroused, and do something to restore our freedom. Multiple ways to restore freedom:

1) Decide is to do the opposite of what is being proposed.
2) Imagine defying the position.
3) Encouraging others to resist
4) Act like they can defy, even if they can’t.

Felt Competency – People will do what they think they do well.

Denial of Freedom can be mitigated with a milder message.


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