Monday, October 25, 2004

10 22

Roloff - 10 22

Classical Approaches to Persuasion

1) Individual Differences – a) Gender – in 50s and 60s studies, men were more resistant to persuasion. Studies were designed poorly, men were better informed about topics discussed – tires for car, life insurance – didn’t mean that women were more persuadable. In 70s gender specific topics were added “female topics” – roles reversed. Gender and persuasion studies have been dropped because differences can’t be easily explained. b) Age – Older were expected to be less persuadable, young easier to persuade. Young = 18-25, so recent study banded ages, 18-35, 36-50, et al, and elderly. There wasn’t a linear relationship between age and persuadability. Young are easier to persuade than 18-35, 36-50. Middle age (36-50) are the hardest to persuade, harder than the elderly. There isn’t a definitive explanation for this, but it may be because the elderly are looking for stimulation. (Kate Peters suggested a cohort effect, whereby a group stays skeptical throughout life, not change with age). c) IQ – Dumb people are easy to persuade – mixed results, no consistent finding on IQ. d) Self-esteem – no clear differences.
2) McGuire – provided an inconsistent model of persuasion – Stages referred to as probabilities: 1) Probability that a message will be sent – Dating couples didn’t tell each other what bothered them about their partners. 2) Probability that the message will be received – that the message arrives, not necessarily read/processed 3) The probability that there will be attention – not necessarily detailed attention, but the message is processed. 4) The probability of comprehension 5) The probability that the message will be accepted - agreement. 6) The probability that the message will be translated into behavior – that the message will be acted upon. 7) the probability that the change will be remembered or retained. The probabilities can break down at any one of the steps. Individual characteristics can influence the steps, e.g. a high-IQ individual will get more messages, read and process it, but will be more critical (step 5) Low IQ people will get and process fewer messages, but may be more inclined to uncritically accept them. Moderate IQ in mid-self-esteem (intelligence and self-esteem are correlated) are the easiest to persuade, because of their mix of reach-ability and critical assessment of the message.
3) Social Judgment Approach – The reason persuasion fails is that the person asking for change is asking for too much. For any issue, we have a favorite, or Anchor position, and latitude of acceptance, or all of the other positions we’d be willing to accept. There is the latitude of non-commitment, which are positions we don’t either favor or disapprove of, or issues about which we’re ambivalent. The latitude of rejection are the positions we are opposed to. The contrast effect suggests that the stronger one feels about a position, the wider the differnce between oneself and a differing position seems. Ego-involvement makes it harder to persuade.
4) Attributional Approach – When someone asks me to change, I ask myself what’s in it for them; we look for their biases. Shaken and Eagley suggest that there are people whose motives we’d be inclined to automatically judge because we know they seek an angle, but we do it automatically. Two biases – 1) Knowledge Bias – persuader believes that they are telling you the truth, but really isn’t 2) Reporting Bias – knowledge that there is something to gain by persuader, tactic by persuader is to mitigate the idea that they are pursuing their own self-interest. Deception is suspected when the persuader has something to gain.
5) Katz’s Functional Theory – 1) Instrumental – my attitude allows me to get rewards and avoid punishments. 2) Social Adjustment – I hold my attitude because it allows me to fit in. 3) Ego Defense – I hold my attitude because it enables me to avoid something bad about myself. 4) Knowledge Function – I hold my attitude because I am competent, familiar when I hold the attitude. 5) Value Expression – I hold my attitude because it is consistent with my values. Ego-involvement is an example. Persuasion fails when it doesn’t match the function that is the source of the resistance. Cialdini research on the theft of Petrified Forest wood, a sign that gave the number of pounds of petrified wood was posted, and it had no effect on behavior of visitors to the park. A sign asking them not to steal the wood didn’t help. Injunctive norms, a message suggesting that people disapproved of theft, were effective. Another of Cialdini’s studies gave advantages of recycling at hotels, one said that most people approve of recycling; another listed the advantages of recycling. The sign that suggested that the norm was recycling was the most persuasive. “Bandwagon Effect”. Descriptive norms alone weren’t effective, because they lack consequences.

Contextual Models of Persuasion

Anthony Downs – Research for Rand Corp., (govt.) all employees are to some degree self-interested, but some people consider what’s good for the organization. There is a typology:

1) Purely Self-Interested – don’t care about the organization – two types: A) Climbers – wants to maximize his or her salary, power, and prestige. They get what they want by: 1) rapid promotion 2) aggrandize – gauges what’s valuable to the organization, move to get it 3) Jump – they leave the organization and take a job elsewhere. Climbers are inherently pro-change, because it disrupts the existing power and influence structure. B) Conservers – keep their salary, power, and prestige. Most are trapped in middle managements and are middle-aged. Conservers follow rules, resist change. As a group, they can stifle change. Many were once climbers, but are becoming irrelevant, and resist. “Age lumps” – air traffic controllers, NASA are examples, many are hired with same age and credentials, leads to a large number of conservers, first are those in the age cohort who don’t get promoted. Mixed Motives – Three types of mixed motive employee 1) Advocate – When it comes to dealing with one’s unit, you are politically neutral on the inside, promote every specialty within his or her unit, but biased when they deal with administrators from different units. 2) Statesman – committed to the overall organization, not own unit. 3) The Zealot – Highly committed to and idea, practice, or policy. They have many contacts, lots of energy, but become tiresome, annoy and alienate others…wanted during change because of their contacts and energy. Conservers must be persuaded to change over time, “Behavioral Drift.”


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