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D6 Discussion Forum – Cog Theory of Persuasion
Discuss the ELM and give examples of how you were persuaded using the
Central and Periphral routes. (APA style format)
Respond to following 2 posts:
The Elaboration Likelihood Model is a model of persuasion that was conducted by
Richard E. Petty and John Cacioppo to learn about and describe the change of
attitudes. ELM is divided into two routes. The first route is the central route. The
central route is the strong route that is mostly straight forward. This route requires the
involvement of the person who is observing. The person who is observing will be
required to think and think of whatever they are observing from every angle. This
route would not be for someone who gets easily distracted or whoever just simply
doesn’t get the message of what they are viewing. The second route is peripheral
route. The peripheral route is the much weaker route. This route doesn’t require that
much involvement from the person who is observing. In this route, people tend to
don’t know whether to agree or disagree with the message. Or that person may not
know how to interpret that message.
My example of how I was persuaded was through the peripheral route. I just bought a
new MacBook and I honestly don’t trust myself with a bare laptop without a
protective cover. So I decide to go on amazon to look for a basic hard cover for my
computer. But as I’m searching through the regular hard covers, I stumble upon this
purple cover that has a lot of glitter on it. Purple is my favorite color and glitter make
everything better. The only thing about this laptop cover is that it only the bottom part
is hard and the top, purple, glittery part is only a big sticker you put on the top of the
computer. Long story short, I ended up buying the purple one just because of it’s
appearance. I should have thought about the durability instead of appearance.
I am going to start off with an example of the Periphral route to persuasion. Let me begin by
saying I felt like a complete ^ss after this transaction and I still do. My son needed a new
baseball glove. Every glove I’ve had my whole life was purchased for no more than $40 at a
local sporting goods store and I did just fine with them but no, I need to break tradition and go to
a special glove provider. Here are some words from his site—‘ Glovewhisperer is a rapidly
expanding highly respected Brand with a national and international customer base of over 50,000
satisfied players, coaches and parents. We are the leader in Glove Conditioning Services and a
trusted adviser for our clients equipment needs.’
I spoke to the owner and he was a super nice guy..just like in the chapter 5 video he was likable
guy. I know some things about baseball gloves but he knew far more than I did, as he should, it’s
his business. Even though I knew that I was still impressed—see forewarning page 174. He told
me all about how this glove is better suited for a small hand–my son is 9–and how well he will
do with it. (Disclaimer—my son isn’t as much of a sports guy as I am so I was really looking to
wow him with something special) I was sold on this guy, how likable he was, how
knowledgeable he was and also that he was only a few towns over from me. I completely lost
sight of who my son was. In conclusion, my son is still prefers to use my old $40 glove from 20
years ago and the brand new $120 glove that is specifically designed for a small hand now sits at
the bottom of his baseball bag along with gum wrappers and several empty bags of sunflower
seeds. Can you say buyers remorse !?!?
My Central route to persuasion example isn’t nearly as entertaining and I’m sure is very
typical. The lease on my car was up so the search was on for a new one. I knew I wanted a
small SUV or truck but safety is a big concern for me as I have a young son. Checking website
after website, reviews and testimonials. safety ratings etc, etc. In the end it was a conversation I
had with a friend who happens to be a fire fighter. He not only responds to vehicle crashes but,
unbeknownst to me, instructs other fire fighters on how to use the Jaws of Life and other
equipment to get people out of wrecked vehicles. He told me the Chevy Equinox not only held
up very well in accidents but was a ‘beech’ to pull apart when they needed to cut someone out of
one…I’m sure you can guess what I leased.
ELM=Elaboration-likelihood model. It boils down to 2 basic pathways or routes. If it is
important and we have the appropriate amount of time to process the information it would go by
way of the Central route. Everything else will go by way of the Periphral route. (Page 171) Also
simply put by Chaiken (1982), Central route when elaboration likelihood is high and
Periphral when elaboration likelihood is low. Seems like they are going through a lot of trouble
to say we think more intently on things that are of importance to us and not so much on things
ATTITUDES: EVALUATING AND RESPONDING TO THE SOCIAL
Attitudes: Evaluating and Responding to the Social World (LO 5.1)
A. Attitudes are evaluations of various aspects of the social world.
1. Some attitudes are quite stable and resistant to change, while
others may be unstable and show considerable variability depending
on the situation.
2. Attitudes are evaluations of any aspect of the social world;
attitudes help us understand people’s responses to new stimuli.
3. Attitudes are of interest to social psychologists because they
a) You approach things you have positive attitude toward.
B. Explicit attitudes are consciously accessible attitudes that are
controllable and easy to report.
C. Implicit attitudes are unconscious associations between objects and
1. Many “color-blind,” or self-perceived egalitarian Americans,
will report positive explicit attitudes toward African-Americans.
However, they may also display negative involuntary evaluative
reactions—implicit attitudes—because it is almost impossible to grow
up in the United States without acquiring such negative racial
2. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) is a method for assessing
implicit attitudes by measuring one’s associations with various social
objects more or less readily with positive or negative descriptive
a) A criticism of the IAT is that it really assesses commonly
known connections between social groups and various
adjectives, even though the respondent might not actually
endorse the validity of those connections.
b) Recent research has revealed that the IAT is susceptible to
deliberate faking (Fiedler, Messner, & Bluemke, 2006).
D. Because attitudes influence behavior, knowing something about them
can help us to predict people’s overt actions in a wide range of contexts.
Attitude Formation: How Attitudes Develop (LO 5.2)
A. Social learning is the process through which we acquire new
information, forms of behavior, or attitudes from other persons.
B. Classical Conditioning: Learning Based on Association
1. Classical conditioning is a basic form of learning in which one
stimulus, initially neutral, acquires the capacity to evoke reactions
through repeated pairing with another stimulus. In a sense, one
stimulus becomes a signal for the presentation or occurrence of the
a) Unconditioned stimulus is a stimulus that evokes a
positive or negative response without substantial learning.
b) Conditioned stimulus is the stimulus that comes to stand
for or signal a prior unconditioned stimulus.
(1) For example, a child may see a parent react to a
member of a minority group with a frown. Initially,
members of a minority group are neutral for the
child. However, after repeated pairings of the frown and
the minority group, the child may acquire a negative
attitude toward members of that minority group.
2. Subliminal conditioning is classical conditioning of attitudes
by exposure to stimuli that are below individuals’ threshold of
C. Mere exposure explains that by having seen before, but not
necessarily remembering having done so, attitudes toward an object can
become more positive.
1. The illusion of truth effect – the mere repetition of information
creates a sense of familiarity and more positive attitudes.
D. Instrumental Conditioning: Rewards for the “Right” Views
1. Instrumental conditioning is a basic form of learning in which
responses that lead to positive outcomes, or which permit avoidance
of negative outcomes, are strengthened.
a) If a child expresses a view that is similar to their parents,
they will be rewarded, even if they do not fully understand the
attitude (e.g., favoring a particular political party).
b) Attitudes that are followed by positive outcomes tend to
be strengthened and are likely to be repeated, whereas attitudes
that are followed by negative outcomes are weakened, so their
likelihood of being expressed again is reduced.
c) When we enter into to new social networks – sets of
individual with whom we interact on a regular basis, our
previously held attitudes may change in order to be rewarded
for holding the novel attitudes of the new social network.
Observational Learning: Learning by Exposure to Others
1. Observational learning is a basic form of learning in which
individuals acquire new forms of behavior as a result of observing
a) For example, children may have a positive attitude toward
smoking if they see their parents smoking. This holds true even
if parents verbally warn their children away from smoking.
2. Social comparison is the process through which we compare
ourselves to others in order to determine whether our view of social
reality is, or is not, correct. (LO 5.3)
3. We are more likely to compare ourselves to reference groups—
groups of people with whom we identify and whose opinions we
a) Research findings indicate that hearing others who we see
as similar to ourselves state negative views about a group can
lead us to adopt similar attitudes—without ever meeting any
members of that group (Maio, Esses, & Bell, 1994; Terry, Hogg
& Duck, 1999). Attitudes are being shaped by our own desire to
be similar to people we like.
III. When and Why Do Attitudes Influence Behavior?
A. Social contextual factors can limit the extent to which attitudes alone
determine behavior. (LO 5.4).
1. Depending on the degree to which the action is public, and there
are potential social consequences, attitudes will differentially predict
a) You may say you like your friend’s tattoo, even if you
think it is horrible, to avoid hurting her feelings.
b) The certain we are of our attitudes the morel likely they
are to predict behavior.
2. Constraints on revealing our private attitudes can occur even
when we are with other people with whom we highly identify.
a) Pluralistic ignorance is when we collectively
misunderstand what attitudes others hold, and believe
erroneously that others have different attitudes than ourselves.
b) Sometimes college students hold negative attitudes toward
heavy drinking, but do not want to express them because the
mistakenly believe that most college students have more
positive attitudes toward drinking.
B. Vested interests
1. Vested interests are particularly likely affect judgment sand
behavior in the immediate context, whereas abstract values do so
when behavior is in the distant future.
C. Attitude Certainty: Importance of Clarity and Correctness (LO 5.5)
1. Attitude correctness is feeling one’s attitude is the valid or the
proper one to hold.
a) When a person learns that others share one’s attitudes, it
acts as justification for that attitude and thereby increases
2. Attitude clarity is being clear about what one’s attitude is.
a) The more often you are asked to report on your attitude,
the more it will facilitate clarity and thereby certainty.
3. Attitude clarity and correctness can be independently
manipulated and each independently contributes to resistance to
D. Role of Personal Experience (LO 5.5)
1. Evidence indicates that attitudes formed on the basis of direct
experience with the object about which we hold a particular attitude
can exert stronger effects on behavior than ones formed indirectly.
2. Attitudes based on personal relevance are more likely to be
elaborated on in terms of supporting arguments, and this makes them
resistant to change.
E. Existing evidence suggests that attitudes really do affect behavior. The
strength of this link is strongly determined by situational constraints, attitude
extremity, clarity, correctness, and personal experience.
IV. How Do Attitudes Guide Behavior?
A. Attitudes Arrived at through Reasoned Thought (LO 5.6)
1. Theory of reasoned action is a theory suggesting that the
decision to engage in a particular behavior is the result of a rational
process in which behavioral options are considered, consequences or
outcomes of each are evaluated, and a decision is reached to act or not
to act. That decision is then reflected in behavioral intentions, which
strongly influence overt behavior.
2. Theory of planned behavior is an extension of the theory of
reasoned action, suggesting that in addition to attitudes toward a given
behavior and subjective norms about it, individuals also consider their
ability to perform the behavior.
a) Recent research has made it clear that the intentionbehavior relationship is even stronger when people have formed
a plan for how and when they will translate their intentions into
(1) Implementation plan is a plan for how to
implement our intentions to carry out some action.
(2) This plan is determined by three factors:
(a) Attitudes toward the behavior—people’s
positive or negative evaluations of performing the
behavior (whether they think it will yield positive
or negative consequences).
(b) Subjective norms—people’s perceptions of
whether others will approve or disapprove of this
(c) Perceived behavioral control—people’s
appraisals of their ability to perform the behavior.
b) Reasoned action and planned behavior have been applied
to predicting behavior in many settings, with considerable
Attitudes and Spontaneous Behavioral Reactions (LO 5.6)
1. Attitude-to-behavior process model is a model of how
attitudes guide behavior that emphasizes that attitudes can influence
behavior in thoughtful and nonthoughtful ways.
a) Attitudes affect our behavior through at least two
mechanisms, and these operate under somewhat contrasting
(1) When we have time to engage in careful, reasoned
thought, we can weigh all the alternatives and decide
how we will act.
(2) Under hectic conditions of everyday life, we often
don’t have time for this kind of deliberate weighing of
alternatives, and often people’s responses appear to be
much faster than such deliberate thought processes can
account for and our attitudes seem to spontaneously
shape our perceptions of various events—often with very
little conscious cognitive processing—and therefore
shapes our immediate behavioral reactions.
b) Habit is repeatedly performing a specific behavior so that
responses become relative automatic whenever that situation is
V. The Fine Art of Persuasion: How Attitudes Are Changed
A. Persuasion is an effort to change others’ attitudes through the use of
various kinds of messages.
B. Persuasion: Communicators, Messages, and Audiences (LO 5.7)
a) Communicators who are credible—who seem to know
what they are talking about or who are expert with respect to
the topics or issues they are presenting—are more persuasive.
(1) Members of our own group are typically seen as
more credible and therefore are likely to influence us.
(2) Communicators are seen as most credible when they
are perceived as arguing against their self-interests.
b) Communicators who are attractive in some way (e.g.,
physically) are more persuasive than communicators who are
not attractive. This is one reason why advertisements often
include attractive models.
c) We are more likely to be persuaded by a communicator
we like than one we dislike.
a) Messages that do not appear to be designed to change our
attitudes are often more successful than those that seem to be
designed to achieve this goal.
(1) Simply knowing that a sales pitch is coming your
way undermines its persuasiveness.
b) Fear appeals are an attempt to change people’s behaviors
by use of a message that is fear-inducing.
(1) Research found that mild fear-inducing messages
result in the greatest behavior change (Janis and
(2) When the message is so fear arousing that people
genuinely feel threatened, they are likely to react
defensively and argue against the treat, or else dismiss its
applicability to themselves.
(3) There is some evidence that inducing more moderate
levels of fear works best—but it needs to be paired with
specific methods of behavioral change that will allow the
negative consequences to be avoided.
(a) If people do not know how to change or do
not believe that they can succeed in doing so, then
fear will do little except induce avoidance and
The Cognitive Processes Underlying Persuasion (LO 5.8)
1. We can process persuasive messages in two distinct ways:
a) Systemic vs. heuristic processing:
(1) Systematic processing is the processing of
information in a persuasive message that involves careful
consideration of message content and ideas.
(a) Central route (to persuasion) is an attitude
change resulting from systemic processing of
information presented in persuasive messages.
(b) Systemic processing requires effort, and it
absorbs much of our information processing
(2) Heuristic processing is the processing of
information in a persuasive message that involves the use
of simple rules of thumb or mental shortcuts.
(a) Peripheral route (to persuasion) is an
attitude change that occurs in response to
peripheral persuasion cues—often based on
information concerning the expertise or status of
(b) Heuristic processing allows us to react to
persuasive messages in an automatic manner. It
occurs in response to cues in the message or
situation that evoke various mental shortcuts.
2. Elaboration-likelihood model and the heuristic–systemic
model are theories suggesting that persuasion can occur in either of
two distinct ways (systematic or heuristic), differing in the amount of
cognitive effort or elaboration they require.
a) We engage in the most effortful and systematic processing
when our motivation and capacity to process information
relating to the persuasive message is high. This type of
processing occurs if we:
(1) Have a lot of knowledge about the topic,
(2) Have a lot of time to engage in careful thought, or
(3) The issue is sufficiently important to us and we
believe it is essential to form an accurate view.
(a) When relevance is high, individuals process
persuasive messages more systematically and
argument strength isimportant.
b) We engage in the type of processing that requires less
(1) We lack the ability or capacity to process more
carefully (we must make up our minds very quickly or
we have little knowledge about the issue).
(2) When our motivation to perform such cognitive
work is low (the issue is unimportant to us or has little
potential effect on us).
(a) When relevance is low, individuals tend to
process messages by means of cognitive shortcuts,
and argument strength has little impact on them.
VI. Resisting Persuasion Attempts (LO 5.9)
A. Reactance: Protecting Our Personal Freedom
1. Reactance is a negative reaction to threats to one’s personal
freedom. Reactance often increases resistance to persuasion and can
even produce an attitude change opposite to what was intended.
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