Essay Example on Running Head How do Attitudes

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Running Head How do Attitudes Change 1 Bajah Shaheed Post University How do Attitudes Change 2 Abstract Our attitudes affect our daily lives and behaviors and are influenced by many different factors However with life experiences and education our attitudes can be changed Some methods of changing attitudes have a better effect than others In order to have a long lasting attitude change attitudes need to be based on careful analysis and logic How do Attitudes Change 3 At the foundation of attitudes are evaluations of people objects and ideas Those evaluations are expressed in our behaviors Attitudes are inconsistent and often change Fear can be used to bring awareness to an issue in order to changes ones attitude about it Several theories have outlined the proximal beliefs through which fear inducing appeals affect influence Wood 2000 But fear also can bias processing in a way that justifies existing coping or non coping behaviors Biek et al 1996 At high levels fear appears to reduce systematic processing e g Jepson Chaiken 1990 Consider a study in which a group of smokers watched a graphic film depicting lung cancer and then read pamphlets with specific instructions about how to quit smoking Leventhal Watts Pagano 1967 Inducing fear in an individual on the dangerous effects of smoking can change their attitudes about quitting 



Cognitive dissonance is the discomfort people feel when two beliefs conflict Dissonant behavior makes people uncomfortable changing an attitude will help pacify the individual s discomfort Petty et al 1997 Festinger s 1957 original proposition that inconsistency among elements in one s cognitive system produces dissonance To support of Festinger s view Cialdini et al 1995 developed a scale to assess individual differences in preference for consistency PFC and found that the attitudes of those high in PFC were influenced by whether their counter attitudinal behavior was performed under high or low choice conditions a classic dissonance finding but the attitudes of low PFC people were not Both indirect e g attitude change and direct e g arousal indicators of dissonance have created difficulties for testing core assumptions of dissonance theory In Brehm and Cohen s How do Attitudes Change 4 1962 restatement of dissonance theory they distinctly characterized dissonance as a state of arousal and focused extensively on its drive like properties Devine P G Tauer J M Barron K E Elliot A J Vance K M 1999 Persuasive Communication advocates for a particular side of an issue Aronson et al 2010 Persuasive communication has an influence on creating and changing our attitudes Through central and peripheral communications an attitude can be changed on the peripheral feelings emotions or central facts reason routes Attitude changed via the central route to persuasion lasted longer Chaiken 1980 An attitude based on facts will more likely be maintained and not be otherwise easily influenced Different factors affect how an individual processes information

One of these factors is mood Moods help to associate stimulus with positive or negative appeals such as How do I feel about this the problem with heuristics is they can be manipulated Wood 2000 There have also been studies that examine the use of authority and power and its affect on changing of attitudes Power and authority can have an effect on compliance A person is more likely to be compliant in changing their attitude if the person expecting the attitude change is perceived to be powerful or authoritative Also during times of uncertainty people look to social norms to know how they should respond in social situations Cialdini 2001 Relevance often determines the level of motivation an individual may have in order to be persuaded People in general are more likely to pay attention to communications that are personal and relatable It is easier to listen to the arguments of a discussion when an issues is How do Attitudes 



Change 5 personally relevant to a person than when it only relates to others Issues that aren t personal are less likely to get attention In these instances peripheral cues will be more influential and available Instead the individual will rely upon mental shortcuts following such peripheral cues as Prestigious speakers can be trusted Chen Chaiken 1999 Fabrigar et al 1998 Relying on such basic cues can be misleading Exposing yourself to a different viewpoint assists with changing attitudes It is not impossible to change an attitude about a topic because attitudes can change with experience and exposure How do Attitudes Change 6 References Cialdini R B Goldstein N J 2004 Social influence Compliance and conformity Annu Rev Psychol 55 591 621 Wood W 2000 Attitude change Persuasion and social influence Annual review of psychology 51 1 539 570 Petty R E Wegener D T Fabrigar L R 1997 Attitudes and attitude change Annual review of psychology 48 1 609 647 Devine P G Tauer J M Barron K E Elliot A J Vance K M 1999 Moving beyond attitude change in the study of dissonance related processes Cognitive dissonance Progress on a pivotal theory in social psychology 297 323 Aronson E Wilson T Akert R Sommers S R 2010 Social psychology 9th ed Upper Saddle River New Jersey Prentice Hall


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