17 Persuasion and Attitude Change
Personality and Social Psychology
II. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY
Published Online: 26 SEP 2012
Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.
Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition
How to Cite
Petty, R. E., Wheeler, S. C. and Tormala, Z. L. 2012. Persuasion and Attitude Change. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 5:II:17.
- Published Online: 26 SEP 2012
Attitudes refer to people's general evaluations. Attitudes vary in whether they have a primarily affective or cognitive basis, and whether they come to mind automatically or only with some degree of reflection. After articulating these features of attitudes, we present an organizing framework for understanding the processes responsible for persuasion. These processes are divided into those that emphasize effortful thinking about the merits of the attitude object versus those that rely on less cognitively demanding processes. This allows understanding and prediction of what variables affect attitudes and in what situations. In addition, this framework helps to place the various specific theories of attitude change in their proper domain of operation. For example, high-effort processes such as cognitive responses or dissonance account for attitude change when thinking is high, whereas lower-effort processes such as classical conditioning or the use of simple heuristics account for attitude change when thinking is low. Finally, recognition of high- versus low-effort mechanisms of change permits predictions about the strength of attitudes modified by different processes. Attitudes that are changed as a result of considerable mental effort tend to be more durable and impactful than attitudes changed with low effort.
- attitude change;