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Social Psychology: Attitudes and Persuasion

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Someones attitude is their perception of objects of thought, these are things such as social issues, products, and the people around them. There are three parts to your attitude, the cognitive, affective, and behavioral parts . Your cognitive componet is your beliefs about certian objects. The affective part is your emotional feelings that are caused be the objects, and the behavioral part is the way you act toward that object.

It is common for different attitudes on social issues to fit together, even if you think that logically they shouldnt. Attitudes arent set in stone, they can be changed, this change is usually done with some type of persuasion. Persuasion can come from ads on television that try to make you feel a certian way towards a product, or in could come from the people around you in trying to get you to act in a certian way. It is eaiser to have you attitude changed if you dont have a strong prior belief on the issue your dealing with. Persuasion also works best when you know and trust the person trying to persuade you, and they show a great deal of likability.

Attitude can influence behavior, although the correlation of that is only .38. The stronger attitude you have twoard something, the more likely it is that your behavion will agree with it. It is also true that if you have based your attitude on an expirence rather than just learning about an occurance, the bigger chance there is that your behavior will reflect your attitude. Even if someone has a certian attitude towards something, behavior often deoends on the situation your in and the ways in which your expected to act witht he people your around. This leads to what we say, and what we do becoming two completly different things.

Different people use defferent methods but there are certiantly ways to change your attitudes and behavior. When the people around you have certian beliefs, observational learning can persuade you to have the same feelings and behavior as them. The agreement you then have with others, helps reinforce your attitude. The emotional part of someones attitude is learned by using classical conditioning and can be changed in that way.

Different theorys of change include: the learning theory, dissonance theory, self perseption theory, and the elaboration likelihood model. Self-perseption theory is when people accept that they have a certian type of attitude solemly on the behaviors they express. The elaboration likelihood model shows two different systems of persuasionthat is ment to chance someones attitude. The first is perferial persuasion, which is based on non message factors such as attractivness and credibility. The second is central route, which is when someone thinks about the actual content and logig behind the persuasion. in most cases, it is the central route that works the best. Another thing that can bring about change is having to think about the reasoning behind an attitude. If you dont know why and dont have strong feelings about it, usully the attitude will change in some way.

Cognitive Dissonance Theory was created by Leon Festinger and is widely believed still today in psychology. The theory says that people are motivsted to stop the discomfort cause by having two inconsistant thoughts (a difference in what we say and do). To put an end to this discomfort, we usually find a way to justify it. In cognitive dissonance, people find ways to make their attitudes adn behavior consistant, the more aware you are though, the less you will have to do this because your attiutde and behavior should already be consistant with eachother. You become more aware by focusing more on the part of your personality that involvethoughts and feeling, and when your put in spicific situations that make you more aware of these thing.

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