Discussion: Attitudes and Persuasion

Attitudes are formed and maintained in many ways. Social psychologists have studied how people form their attitudes for decades and from many perspectives. Why are researchers so interested in attitude? For one thing, your attitude typically influences your behavior. For example, attitudes about political topics such as war, abortion, civil rights, and so on, influence voting behavior. Advertisers attempt to create attitudes about the products they are trying to sell with the ultimate goal of making money for their clients. Persuasion is an attempt to change an attitude. Political operatives, advertisers, and others thoughtfully create persuasive messages to change attitudes and ultimately behavior.

For this Discussion, you examine messages that you have seen recently and consider how they attempted to be persuasive regarding attitude formation or change.

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To prepare:

  • Read Chapter 7 in your course text, Social Psychology.
  • Review the website, “Powers of Persuasion: Poster Art From World War II” to see examples of propaganda messages intended to influence attitudes.
  • Think about a particular persuasive message (i.e., a message that is persuasive to you or tries to be persuasive) you have seen recently in the media. It could be a political message; a public service campaign; a commercial on television, radio, or online; a print ad in a magazine or newspaper; or an op-ed piece. Generally, the message should not be a news story if the news story is an objective report with the intent to inform and not persuade.

By Day 3

Posta a brief description of the ad/campaign/commercial/etc. and a description of its message. Please provide an Internet link to the message itself if that is where you found it.  Who does the target audience seem to be? Then, apply what you have learned about attitude formation and attitude change to the message. In other words, analyze how the message uses attitude theory and information about how to form and/or change attitudes (or behaviors) in its messaging. Be specific and provide examples.

Notes:

  • In the subject line of your post, write the topic, issue, or product addressed in the persuasive message.
  • Support the responses within your Discussion post, and in your colleague reply, with evidence from the assigned Learning Resources.
  • You are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleague’s postings. After clicking on the “Post to Discussion Question” link, select “Create Thread” to create your initial post.

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