Persuasion and attitude change models

models and theories and eval

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  • Created by: shauna
  • Created on: 13-06-12 09:51

Hovland Yale Model (Carl Hovland)

  • sequential model. Proposes attitude change occurs in stages.

1)Attention: stimulus material must grab viewers attention

2) Comprehension: recipient must understand message

3) Rectance: must resopnd either agree or dispute.

4) Acceptance: attitude change

  • degree of attitude change dependent on source(credibility, attractivenss), message (emotions e.g fear=compliance, moderate, one or two-sided argument), Recipient (low self-esteem swayed easily, high intelligence more critical), channel (radio, TV, e-mail, personally directed appeals persuasive)
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Key Study: Meyerowitz and Chaiken

(A) look at role of fear in message content

(P) Examined female uni students, randomly allocated to 1 of 3 conditions given leaflet on breast self-examination

condition1: 'loss condition' ,pamplet emphasised dangers of failing to self-examine

Condition2: 'gain condition', emphasised positive consequences 

Condition3: 'neutral condition', neither type, only facts on breast cancer.

re-interviewed after 4 mnths asked about attitude to self-examination and how often they did.

(F) loss group exposed to most fear only group to change both attitude and behaviour.

(C) fear can increase likelihood of attitude change.

Strength: Longitudinal, thus attitude change assessed as relaticely permanent

Weakness: unethical pp's exposed to fear regarding health, stresssful, unlikely fully informed consent gained.

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General Eval of Hovland Yale


  • suggest people think rationally, but some are cognitive misers (reliant on simple, time efficient strategies when weighing up arguments)
  • Hovland yale takes cognitive social approach, views people as thinkers, however, discursive psychologists say attitudes shift and are used as resources  as opposed to being consistent and measurable.
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Elaboration Likelihood model (petty and Cacioppo)

  • persuasion dependent on amount of mental effort one is willing to give to message.
  • Motivation/ ability to elaborate: increases with personal relevance, lots of time, accountable for decisions, uncertain

Central Route

  • Attitude change permanent
  • High need for cognition (actively thinking)
  • High mental effort/ motivation
  • Likely to consider counter arguments
  • process on quality of argument

Peripheral Route

  • Temporary attitude change
  • low need for cognition (cognitive miser)
  • informed by peripheral cues (e.g attractiveness of communicator)
  • less mental effort/ low motivation
  • effective for ill-informed recipients
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Key study: Vidrine et al (2007)

(A) assess importance of need for cognition in smokers.

(P) 227 student smokers measured for NC then exposed to either fact based leaflet, or emotion based on risks or control condition.

(F) High NC responded better to fact based, suggesting they read and considered arguments. Whilst low NC repsonded better to emotion based implying they used peripheral processing.

Strength: Highly controlled lab study

Weakness: Socially desirable answers, also short term so cannot know if attitude change permanent or temporary, also unethical, psychological stress

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