Persuasion and Attitude Change

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  • Created by: Samia
  • Created on: 26-01-11 19:19

The Hovland-Yale Model

Carl Hovland was initially recruited by the US War Department to find ways of persuading the American public to increase its levels of support in the closing stages of World War 2. He continued his work after the war,setting up a team at Yale University to study the nature of persuasive communication. Hovland’s team discovered that effective persuasion could be achieved by focusing on who says what to whom- the communicator (who), the persuasive message (what) and the audience (whom).

1) Source factors- Bochner and Insko (1996) asked students to indicate how much sleep was required to maintain good health. Most said around eight hours. However when exposed to two different sources of opinion (one expert and one non expert) advocating a different position, students were swayed far more by the expert source even when the discrepancy between their own beliefs and those of the ‘expert’ were extreme. The use of attractive sources (e.g through celebrity endorsement) can be particularly affective in attitude change, particularly used as part of the ‘peripheral route’ to persuasion.

2)Message factors- As children age, they better understand the persuasive intent of advertisement, and are less influenced by them. Low-fear and high-fear messages do not appear as effective as moderate-fear messages. McGuire (1968) suggests that low levels of fear do little to motivate an audience, whereas high levels (scare tactics) can also rebound because they create so much anxiety in the audience that it interferes with its ability to process the information in the message.

3)Audience factors- McGuire suggested that low intelligence audience are less likely to process the content of…


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