Introduction: persuasion, attitude, attitude measurement  

 

1. (a) What is a paradigm (exemplary) case? Give examples. (b) Explain how the shared features of paradigm cases of a concept can provide clarification of the concept. (c) Explain how the “sharp edges” of a definition can lead to disputes over borderline cases.

 

2. (a) What are the shared features of exemplary cases of persuasion? (b) Explain how a successful attempt to influence is such a feature. (c) Explain how the persuader's intending to influence is such a feature. (d) Explain how some measure of freedom on the persuadee's part is such a feature. (e) Explain how having the effects be achieved through communication is such a feature. (f) Explain how a change in the persuadee's mental state is such a feature. (g) Do paradigm cases of persuasion always involve getting the persuadee to agree with what the persuader actually believes?

 

3. Explain how features present in full-fledged ways in paradigm cases can, when present in only some diminished fashion, make for borderline cases of a concept.

 

4. (a) Identify one important mental state often changed in persuasion. (b) What is an attitude? (c) Identify some broad features of attitudes. (d) Are attitude commonly acquired  through experience? Are attitudes relatively enduring? Do attitudes influence conduct? (e) Do paradigm cases of persuasion always involve changing attitudes?

 

5. (a) What are semantic differential evaluative scales? Explain how they work. (b) What are single-item attitude measures? What is the feeling thermometer? Identify a circumstance in which single-item attitude measures are especially useful. Identify and explain a weakness of such measures.

 

6. (a) Explain how quasi-explicit belief-based attitude measures assess attitudes. (b) Identify an advantage (and accompanying disadvantage) of using such attitude measures.

 

7. (a) Give an example of an implicit means of assessing attitudes. (b) Describe the idea behind information-test measures of attitude. What is the error-choice technique? How can an error-choice attitude scale (or, more generally, an information-test attitude measure) be validated? What is the known-group procedure? Explain the use of the known-group procedure for validating attitude scales. 

 

8. (a) Explain how persuasion can be assessed using attitude measurement techniques. (b) Explain why other assessments (that is, other than attitude) may be useful or necessary. (c) Explain why assessments of actual persuasive effects are preferable to judgments of expected persuasive effects.

 

Social judgment theory

 

1. (a) What is the central tenet of social judgment theory? (b) Upon what is the effect of a persuasive communication said to centrally depend? (c) What are the two steps involved in attitude change (according to social judgment theory)? 

 

2. (a) Explain the idea that people have judgments of the alternative positions available on an issue. (b) How can one obtain such judgments? (c) Describe the Ordered Alternatives questionnaire. (d) What instructions are respondents given for completing the Ordered Alternatives questionnaire?

 

3. (a) What are the judgmental latitudes? What is the latitude of acceptance? Rejection? Non-commitment? (b) Explain how, for social judgment theory, a person's stand on an issue is represented by more than the person's most-acceptable position.

 

4. (a) What is ego-involvement? (b) Is ego-involvement issue-specific or a general personality disposition? (c) Is being ego-involved in a issue the same thing as holding an extreme position on the issue?

 

5. (a) How is ego-involvement predicted to influence the structure of the judgmental latitudes? (b) What latitude structure is said to be characteristic of a person high in ego-involvement? Of a person low in ego-involvement?

 

6. (a) What is the “known group” procedure? (b) How was the known-group procedure used to validate the use of the size of the latitude of rejection (on the Ordered Alternatives questionnaire) as a measure of ego-involvement? (c) What is the Own-Categories procedure? (d) Explain how ego-involvement is thought to influence the number of categories used in the Own-Categories procedure; explain how ego-involvement is thought to influence the distribution of statements across categories in the Own-Categories procedure.

 

7. (a) What is social judgment theory's rule of thumb concerning attitude change effects following persuasive communications? (b) What is “discrepancy”? (c) What is the relationship between discrepancy and attitude change, according to social judgment theory? (d) Describe how this analysis suggests different approaches to persuading high- and low-involvement receivers.

 

8. (a) What are assimilation and contrast effects (broadly speaking)? (b) What is a contrast effect? (c) What is an assimilation effect? (d) What is the rule of thumb concerning when each effect will occur?

 

9. (a) What is the relationship between ego-involvement and assimilation and contrast effects? (b) Explain how contrast effects reduce the effectiveness of persuasive messages; explain how assimilation effects reduce the effectiveness of persuasive messages. (c) What kinds of messages are subject to assimilation and contrast effects? (d) How can a persuader minimize assimilation and contrast effects? (e) Explain how political campaigns can exploit assimilation effects concerning positions on policy issues.

 

10. (a) What does it mean to say that two factors (variables) are confounded? Explain how the use of the known-groups procedure confounded extremity and involvement in social judgment research. (b) Explain how social judgment theory's concept of involvement is confused. 

 

11. (a) Identify and describe two worrisome findings concerning the measures of ego-involvement. (b) What is a correlation? What values (numbers) can a correlation have? What sort of correlation is expected between two instruments that measure the same property? (c) If the various measures of involvement all do measure involvement, what correlations would be expected between them (e.g., between the number of categories in the Own-Categories procedure and the size of the latitude of rejection on the Ordered Alternatives questionnaire)? What correlations have been observed? Are the measures of ego-involvement strongly correlated with each other? (d) Do the measures of ego-involvement display the expected patterns of association with other variables? (e) How is ego-involvement expected to be related to assessments of perceived topic importance or commitment to one’s position? What relationships are observed? (f) If one rank-orders topics by the average size of the latitude of rejection, what pattern should be seen (according to social judgment theory)? What pattern is seen? 

 

 

Belief-based approaches

 

1. (a) Explain the general idea of belief-based approaches to attitude. (b) What is a salient belief? How can one identify a person's salient beliefs about a given object? Explain how, in a survey context, one might identify the modal (average) salient beliefs about an object.

 

2. (a) According to the summative model of attitude, what are the two determinants of attitude? (b) What is belief strength? Describe questionnaire items that might be used to assess belief strength. (c) What is belief evaluation? Describe questionnaire items that might be used to assess belief evaluation. (d) Explain the summative model's description of how belief strength and belief evaluation combine to produce attitude; that is, describe and explain the summative model's formula. Give an example that illustrates the model's application.

 

3. (a) Sketch alternative strategies for attitude change suggested by the summative model. (b) Explain (and give an example of) the strategy of adding a new salient belief (of appropriate valence) about the object, the strategies of increasing or decreasing the evaluation of an existing salient belief, the strategies of increasing or decreasing the strength of an existing salient belief, and the strategy of changing the relative salience of existing beliefs. (c) Explain how this model can be useful in identifying possible foci for persuasive appeals.

 

4. (a) How supportive is the research evidence concerning the summative model? That is, what is the general pattern of correlations between the model's predictions and direct measures of attitude? (b) What is attribute importance? Does adding attribute importance to the summative model's formula improve the predictability of attitude? Why not? Identify two possible reasons.

 

5. (a) Describe the weighted averaging model. (b) What does the research evidence indicate about whether the averaging model or the summative (adding) model is superior? Identify two reasons that there is not compelling evidence to support one model over the other.

 

 

Functional approaches

 

1. Explain the general idea behind functional approaches to attitude. 

 

2. (a) In Katz's classic analysis of attitude function, what four attitude functions are identified? (b) Explain the utilitarian function. What techniques are best adapted to changing attitudes serving a utilitarian function? (c) Explain the ego-defensive function. What techniques are best adapted to changing attitudes serving an ego-defensive function? (d) Explain the value-expressive function. Under what conditions are attitudes serving a value-expressive function likely to be susceptible to change? (e) Explain the knowledge function. What is the primary mechanism of change for attitudes that serve a knowledge function?

 

3. (a) Is there a consensus about a particular typology of attitude functions? Is there a broad distinction (amongst functions) that is common to alternative functional typologies? (b) Explain symbolic functions of attitude. Explain instrumental functions of attitude.

 

4. Describe the most common procedure for assessing the function of a given attitude. What is “free-response” data?

 

5. According to functional approaches, what is the key to effective persuasion? Explain.

 

6. (a) What is self-monitoring? Describe (broadly) the characteristics of high- and low-self-monitors. (b) Describe image-oriented advertising appeals. Describe product-quality-oriented advertising appeals. (c) Are high self-monitors generally more persuaded by image-oriented or by product-quality-oriented appeals? Are low self-monitors generally more persuaded by image-oriented or by product-quality-oriented appeals? (d) Why are image-oriented and product-quality-oriented appeals differentially persuasive for low- and high-self-monitors? (e) Explain how advertisers might tailor appeals to different media outlets based on these ideas.

 

7. (a) Explain how the nature of the attitude object influences attitude functions. Give examples of objects for which attitudes likely serve a generally instrumental function; give examples of objects for which attitudes likely serve a generally symbolic function. (b) Are image-oriented and product-quality-oriented persuasive appeals likely to be equally effective for these different sorts of objects? Explain.

 

8. (a) Are belief-based models concerned with the content (as opposed to the evaluation) of beliefs? Do functional approaches explain how beliefs combine to yield attitudes? (b) Explain the complementary relationship of functional approaches and belief-based models.

 

9. (a) Explain how objects can differ in the degree to which they accommodate multiple attitude functions. Give examples of “multifunctional” attitude objects. (b) For what sorts of objects will self-monitoring differences play a larger role in determining the relative effectiveness of image-oriented and product-quality-oriented appeals? Explain. Identify circumstances under which a persuader will not need to know the audience’s level of self-monitoring.

 

 

Reasoned action theory

 

1. (a) According to reasoned action theory (RAT), what is the best single predictor of voluntary behavior? (b) What are the four primary determinants of behavioral intention?

 

2. What is the attitude toward the behavior (AB)? Explain the difference between attitude-toward-the-behavior and attitude-toward-the-object. Describe the sorts of questionnaire items commonly used for assessing the AB.

 

3. What is the injunctive norm (IN)? Describe the sorts of questionnaire items commonly used for assessing the IN. What is the descriptive norm (DN)? Describe the sorts of questionnaire items commonly used for assessing the DN. Explain the difference between the injunctive norm and the descriptive norm.

 

4. What is perceived behavioral control (PBC)? Describe the sorts of questionnaire items commonly used for assessing PBC. How is PBC different from the other three components?

 

5. (a) Do these components influence intention equally? How are the relative weights of the components assessed? (b) What does the research evidence suggest about the predictability of intention from the four components?

 

6. Explain how RAT can be useful in identifying foci for persuasive efforts. If persuasion is attempted by changing one of the components, does that component need to be significantly weighted? Explain.

 

7. (a) What are the determinants of the AB? What is belief strength (and how is it assessed)? What is belief evaluation (and how is it assessed)? Explain how these combine to yield the AB. What does the research evidence suggest about the predictability of the AB from its determinants? (b) Identify alternative means by which the AB might be influenced. Explain (and give examples of) changing the strength or evaluation of existing salient beliefs. Explain (and give examples of) reconfiguring the set of salient beliefs (and identify two ways in which such reconfiguration might be accomplished).

 

8. (a) What are the determinants of the IN? What are normative beliefs (and how are they assessed)? What is motivation-to-comply (and how is it assessed)? Explain how these combine to yield the IN. What does the research evidence suggest about the predictability of the IN from its determinants? (b) Identify alternative means by which the IN might be influenced. Explain (and give examples of) changing the normative belief or motivation-to-comply that is associated with an existing salient referent. Explain (and give examples of) reconfiguring the set of salient referents (and identify two ways in which such reconfiguration might be accomplished).

 

9. Describe the current state of understanding of the determinants of the DN. Explain how the DN might be changed. Give an example of a message designed to influence the DN.

 

10. (a) Give examples of circumstances in which PBC might plausibly be the focus of a persuader's efforts. (b) Describe the current state of understanding of the determinants of PBC. (c) Describe three means of influencing PBC. (d) Explain how directly removing an obstacle to performance can influence PBC. Distinguish (and give examples of) two kinds of obstacles a persuader might try to remove. (e) Explain how successful performance of a behavior can influence PBC; give an example. (f) Explain how vicarious success can influence PBC; give an example.

 

11. Explain the strategy of influencing intention by changing the relative weights of the components. To which of the four components does this strategy potentially apply? In what sort of circumstance can this strategy succeed in changing intention? What is the usual pattern of association (correlation) between the AB, the IN, and the DN? What does this pattern imply about changing the weights as a means of influencing intention?

 

12. What does the research evidence suggest about the predictability of behavior from intention?

 

13. (a) Identify three factors influencing the strength of the relationship between measures of intention and measures of behavior. (b) Explain how the relationship between measures of intention and measures of behavior is affected by the degree of correspondence between the two measures. Do more specific intention measures lead to higher correlations with behavioral measures than do less specific (more general) intention measures? (c) Explain how the relationship between measures of intention and measures of behavior is affected by the temporal stability of intentions. (d) Explain how the relationship between measures of intention and measures of behavior is affected by explicit planning about behavioral performance. Give examples of circumstances in which the task facing the persuader is that of encouraging persons to act on existing intentions; explain how a persuader might approach such a task. (e) What explains the effect of explicit-planning interventions on behavior? Does planning make intentions more positive? Does planning increase perceived behavioral control (PBC)? What are implementation intentions? Does planning encourage the development of implementation intentions? Identify two necessary conditions for explicit-planning interventions to be successful.

 

 

Elaboration likelihood model (ELM)

 

1. What is elaboration? How can the degree of elaboration be assessed? Do variations in the amount of elaboration form a continuum or discrete categories? Explain the general difference between central and peripheral routes to persuasion.

2. (a) Identify two broad categories of factors that influence the amount of elaboration undertaken. (b) What is elaboration motivation? Identify two factors influencing elaboration motivation. Explain how involvement (personal relevance of the topic) influences elaboration motivation. What is “need for cognition”? Explain how need for cognition influences elaboration motivation. (c) What is elaboration ability? Identify two factors influencing elaboration ability. What is “distraction”? Explain how distraction influences elaboration ability. Explain how prior knowledge influences elaboration ability.  

 

3. (a) In central-route persuasion, what is the key determinant of persuasive outcomes? Explain. (b) Identify two factors that influence elaboration direction (valence). Explain how the message’s proattitudinal or counterattitudinal position influences elaboration direction. What is argument strength (quality)? Explain how argument quality influences elaboration direction.

 

4. (a) In peripheral-route persuasion, what influences the outcomes of persuasive efforts? What is a heuristic principle? What activates heuristic principles? Give three examples of heuristic principles. (b) What is the credibility heuristic? Explain how it works. Under what conditions does credibility have relatively greater influence on persuasive outcomes? (c) What is the liking heuristic? Explain how it works. Under what conditions does liking have relatively greater influence on persuasive outcomes? (d) What is the consensus heuristic? Explain how it works. Under what conditions will the consensus heuristic have relatively greater influence on persuasive outcomes?

 

5. (a) Explain the tradeoff between peripheral cues and elaboration direction as influences on persuasive outcomes. (b) Does increasing elaboration mean increasing persuasion? (That is, does increasing the receiver’s degree of elaboration mean increasing how much the receiver is persuaded?) Explain how distraction influences persuasive outcomes. Identify a circumstance in which distraction might reduce persuasive effectiveness, and one in which it might enhance persuasive effectiveness. (c) Are the consequences of central-route persuasion and peripheral-route persuasion identical? Identify three differences in the consequences of persuasion’s being achieved through one or the other route. How is the persistence of persuasion different? How is resistance to counterpersuasion different? How is the strength of the relationship of attitudes to intentions and behaviors different?