Balance theory

 

1. What is the central tenet of consistency theories? What kind of consistency (logical or psychological) is of interest here?

 

2.  (a) Identify the three perceptions with which balance theory is most centrally concerned. Does balance theory consider whether O likes/dislikes X, or whether P thinks O likes/dislikes X? (b) Describe the eight possible interrelationships of the perceptions of interest. Which of these are balanced states, and which unbalanced? Give a rule of thumb for distinguishing balanced and unbalanced states. (c) How are balanced and unbalanced states said to differ? Which sort of state represents a state of consistency? Which states are more pleasant? More stable? Preferable? Which arouse psychological tension?

 

3. (a) Explain how balance principles can play a role in the effects of celebrity product endorsements. Why is the believability of the endorsement important? (b) Explain how balance principle can play a role in peer pressure. (c) Explain how balance principles are related to the liking heuristic. (d) Explain how balance principles are related to the exploitation of assimilation and contrast effects by political candidates.

 

4. (a) Explain how balance theory offers a crude representation of consistency processes. Does balance theory acknowledge degrees of liking? Degrees of issue importance? Degrees of consistency? (b) How supportive is the research evidence concerning balance theory? Identify one area in which balance theory's expectations have not been confirmed. Identify other domains in which balance theory's expectations have been confirmed.

 

 

Cognitive dissonance theory

 

1. (a) What is a cognitive element (cognition)? (b) What are the possible relationships between two cognitions? Explain how two cognitions can be irrelevant to each other; explain how two cognitions can be consistent with each other; explain how two cognitions can be inconsistent with each other. (c) When are two cognitions said to be in a dissonant relationship?

 

2. (a) What are the properties of dissonance? What sort of state is it? (b) Can dissonance vary in magnitude? (c) What factors influence the degree of dissonance experienced? Explain how the relative proportion of consonant and dissonant elements influences dissonance. Explain how the importance of the elements and the issue influence dissonance. (d) Describe and explain two basic ways of reducing dissonance.

 

3. (a) Explain how choice (decision-making) inevitably arouses dissonance. (b) Is dissonance a pre-decisional or post-decisional state? What state is a decision-maker said to be in before having made the decision? What state is a decision-maker said to be in after having made the decision? (c) How can dissonance be reduced following a decision? What is postdecisional spreading of alternatives? Has research commonly detected postdecisional spreading of alternatives? (d) How is regret manifest following a decision? Does regret precede or follow dissonance reduction? Explain how regret can lead to a reversal of a decision. (e) Explain the function of follow-up persuasive efforts in the context of postdecisional processes.

 

4. (a) What is induced compliance? What is counterattitudinal advocacy? (b) Explain the dissonance theory view of induced-compliance situations. What is the key influence on the amount of dissonance experienced in such situations? Explain the relationship between incentive and dissonance in such situations. (c) Explain, from a dissonance perspective, the operation of low-price offers. From the marketer's point of view, what is the ideal amount of incentive to offer? (d) Explain, from a dissonance perspective, the operation of promotions that invite consumers to send in essays explaining why they like the product (or to send in advertisements, etc.), in return for being entered in a prize drawing. (e) Explain, from a dissonance perspective, the effects of insufficient incentive for counterattitudinal action. When might a persuader want to offer such insufficient incentive? (f) Identify a limiting condition on the occurrence of the predicted dissonance effects in induced-compliance situations. How is freedom of choice such a condition? 

 

5. (a) What is hypocrisy induction? Identify a common persuasive situation in which hypocrisy induction might be useful to a persuader. (b) What two things are made salient in inducing feelings of hypocrisy? (c) Explain how a persuader can use hypocrisy induction to change behavior; identify a necessary condition for such effects. Explain how and why hypocrisy-induction efforts might backfire.

 

6. (a) What is the selective exposure hypothesis? Explain how the hypothesis reflects the main tenets of dissonance theory. (b) Describe the usual research design for studying selective exposure. In such designs, what sort of result represents evidence of selective exposure? 

 

7. (a) Is there evidence of a general preference for supportive information? Is this a strong preference? (b) What others factors influence information exposure? Explain how perceived information utility can influence information exposure (and can override a preference for supportive information). Explain how curiosity can influence information exposure (and can override a preference for supportive information). Explain how fairness norms can influence information exposure (and can override a preference for supportive information). (c) Identify three broad means by which advocates might seek to get a hearing for their views. 

 

 

Source factors

 

1. (a) What is credibility? What are the primary dimensions of credibility? (b) What is competence? Describe the questionnaire items commonly used to assess competence. (c) What is trustworthiness? Describe the questionnaire items commonly used to asses trustworthiness. (d) Describe the research used to identify the primary dimensions of credibility. What is factor analysis? 

 

2. (a) Identify factors influencing credibility. Which of these influence competence, and which trustworthiness? (b) Describe the effect of knowledge of the communicator's education, occupation, experience, and training on competence and on trustworthiness. (c) Describe the effect of nonfluencies in delivery on competence and on trustworthiness. (d) Describe the effect of citation of evidence sources on competence and on trustworthiness. (e) Describe the effect of the advocated position on competence and on trustworthiness. Explain the meaning of "unexpected position" in the context of this phenomenon. (f) Describe the effect of (small amounts of appropriate) humor on competence and on trustworthiness. (g) Describe the effect of an organized (vs. disorganized) message on competence and on trustworthiness. (h) What is a ceiling effect? A floor effect?

 

3. (a) Explain the idea that the magnitude of credibility's effect on persuasive outcomes might vary. Identify two factors that influence the magnitude of credibility's effect. (b) Describe how involvement (personal relevance) influences the magnitude of credibility's effect. Under what sort of involvement condition will the effect of credibility be relatively larger? (c) Describe how the timing of identification of the communicator influences the magnitude of credibility's effect. What timing of identification leads to relatively larger effects of credibility? (d) Explain the idea that the direction of credibility's effect on persuasive outcomes might vary. Identify a factor that influences the direction of credibility's effect. (e) Under what conditions will higher-credibility sources be more persuasive than lower-credibility sources? And under what conditions will the opposite effect occur? Describe a possible explanation for the latter effect.

 

4. (a) What is the general rule of thumb concerning the effect of variations in liking (of the communicator) on persuasive outcomes? Explain how that general principle can be misleading (e.g., identify a limiting condition). (b) Describe the relative strength of the effects of credibility and the effects of liking (on persuasive outcomes). (c) Describe how variations in involvement (personal relevance) influence the effects of liking. What involvement conditions lead to relatively larger effects of liking? 

 

5. (a) Does perceived similarity (of receiver and source) influence persuasive outcomes directly or indirectly? Explain. Through what avenues does perceived similarity influence persuasive outcomes? (b) Can perceived similarities influence judgments of communicator credibility? Identify a necessary condition for a perceived similarity to influence credibility judgments. Will all relevant perceived similarities enhance credibility? Will all relevant perceived dissimilarities diminish credibility? Explain. (c) What is attitudinal similarity? How does perceived attitudinal similarity influence liking? Explain the connection between this phenomenon and balance. Can liking be influenced by perceived similarities that are not relevant to the message topic? 

 

6. Explain how other communicator characteristics (that is, other than credibility, liking, and similarity) influence persuasive outcomes indirectly.

 

 

Message factors

 

1. (a) What are the effects (on persuasive outcomes) of the citation of evidence sources (information sources)? Is this effect explained by the effect that evidence-source citation has on perceptions of the communicator’s credibility? Does evidence-source citation affect persuasive outcomes differently for high-credibility and low-credibility communicators? What is the most plausible account of the effect of evidence-source citation on persuasive outcomes? Describe two possible ways in which evidence-source citation might directly enhance acceptance of an argument.

 

2. (a) What appears to be the most satisfactory general picture of the relationship between discrepancy and attitude change? What factors influence the point of inflection in the curve that relates discrepancy and attitude change? (b) Does the point of inflection occur at lower discrepancies for high-credibility communicators or for low-credibility communicators? Does the point of inflection occur at lower discrepancies for high-involvement topics or for low-involvement topics?

 

3. (a) What is a consequence-based argument? How do variations in the perceived desirability of the consequences affect the persuasiveness of such arguments? Give examples. (b) Explain how cultural differences in individualism-collectivism are reflected in corresponding differences in the relative persuasiveness of different persuasive messages. What kind of appeals, individualist or collectivist, are more persuasive to recipients in individualist cultures? To recipients in collectivist cultures? (c) Explain how individual differences in consideration-of-future-consequences are reflected in corresponding differences in the relative persuasiveness of different persuasive messages. What is “consideration of future consequences” (CFC)? What kind of appeals, those to long-term consequences or those to short-term consequences, are more persuasive to recipients who are high in CFC? To those low in CFC? (d) Explain the potential importance of looking beyond (what seem to be) the consequences that obviously should be mentioned in persuasive appeals. How is this illustrated by research findings concerning persuasive messages about health behaviors?

 

4. (a) What is a one-sided message? What is a two-sided message? Distinguish two varieties of two-sided messages. What is a refutational two-sided message? What is a nonrefutational two-sided message? (b) Comparing one-sided messages and refutational two-sided messages, which generally is more persuasive? Which generally is perceived as more credible? Identify an implicit limiting condition on the occurrence of these effects (these differences). (c) What general differences, if any, are there in persuasiveness and perceived credibility between one-sided messages and nonrefutational two-sided messages? (d) In advertising contexts, how do one-sided messages and nonrefutational two-sided messages differ in persuasiveness? How do they differ in credibility? (e) Outside advertising contexts (that is, in “nonadvertising” messages), how do one-sided messages and nonrefutational two-sided messages differ in persuasiveness? How do they differ in credibility? (f) What might explain the observed differences between advertising messages and other persuasive messages in how nonrefutational two-sided messages work? Explain how skepticism about advertising might underlie the different effects of nonrefutational two-sided messages in advertising contexts as opposed to nonadvertising contexts.

 

5. (a) What is a threat appeal? Describe the two parts of a threat appeal. (b) What is protection motivation theory (PMT)? What is protection motivation? Identify the two processes underlying protection motivation. (c) What is threat appraisal? Identify two factors that influence threat appraisal. What is perceived threat severity? What is perceived vulnerability to threat? (d) What is coping appraisal? Identify two factors that influence coping appraisal. What is perceived response efficacy? What is perceived self-efficacy? (e) Explain how the PMT framework provides a basis for thinking about adapting persuasive messages to audiences. Can messages be constructed so as to influence PMT variables (perceived threat severity, perceived threat vulnerability, and so forth)? Do such message variations affect persuasive outcomes in the ways expected by PMT? (f) What is the relationship between the intensity of threat-appeal contents and the degree of fear aroused in receivers? Are messages that arouse greater fear generally more persuasive (than those that arouse lesser amounts of fear)? Are messages with more intense contents generally more persuasive (than those with less intense contents)? Does the relationship between the intensity of message contents and the amount of aroused fear take the shape of an inverted U? Explain. Does the relationship between the intensity of message contents and persuasive outcomes take the shape of an inverted U? Explain. (g) Identify two conditions under which more intense threat appeals are unlikely to be more persuasive than less intense appeals. Explain how, under conditions of low coping appraisal, people with high threat appraisal might be led to re-appraise the threat. (h) Describe two alternative conceptions of the role played (in the persuasive effects of threat appeals) by the emotion of fear. What does the existing research evidence indicate about whether fear plays a causal role in the persuasive effects of threat-appeal messages?

 

6. (a) What does the research evidence suggest about the relative persuasive effectiveness of stating the message’s conclusion explicitly as opposed to omitting the conclusion (leaving the conclusion implicit)? (b) Does this difference vary depending on the audience’s educational level? Does it vary depending on the audience’s initial favorability toward the advocated view? (c) Describe a possible explanation for the observed effect.

 

7. (a) What does the research evidence suggest about the relative persuasive effectiveness of providing a general (as opposed to a more specific) description of the advocated action? (b) Describe two possible explanations for the observed effect.

 

8. (a) What is a prompt? Give examples. (b) Identify two necessary conditions for prompts to be effective in influencing behavior. Why is an existing positive attitude such a condition? Why is sufficiently high perceived behavioral control (PBC, self-efficacy) such a condition? (c) Can prompts be cost-effective? Explain.

 

9. (a) Describe the foot-in-the-door (FITD) strategy. Identify three factors that influence the success of the FITD strategy (three moderating factors). (b) How does the presence of an obvious external justification (for initial-request compliance) influence the effectiveness of the strategy? How does the size of the initial request influence the effectiveness of the strategy? How is the strategy’s effectiveness influenced by whether the requests come from prosocial or non-prosocial organizations? (c) Is the strategy’s success influenced by whether the two requests come from the same person? Is it influenced by whether the two requests concern the same subject (the same topic)? Is it influenced by the time interval between the two requests? (d) Describe the self-attribution explanation of FITD effects. Describe how that explanation accounts for the observed moderating factors.  

 

10. (a) Describe the door-in-the-face (DITF) strategy. Identify four factors that influence the success of the DITF strategy (four moderating factors). (b) How is the success of the strategy affected by the presence of a delay between the requests? How is the success of the strategy affected by whether the same person makes the two requests? How is the success of the strategy affected by whether the two requests have the same beneficiary? How is the strategy’s effectiveness influenced by whether the requests come from prosocial or non-prosocial organizations? (c) Describe the reciprocal-concessions explanation of DITF effects. Describe how that explanation accounts for some of the observed moderating factors; describe how that explanation has a difficult time accounting for other moderating factors. Does the size of the concession (the reduction in request size from the first to the second request) influence the success of the strategy? Is that result consistent or inconsistent with the reciprocal-concessions explanation? (d) Describe the guilt-based explanation of DITF effects. Describe how that explanation tries to account for the observed moderating factors. (e) What is a “transgression-compliance effect”? Do transgression-compliance effects vary depending on whether the requester is the victim of the transgression (as opposed to being someone else)? Explain the implication of this finding for the guilt-based explanation of DITF effects. Which moderating factor does the guilt-based explanation appear to have difficulty accommodating?

 

 

Resistance to persuasion

 

1. (a) What is refusal-skill training? How is refusal-skill training meant to create resistance to persuasion? (b) Is it possible to teach refusal skills effectively? What are the most important program elements in teaching refusal skills? (c) What effect do refusal-skill training programs have on substance use/misuse?  

 

2. (a) Describe the general idea of inoculation as a means of creating resistance to persuasion. Describe the biological (biomedical) metaphor for inoculation against persuasion. Identify two general ways persons might be made resistant to a disease virus. Describe supportive medical treatments; describe how inoculation against disease works. (b) Describe supportive treatments for inducing resistance to persuasion. Describe refutational (inoculation) treatments for inducing resistance to persuasion. (c) Do supportive treatments create resistance to persuasion? Do refutational treatments create resistance to persuasion? Which kind of treatment, supportive or refutational, is more effective in creating resistance to persuasion? (d) Do refutational treatments create resistance only to the particular attack argument that is refuted, or does the resistance generalize to other attack arguments? (e) How effective is the combination of supportive and refutational treatments in conferring resistance to persuasion? Explain how the combination of supportive and refutational treatments is equivalent to a refutational two-sided message. (f) Describe how inoculation and refusal-skill training represent different ways of inducing resistance to persuasion.

 

3. (a) Can warning a person of an impending counterattitudinal message create resistance to persuasion? (b) Explain the mechanism by which warning confers resistance to persuasion. Identify three factors that influence the effectiveness of warnings at creating resistance. (c) How is the effectiveness of warnings influenced by the receiver's degree of involvement (personal relevance of the topic)? (d) How is the effectiveness of warnings influenced by distraction? (e) How is the effectiveness of warnings influenced by the length of the time interval between the warning and the message?