Attitude change: Persuasion and social influence

This chapter reviews empirical and theoretical developments in research on social influence and message-based persuasion. The review emphasizes research published during the period from 1996-1998. Across these literatures, three central motives have been identified that generate attitude change and resistance. These involve concerns with the self, with others and the rewards/punishments they can provide, and with a valid understanding of reality. The motives have implications for information processing and for attitude change in public and private contexts. Motives in persuasion also have been investigated in research on attitude functions and cognitive dissonance theory. In addition, the chapter reviews the relatively unique aspects of each literature: In persuasion, it considers the cognitive and affective mechanisms underlying attitude change, especially dual-mode processing models, recipients’ affective reactions, and biased processing. In social influence, the chapter considers how attitudes are embedded in social relations, including social identity theory and majority/minority group influence.