Chapter 7: Defending attitudes: Resisting persuasion (pp. 258–265)
- How do we defend our attitudes?
- What is subliminal influence?
- Does subliminal influence always work?
In this topic
Gathering Defenses: Forewarning, Forearming and Arguing Back (pp. 259–262)
- Inoculation: Practice can be the best resistance medicine
- Inoculation and advertising effectiveness
Subliminal Persuasion (pp. 262–265)
- How to resist subliminal influence
Gathering Defenses: Forewarning, Forearming and Arguing Back
- Bias: Assimilation/contrast. Assimilation is the process where information that is close to our attitude is viewed as resembling our attitude. Contrast is the process where information that is quite discrepant with our attitude is seen as even more inconsistent with our attitude than it really is.
- Bias: Memory. People have a better memory for attitude consistent information than for inconsistent information. Eagly et al. (2000) found that people remember consistent and inconsistent information equally well, but are better at dismissing inconsistent information.
Inoculation: Practice can be the best resistance medicine
Arguing against a persuasive appeal can be an effective way to resist persuasive information.
Research activity: Persuasive appeals
Inoculation and advertising effectiveness
Defending our attitudes can make them stronger.
People need motivation and (cognitive) capacity to defend their attitudes.
Defending our attitudes can make them more important, and we are more motivated to defend important attitudes.
Most people underestimate their vulnerability to persuasive appeals.
People are very easy to influence via subliminal stimuli. These are stimuli that we don't perceive consciously but that nevertheless have an influence on us.
How to resist subliminal influence
There are two limitations to subliminal influence:
- It is difficult to expose people to this influence.
- Its effect is only found by using certain stimuli.
Conscious processing always dominates subliminal influence.
So what does this mean?
People often seek to resist persuasion, and one of their best weapons is awareness. People protect established attitudes by ignoring or resisting information that threatens them. Being forewarned of a persuasion attempt, and having previous experience with related arguments, can help resistance. However, many people overestimate their ability to resist persuasive appeals. Subliminal persuasion gains some of its power because people do not realize they are the target of a persuasive attempt. Information presented outside of conscious awareness can influence attitudes and persuasion, but careful consideration of attitude objects can weaken the influence of subliminal information.