EMPOWER Addiction Recovery




A learned tendency to evaluate some object, person, or issue in a particular way.  The evaluation of a person’s behavior, beliefs or concepts.

Attitude influences behavior; Strength of the link between particular behavior and attitude varies, but generally people strive for consistency. Ironically, this consistency sometimes works the other way around and behavior influences attitude.

Such evaluations may be positive, negative, or ambivalent:
Attitudes can include three components:
A cognitive component
An emotional/affective component
A behavioral component


Central route processing – the recipient thoughtfully considers the issues and arguments involved in persuasion. This occurs when recipients thoughtfully considers the issues and arguments involved in the message. Swayed by logic, merit and strength of argument, highly involved and motivated people use it, generally leads to stronger and more lasting attitude change.

CRITICAL THINKING!!central vs peripheral


Peripheral route processing – when people are persuaded on the basis of factors unrelated to the nature or quality of the content of a persuasive message. Occurs when people are persuaded on the basis of factors unrelated to quality or nature of the content of persuasive message
Factors that are irrelevant or extraneous to the issue like who is providing the message, how long is it or the emotional appeal of the argument influence them which results in a weaker, less persistent attitude change.

Two Major Routes to Persuasion (Petty & Cacioppo)
Peripheral Routes
Less judicious consideration of the message – affected by simple messages – often irrelevant cues that suggest rightness, wrongness, or attractiveness
Central Routes
A more deliberate process that involves weighing arguments and considering relevant facts and figures, and thinking about issues in a systematic fashion.

The Message Source:

The behavior and characteristics of a person who delivers a persuasive
message are known as the attitude communicator.

The communicator will have a major impact on the effectiveness of the message.

The communicator will be physically and socially attractive.

This type of communicator will produce greater attitude change

The characteristics of the message:

Not just who delivers the message but what the message is,  that affects attitudes

Generally, two-sided messages are more effective, given that argument
of one side can be effectively refuted and audience is knowledgeable about the topic

Fear producing messages are effective when means of reducing fear is provided.
Coupling fear messages with specific instructions of how to take appropriate action. In general, fear is more effective than logical appeals but it is difficult to completely separate the two types of messages. Research on the severity of emotional appeals reveals that the more frightened people are by a message the more desire they have to take preventative action.

Two Major Components of the Message Source:

Attractiveness – Beauty (Mills & Aronson)
Found that a “beautiful” women was effective at influencing an audience on a topic irrelevant to her beauty.
Impact was greatest when she told the audience she was trying to influence them.

Likability (Eagly & Chaiken)
The more likable people are, the more effective at persuading others. Participants expected attractive sources to support desirable positions. People are most affected by attractive sources about trivial issues – not issues that are vitally important to us. The nature of the communication Logical versus emotional appeals

Research indicates that you’re most likely to behave in accordance with your attitudes when:

  • Attitudes are extreme or are frequently expressed
  • Attitudes have been formed through direct experience
  • You are very knowledgeable about the subject
  • You have a vested interest in the subject
  • You anticipate a favorable outcome or response from others




dissonanceCognitive dissonance – an unpleasant state of psychological tension (dissonance) that occurs when there’s an inconsistency between two thoughts or perceptions (cognitions).  This typically results from the awareness that attitudes and behavior are in conflict.

Cognitive dissonance can change the strength of an attitude so that it is consistent with some behavior we’ve already performed.
The unpleasant state that occurs when attitudes don’t match behaviors.

  • Change Behavior
  • Explain Away Inconsistency
  • Minimize Inconsistency
  • Change Attitude





Aronson, E., (2012) The Social Animal(11th ed). New York: Worth Publishers
Myers, D., (2015) Exploring Social Psychology(7th ed). McGraw Hill.

%d bloggers like this: