Theories of Communication (Comm 89) Lectures 4&5
Theories of Communication (Comm 89) Lectures 4&5
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Date Created: 05/01/14
Lecture 41514 Theories of Cognition and Communication What these theories have in common 0 They come from the Social Cognition branch of social psychology I Focus on how people make sense of others and themselves I Such research on Attitudes Stereotyping Impressions etc O Combine cognitive processes limitations of cognitive system I IE what happens when too many programs running on a computer can happen with brain mental capacity 0 with those processes with motivation factors goalsneedsrewards 0 to explain how we mentally organize info about others eg attributions impressions etc Cognitive Schema Theory Conversation A Did you order it B Yeah it39ll be here in 40 minutes A Save me a slice 0 Even though unmentioned we know it is pizza I A schema is A mental structure for representing generic concepts stored in memory General schemas help us know how to behave 0 IE Schemas for doctor visit for restaurants holidays etc 0 Can be elaborate IE relationship schemas I Used to guide encoding organization and retrieval of information Created through repeated experiences Do schemas change 0 Relatively stable over time 0 New experiences often activate existing schemas in mind I Automatic organization just kicks in happens in media interactions gender etc I Need lots of contradictory evidence to radically alter a schema rare I Subschemas common Schemas get modified through 0 Accretion New info ts with schemas gets added to existing Con rmation bias only attend to info that con rms to existing schemas 0 Tuning New info doesn39t fit so either reject info or adjustfix schema to fit new info Subtypirzg creating exception category rather than alter the schema 0 Radical restructuring create new schema altogether Cognitive Miser Model Chaiken amp others 0 Stingy with how much thought to put in how much mental effort to spend I Main ideas 0 Humans have limited cognitive capacity 0 Strive to conserve mental effort Example problem Bob is in bar looking at Susan She is looking at Pablo Bob is married Pablo is not Is a married person looking at an unmarried person A Yes B No or C Cannot Tell Cannot tell Do not know anything about Susan But if Susan married would be A Yes If she is unmarried also A yes A Took lots of effort A 0 Use heuristics to process info rules used as mental shortcuts Could not function without them IE Availability heuristic judge frequencies etc based on what easily comes to mind available in memory rather than actual data Some questions 0 Q More likely cause of death Falling airplane or shark attack I A Airplane parts 30x greater 0 Q Claims more lives Lightning or tornadoes I A Lightning IE Affect heuristic judge based on goodbad feeling emotional response Ex Perception of cup size could have fit more vs over owing Research on benefitsrisks IE something sounds great but could lose feel unlikely to lose because of how great I IE Consensus heuristic Everyone else validates can inform IE need to know about a political issue ask knowledgable friend Sometimes bandwagon 0 We process systematically only when we must with conscious thought and effort Why important for communication Helps explain some communicative questions Like gender stereotypes in media Theories of Message Processing and Persuasion What is Persuasion 0 Ejust gaining compliance I Coercion threats force bait not persuasion 0 Persuasion involves I Attitude change Change in mental evaluation of something I Social in uences Change occurs because of social agents using communication Cognitive Dissonance Theory Festinger 0 Main ideas I Dissonance like in music discord is a jarring clash of notes I In Theory distress comes from discord between beliefsattitudesbehavior IE smokers continue to smoke but know it is unhealthy 0 To persuade provoke dissonance then provide your way to reduce it can also change attitude of dissonance 0 Reducing dissonance I Beforehand Try to prevent it Don39t be persuaded by avoiding it to begin with using Selective exposure attention 0 IE Animal charity commercials gt change channel as soon as it comes on I After a decision Rationalize 0 IE Did I do the right thing doubts about marriages university choice etc Need reassurance remove nagging doubts Dissonance likely to be greater if 0 Important decision irreversible much timeenergy invested I When feeling an inconsistency Example 0 Attitude You feel it39s good to be healthy 0 Belief You believe that ice cream is unhealthy 0 Behavior You eat lots of ice cream I Ewe attitude belief or behavior to fix inconsistency IE attitude ice cream is healthy enough with calcium belief convince self it is ok to be unhealthy behavior stop eating ice cream I Add consonant cognitionattitudes IE this will be the only unhealthy thing I eat will exercise later I Reduce importance of cognitionattitudebehavior IE being healthy is good but that39s not all there is to life I When minimal justification for behavior gt more dissonance gt more shift IE Feel more dissonance if doing it for worthless reason like as a taste tester as opposed to legitimate justification like Grandma39s bday Criticism I Are we really that uncomfortable with dissonance I Altemative explanation Aronson inconsistence is with behavior and selfconcept e g guilt Lecture 41714 Persuasion theories cont Elaboration Likelihood Model ELM Petty amp Cacioppo O Main ideas I Assumes people are motivated to hold correct attitudes I Attitude how you feel so how can this be correct IE admitting guilty pleasures I People vary as to how much they cognitively elaborate on persuasive messages IE how far indepth one will argue how much one thinks through pros and cons I Different factors are persuasive depending on the amount of elaboration A dual process approach 0 Two cognitive routes to persuasion I Central route Persuasion results from elaboration thoughtful consideration of argument I Peripheral route Persuasion is result of attention to superficial cuts in the contest heuristics mental shortcuts 0 Occurs along a continuum peripheral lt gt central What in uences amount of elaboration 0 Motivation to process messages I Personal relevanceinvolvement how much you care I Need for cognition personality factor need to analyze all of it 0 Ability to process messages I Distractiontime constraints I Prior knowledgeunderstanding I So Low motivation ampor ability gt decreases cognitive elaboration gt importance of peripheral cues lt leads to motivationability lt leads to cognitive elaboration from persuasive arguments being more important I What factors have been found to be persuasive If centrally processing 0 Strong highquality arguments If peripherally processing 0 Source credibility likeability powerful language 0 Consensus of others 0 Message length I Attitude change From central processing 0 Lasts longer predicts better behavior 0 Resists counterpersuasion From peripheral processing 0 More temporary less predictive of behavior 0 Counterpersuasion susceptible 0 Criticisms I Not very good at predicting persuasive effectiveness eg What IS a strong argument I Are there really TWO paths The HeuristicSystematic Model HSM Chaiken and others CMM applied to persuasion Very similar to ELM 0 Also a dual process model I Processing labeled systematic central vs heuristic peripheral 0 Results for persuasion are similar Key differences are conceptual 0 Using heuristics is M to conserve mental effort I Is given for all the time unless forced otherwise 0 Processes are M not separate routes can do both at once I Answer to criticism
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