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in 1939. So, on August 31, 1939, SS of¬cers took Polish prisoners from a
concentration camp, dressed them in Polish army uniforms, and shot them. Their
bodies were scattered outside a German radio station and comprised a contrived
attack on a German radio station on the Polish border. In fact, Hitler said, “Polish
regular of¬cers ¬red on our territory. Since 5:45 a.m. we have been returning the
¬re.” The German invasion of Poland began soon after Hitlerʼs false statement.
• Repetition: Nazi propaganda hammered home the same messages and images over
and over. For example, several propaganda posters portrayed Hitler as the savior
of Germany and a skilled military leader.
• Assertion: In 1943, despite the fact that the tide of the war was turning against
Germany, Josef Goebbels continued to assert that Germany would win the war. In
a New Yearʼs Eve speech in 1943 he stated, “Our war position has indeed become
tighter than it was at the end of 1942, but it is more than suf¬cient to guarantee
us a certain ¬nal victory.” He went on to list the failures of the Allied army and
asserted that the facts supported a German victory.
• Pinpointing an enemy: Propaganda works best when it comes out against
something. An old saying goes that nothing unites people like a common enemy.
The enemy becomes the focus of negative thoughts and emotions and serves
to de¬‚ect criticism from the propagandistʼs group. Nazi propaganda identi¬ed
two enemies: the Jews and opposing countries. Of the Jews, Goebbels wrote in
1941, “Every Jew is our enemy in this historic struggle, regardless of whether
he vegetates in a Polish ghetto or carries on his parasitic existence in Berlin or
Hamburg or blows the trumpets of war in New York or Washington. All Jews by
virtue of their birth and their race are part of an international conspiracy against
National Socialist Germany.” A poster showed a ¬st smashing the bodies of
enemies (one clearly with a British ¬‚ag on his back) with the caption “Into dust
with all enemies of Germany.
• Appeals to authority: Even as Hitler rose to power in 1933, he still had an image
problem. People, politicians, and military leaders were skeptical of Hitler and his
party. So, it was important to show that Hitler had the blessing of someone held
in high esteem by the German people. Nazi propagandists went to work giving
the German people the idea that Hitler had the support and blessing of the much
beloved President Hindenburg. A propaganda poster showed the “Corporal and
the Field Marshal” together. In reality, Hindenburg despised Hitler and handed the
chancellorship over to him only when he had no other choice. Additionally, Nazi
art often showed Hitler in god-like poses and settings, giving the impression that
he also had the support of a supreme being.
Social Psychology
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The Leopold and Loeb Case Revisited
Clarence Darrow used all his powers of persuasion to save his clients, Leopold and
Loeb, from execution. As a skilled communicator, he knew how important it was to
establish and maintain his credibility. Many of his arguments aimed, sometimes subtly,
sometimes not, at destroying his opponentʼs credibility and enhancing his own.
Darrow also understood that a communicator who seems disinterested in persuading
his audience is usually more successful than one who is clearly trying to persuade. He
took the high moral ground, arguing that it would be inhumane to execute two young
men who werenʼt entirely responsible for their actions.
Darrow did not neglect his audiences, the trial judge and the public. He carefully struc-
tured and presented his arguments in order to have the greatest effect on them. Darrow
knew that arguments too far from the judgeʼs “latitude of acceptance” would not succeed.
He didnʼt argue against capital punishment (although he personally opposed it), just capital
punishment in this particular case. He knew Judge Caverly was listening carefully to his
arguments, elaborating on them and placing them in the context of American criminal
justice. He knew the world was listening, too. The Leopold and Loeb “thrill murder” case
became one of the most infamous incidents in U.S. history, for Americans were shocked at
the spectacle of two wealthy young men who killed just to see what it would feel like.
Judge Caverly handed down his decision on September 10, 1924. Leopold and Loeb
were sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and 99 years for kidnapping. Loeb died
in 1936 in a prison ¬ght; a model prisoner, Leopold was released at the age of 70 and
spent the rest of his life in Puerto Rico helping the poor.



Chapter Review
1. What is persuasion?
Persuasion is a form of social in¬‚uence whereby a communicator uses rational
and/or emotional arguments to convince others to change their attitudes or
behavior.
2. What is the Yale communication model?
The Yale communication model is a theoretical model that guides persuasion
tactics. It is based on the assumption that persuasion will occur if a persuader
presents a logical argument that clari¬es how attitude change is bene¬cial.
3. What factors about the communicator affect persuasion?
The Yale model focuses on the credibility of the communicator, an important
determinant of the likelihood that persuasion will occur. The components of
credibility are expertise and trustworthiness. Although an important factor
in the persuasiveness of a message, communicator credibility may not have
long-lasting effects. Over time, a message from a noncredible source may be as
persuasive as one from a credible source, a phenomenon known as the sleeper
effect. This is more likely to occur if there is a strong persuasive argument, if
a discounting cue is given, and if suf¬cient time passes that people forget who
said what. Other communicator factors that increase persuasion are physical
attractiveness, similarity to the target, and a rapid, ¬‚uent speech style.
Chapter 6 Persuasion and Attitude Change 227

4. What message factors mediate persuasion?
Messages that include a mild to moderate appeal to fear seem to be more
persuasive than others, provided they offer a solution to the fear-producing
situation. The timing of the message is another factor in its persuasiveness,
as is the structure of the message and the extent to which the communicator
attempts to ¬t the message to the audience. Research supports inoculation
theory, which holds that giving people a weakened version of an opposing
argument is an effective approach to persuasion. Good communicators also
know their audience well enough not to deliver a highly discrepant message.
When this cannot be avoided, as when there is a multiple audience problem,
communicators use hidden messages and private keys and codes to get their
point across.
Additionally, the amount of discrepancy between the content of a
message and the audience membersʼ existing attitudes makes a difference.
According to social judgment theory, persuasion relates to the amount of
personal involvement an individual has with an issue. A message can fall into
a personʼs latitude of acceptance (positions found to be acceptable), latitude of
rejection (positions found to be unacceptable), or latitude of noncommitment
(positions neither accepted nor rejected, but to be considered).
5. What is the elaboration likelihood model of persuasion?
Cognitive response models focus on the active role of the audience. They
assert that people respond to persuasive messages by connecting them
with their own knowledge, feelings, and thoughts related to the topic of
the message. The elaboration likelihood model (ELM), which examines
how individuals respond to the persuasive message, proposes two routes to
persuasion. The ¬rst, central route processing, is used when people have the
capacity and motivation to understand the message and analyze it in a critical
and effortful manner. Central route processors elaborate on the message by
connecting it to their knowledge and feelings. Sometimes this elaboration
will persuade the recipient, depending on the strength of the message. Central
route processors tend to experience more durable attitude changes.
The second avenue to persuasion is peripheral route processing. This
occurs when individuals do not have the motivation or interest to process
effortfully. Instead, they rely on cues other than the merits of the message,
such as the attractiveness of the communicator. Whether a person uses
central or peripheral route processing depends on a number of factors,
including mood, personal relevance, and use of language. The ¬‚exible
correction model augments the elaboration likelihood model. It suggests
that individuals using central route processing are in¬‚uenced by biasing
factors when they are not aware of the potential impact of those factors”for
example, when they are in a good mood. Under these conditions, correction
for biasing factors takes place.
Social Psychology
228

6. What is the impact of vividness on persuasion?
Overall, the effect of vividness of a message on persuasion is not very
strong. Studies show, however, that individuals exposed to vivid messages
on an issue that was important to them felt the vivid message was effective.
Vividness may be bene¬cial in political ads or in jury trials. For example,
jurors awarded more money to a plaintiff when the evidence they heard
was vivid as opposed to nonvivid. Vivid information has its greatest impact
when a persuasive message requires few resources and a person is highly
motivated to process the message. For a message with a highly motivated
target that requires many resources, vividness does not have an effect on
persuasion.
7. What is the need for cognition?
Need for cognition (NC) is an individual difference variable mediating
persuasion. Individuals who are high in the need for cognition will process
persuasive information along the central route, regardless of the situation or
the complexity of the message. Conversely, individuals low in the need for
cognition pay more attention to peripheral cues (e.g., physical characteristics
of the speaker) and are more likely to use peripheral route processing of a
persuasive message.
8. What is the heuristic and systematic information model of persuasion?
The heuristic and systematic information-processing model (HSM) focuses
more heavily on the importance of heuristics or peripheral cues than does
the elaboration likelihood model. This model notes that often issues are too
complex or too numerous for effortful, systematic processing to be practical.
9. What is cognitive dissonance theory, and what are its main ideas?
Cognitive dissonance theory proposes that people feel an uncomfortable
tension when their attitudes, or attitude and behavior, are inconsistent. This
psychological discomfort is known as cognitive dissonance. According to
the theory, people are motivated to reduce this tension, and attitude change
is a likely outcome. Dissonance theory suggests that the less reward people
receive for a behavior, the more compelled they feel to provide their own
justi¬cation for it, especially if they believe they have freely chosen it.
Similarly, the more they are rewarded, the more they infer that the behavior is
suspect. The latter is known as the reverse-incentive effect.
Additionally, cognitive dissonance theory states that an individual
will experience dissonance after making a decision between two mutually
exclusive, equally attractive alternatives. This is known as postdecision
dissonance.
Another, more recent view suggests that cognitive dissonance results not
so much from inconsistency as from the feeling of personal responsibility that
occurs when inconsistent actions produce negative consequences.
Chapter 6 Persuasion and Attitude Change 229

10. What is self-perception theory?
One alternative to cognitive dissonance theory is self-perception theory,
which argues that behavior and attitude change can be explained without
assuming that people are motivated to reduce the tension supposedly
produced by inconsistency.
Instead, self-perception assumes that people are not self-conscious
processors of information. They simply observe their own behavior and
assume that their attitudes must be consistent with that behavior.
11. What is self-af¬rmation theory?
Another alternative to cognitive dissonance, self-af¬rmation theory explains
how people deal with the tension that dissonant thoughts or behaviors
provoke. Self-af¬rmation theory suggests that people may not try to reduce
dissonance if they can maintain their self-concept by proving that they are
adequate in other ways”that is, by af¬rming an unrelated and positive part
of the self.
12. What is psychological reactance?
Individuals may reduce psychological tension in another way as well. When
people realize they have been coerced into doing or buying something
against their will, they sometimes try to regain or reassert their freedom. This
response is called psychological reactance.
13. What is propaganda?
Propaganda is de¬ned as a deliberate attempt to persuade people, by any
available media, to think in a manner desired by the source. The internal
characteristics of propaganda refer to the psychological makeup of the targets
of propaganda. In order for propaganda to be effective, the propagandist
must know which attitudes, sentiments, and behaviors can be easily
manipulated. Deeply held beliefs are commonly left alone. The external
characteristics of propaganda refer to the characteristics of the propaganda
itself. In order for propaganda to be maximally effective, it must be organized
and total.
14. How are the tactics of propaganda used on a mass scale?
Propagandists use a variety of techniques to persuade the masses. These
include use of stereotypes, substitution of names, selection of facts, downright
lying, repetition, assertion, pinpointing an enemy, and appeals to authority.
Conformity,
Compliance, and
Obedience
When you think of the long and gloomy history
of man, you will ¬nd more hideous crimes have
been committed in the name of obedience than
have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.
”C. P. Snow



The jury had been impanelled to hear the case State v. Leroy Reed. Reed, a Key Questions
paroled felon, had been arrested for possessing a gun. Karl, a ¬re¬ghter, sat As you read this chapter,
in the jury box, carefully listening and watching. The prosecuting attorney ¬nd the answers to the
argued that the defendant should be found guilty of violating his parole, following questions:
despite any sympathy jurors might feel for him. The defense attorney argued
1. What is conformity?
that even though Reed had bought a gun, he should not be found guilty.
2. What is the source of
According to the defense, Reed bought the gun because he believed that it
the pressures that lead to
was required for a mail-order detective course in which he had enrolled. Reed
conformity?
wanted to better his life, and he thought that becoming a private detective
3. What research evidence is
was just the ticket. He admired real-life detectives very much. He had told a
there for conformity?
police detective at the county courthouse that he was learning to be a detective
4. What factors in¬‚uence
and had bought a gun. The detective was incredulous and told Reed to go
conformity?
home and get it. Reed did so and was promptly arrested because possessing
a gun is a criminal offense for felons. Evidence also showed that Reed was 5. Do women conform more than
men?
able to read at only a ¬fth-grade level and probably did not understand that
he was violating his parole by purchasing a weapon. The judge told the 6. Can the minority ever
jury that, according to the law, they must ¬nd Reed guilty if he possessed a in¬‚uence the majority?
gun and knew that he possessed a gun. As he went into the jury room, Karl 7. How does minority in¬‚uence
was convinced that Reed was guilty. After all, the prosecutor had presented work?
suf¬cient evidence concerning the points of law that according to the judge 8. Why do we sometimes end up
must be ful¬lled for conviction. Reed had bought a gun and certainly knew doing things we would rather
that he possessed that gun. As the deliberations began, however, it became not do?
obvious that not all of the jurors agreed with Karl. 9. What are compliance
The results of a ¬rst-ballot vote taken by the foreperson showed that nine techniques, and why do they
jurors favored acquittal and only three, including Karl, favored conviction. work?
After further discussion, two of the jurors favoring conviction changed their


231
Social Psychology
232


votes. Karl alone held ¬rm to his belief in the defendant™s guilt. As the deliberations
10. What do social progressed, the other jurors tried to convince Karl that a not-guilty verdict was the
psychologists mean by fairer verdict. This pressure made Karl very anxious and upset. He continually
the term “obedience”?
put his face in both hands and closed his eyes. Continued efforts to persuade
11. How do social Karl to change his verdict failed.
psychologists de¬ne evil, After a while, however, Karl, still unconvinced, decided to change his verdict.

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