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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Persuasion is an active, intentional attempt to change nonverifiable evaluations, feeling, values, norms, and related behaviors. Historically, there have been two major programs of attitude change research in social psychology, one a learning theory approach associated with Carl Hovland, the second a cognitive consistency approach associated with Gestalt psychology and the research of Fritz Heider and the many students of Kurt Lewin. More recently, dual process theories of attitude change point to two different paths by which persuasion can occur, one a central route based on a relatively deep, systematic, conscious processing of the arguments in a persuasive message; the second a peripheral route based on more shallow, heuristic, and sometimes almost automatic processing of a persuasive message. Attitudes are frequently an important—but rarely the only—determinant of behavior; and behavior, sometimes, can be an important determinant of attitudes.

Keywords: attitudes, attitude change, cognitive consistency, dual process models, media effects, message learning, persuasion, political campaign effects

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