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Word Count: 955
An attitude is a learned stable and relatively enduring evaluation of a person object or idea that can influence an individuals behavior However sometimes individuals attitudes on particular issues change through two main processes persuasion and cognitive consistency Persuasion or any attempt to change an attitude or behavior naturally varies in form depending on the individual and the situation in which it takes place Therefore it is best classified through three basic approaches the central peripheral and memory routes to persuasion Cognitive Consistency the second major mechanism of attitude change deals with the theory of Cognitive Dissonance or the idea that when peoples behavior changes their attitudes will change While persuasion and Cognitive Consistency serve similar purposes they operate under very different circumstances The first main route to persuasion the central route refers to when people take a decision seriously and invest the necessary time and effort to carefully evaluate the evidence and logic behind each message This route is generally more effective with highly intelligent people who have greater capacities to digest a large amount of complex information and are more prone to exert the time and energy to carefully evaluate it For example if an individual speaks to a room of mathematicians on a controversial new theory in calculus the audience members would most likely weigh the evidence presented by the speaker in relation to the great deal of knowledge they already posses on the subject matter and evaluate it accordingly Additionally an audience of mathematicians would be more interested in the topic than would an audience of English teachers and would therefore contemplate the speakers proposal with greater effort The peripheral route to persuasion on the other hand refers to when people listen to a message on a topic of little importance to them and pay more attention to such factors as the speakers appearance and reputation or the sheer number of arguments presented regardless of their quality This route is generally
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