Persuasion header image
The Nature of Attitudes and Persuasion

The Yale Approach

Congruity Theory

Cognitive Dissonance Theory

Social Judgment/ Involvement Theory

Information Integration Theory

Theory of Reasoned Action

Elaboration Likelihood Model


Information Integration Theory

Information Integration Theory
Suggestions for Changing Attitudes
Suggestions for Changing Attitudes
Information Integration theory offers several options for those who want to create (or encourage) attitude change. Remember that an attitude can be made up of favorable and unfavorable information and that each piece of information has both weight and value. Also, a personís attitude is only (or primarily) shaped by the information that is salient, or that they remember). This means that if they knew a piece of information but forgot it, we may be able to persuade them by reminding them this idea. Ordinarily, we would not have to convince them that we are right about this piece of information, because it is something they once accepted. It can often be easier to remind them of an idea than to persuade them to accept a new idea. Of course, you have to remind them of something that supports the new attitude you want them to accept. (There is also some risk that if they havenít forgotten this idea, they will find your message repetitive and boring.)

With these factors in mind, Information Integration theory declares that there are six basic options for changing a personís attitude:

-increase the favorability (value) of a piece of existing information that supports the desired attitude
-increase the weight of a piece of existing information that supports the desired attitude
-decrease the favorability (value) of a piece of existing information that opposes the desired attitude
-decrease the weight of a piece of existing information that opposes the desired attitude
-offer a new piece of favorable information
-remind the audience about a forgotten piece of favorable information

For example, suppose that Jon has a unfavorable attitude toward a local restaurant called ďEatsĒ and that this attitude is based on the following pieces of information (mostly unfavorable, but some favorable):

I1. Eats is too expensive.
I2. The food at Eats is pretty good.
I3. The waiters at Eats are snotty.
I4. My friends donít go to Eats very often.

You could try to make change Jonís attitude in six ways. First, you could say that the food at Eats isnít just good, it is fabulous (increasing the evaluation, or value, of an existing favorable piece of information, I1). Second, you could suggest that the most important thing about a restaurant is the taste of the food (increasing the weight of an existing favorable piece of information, I1). A third option would be to try to persuade Jon that the waiters werenít really that snotty (decreasing the unfavorability, or value, of an existing piece of unfavorable information, I3). Fourth, you could tell Jon that you really donít talk to waiters very much. Most discussion over dinner is with dinner companions, so it doesnít matter how snotty the waiters are (decrease the weight of an existing unfavorable piece of information, I3). Another option would be to tell Jon that they have a redecorated Eats, making it a much nicer place to dine (creating a new, favorable piece of information, I5). Finally, you could mention to Jon something he has forgotten, that Eats is very convenient (reminding him of a favorable piece of forgotten information, I6).

Furthermore, each of these options could spark more than one idea. You could give him other new information about the restaurant (e.g., new menu items) or remind him of other favorable things he has forgotten (e.g., that they have a big-screen TV for sporting events). You would not need to use all six options to persuade someone, but this theory can help you think of a variety of ways to persuade your audience.

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