ERIC Number: ED184179
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Feb
Reference Count: 0
Communication, Attitudes and Behavior: An Axiomatic Theory with Implications for Persuasion Research.
Plax, Timothy G.; De Fleur, Melvin L.
Defining "attitudes" as a structure or organization of beliefs, this paper advances a formal theory of the relationship between attitudes, other belief configurations, and overt behavior. The theory presented assumes that an attitude about a given topic consists of three major dimensions of belief orientation (favorability/unfavorability), salience (strength of feeling), and specificity (the restrictive as opposed to the inclusive aspects of beliefs). It also incorporates beliefs about topic importance, social pressure to act or not to act, social influence to act positively or negatively, and action constraints related to the behavior under study. Each of these factors is defined and incorporated into the axiomatic formulation. Two major theorems are derived that predict (1) whether the subject will act or not act toward the attitude topic and, if the subject acts, (2) whether that action will be positive or negative. Finally, extensions of the theory are discussed, indicating how persuasive messages can be designed to modify belief configurations and influence behavior. (Author/FL)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Speech Communication Association (Portland, OR, February 16-20, 1980).