A history of Attitudes and Persuasion Research

Authored by: Pablo Briñol , Richard E. Petty

Handbook of the History of Social Psychology

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  October  2012

Print ISBN: 9781848728684
eBook ISBN: 9780203808498
Adobe ISBN: 9781136668999


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For the most part, the history of the field of attitudes and persuasion parallels the history of social psychology itself. There are at least two reasons for this. First, the attitude concept was a central and dominant one in social psychology from its inception. Second, because the concept of attitudes was so fundamental (basic) to so many social psychological phenomena, theories regarding attitudes and their formation and change have served as the building blocks for numerous other topics in the field ranging from prejudice to relationships. Although the absolute hegemony of this topic has risen and fallen over time in a cyclic way, as we will document in this chapter, in every decade over the past 100 years there has been at least one core idea or theory that has not only influenced researchers of attitudes, but social psychologists more generally.

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