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A positive, negative, or mixed reaction to a person, object, or idea.

attitude scale

A multiple-item questionnaire designed to measure a person's attitude toward some object.

bogus pipeline

A phony lie-detector device that is sometimes used to get respondents to give truthful answers to sensitive questions.

central route to persuasion

The process by which a person thinks carefully about a communication and is influenced by the strength of its arguments.

cognitive dissonance theory

The theory that holding inconsistent cognitions arouses psychological tension that people become motivated to reduce.


The process of thinking about and scrutinizing the arguments contained in a persuasive communication.

facial electromyograph (EMG)

An electronic instrument that records facial muscle activity associated with emotions and attitudes.

Implicit Association Test (IAT)

A covert measure of unconscious attitudes derived from the speed at which people respond to pairings of concepts—such as black or white with good or bad.

implicit attitude

An attitude, such as prejudice, that one is not aware of having.

inoculation hypothesis

The idea that exposure to weak versions of a persuasive argument increases later resistance to that argument.

insufficient deterrence

A condition in which people refrain from engaging in a desirable activity, even when only mild punishment is threatened.

insufficient justification

A condition in which people freely perform an attitude-discrepant behavior without receiving a large reward.

need for cognition (NC)

A personality variable that distinguishes people on the basis of how much they enjoy effortful cognitive activities.

peripheral route to persuasion

The process by which a person does not think carefully about a communication and is influenced instead by superficial cues.


The process by which attitudes are changed.

psychological reactance

The theory that people react against threats to their freedom by asserting themselves and perceiving the threatened freedom as more attractive.

sleeper effect

A delayed increase in the persuasive impact of a noncredible source.

theory of planned behavior

The theory that attitudes toward a specific behavior combine with subjective norms and perceived control to influence a person's actions.

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