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Attitudes have three main components: cognitive, affective, and behavioral. The cognitive component concerns one's beliefs; the affective component involves feelings and evaluations; and the behavioral component consists of ways of acting toward the attitude object. The cognitive aspects of attitude are generally measured by surveys, interviews, and other reporting methods, while the affective components are more easily assessed by monitoring physiological signs such as heart rate. Behavior, on the other hand, may be assessed by direct observation. Behavior does not always conform to a person's feelings and beliefs. Behavior which reflects a given attitude may be suppressed because of a competing attitude, or in deference to the views of others who disagree with it. A classic theory that addresses inconsistencies in behavior and attitudes is Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance, which is based on the principle that people prefer their cognitions, or beliefs, to be consistent with each other and with their own behavior. Inconsistency, or dissonance, among their own ideas makes people uneasy enough to alter these ideas so that they will agree with each other. For example, smokers forced to deal with the opposing thoughts "I smoke" and "smoking is dangerous" are likely to alter one of them by deciding to quit smoking, discount the evidence of its dangers, or adopt the view that smoking will not harm them personally. Test subjects in hundreds of experiments have reduced cognitive dissonance by changing their attitudes. An alternative explanation of attitude change is provided by Daryl Bem's self-perception theory, which asserts that people adjust their attitudes to match their own previous behavior. Attitudes are formed in different ways. Children acquire many of their attitudes by modeling their parents' attitudes. Classical conditioning using pleasurable stimuli is another method of attitude formation and one widely used by advertisers who pair a product with catchy music, soothing colors, or attractive people. Operant conditioning, which utilizes rewards, is a mode of attitude formation often employed by parents and teachers. Attitudes are also formed through direct experience. It is known, in fact, that the more exposure one has toward a given object,

Many studies have found women to be more susceptible to persuasion than men. In addition. it has been hypothesized that the greater one's intelligence. "down home" manner to their constituency. and intelligence also affect attitude change. Some have attributed it to the superior verbal skills of females which may increase their ability to understand and process verbal arguments. for example. while those with high self-esteem are too sure of their own opinions to be easily persuaded to change them. If the same communicator were to present an identical message to two different groups. persuasion. Others argue that it is culturally determined by the greater pressure women feel to conform to others' opinions and expectations. whether it states an implicit or explicit conclusion. On one hand. although the effectiveness of any one component of communication always involves the interaction of all of them. and whether it presents its strongest arguments first or last. The most easily persuaded individuals tend to be those with moderate levels of self-esteem. Its success depends on several factors. sex. There is. clothing style. On the other hand. and also be considered trustworthy. To be effective. Sometimes they are evident right away. or politician. the more positive one's attitude is likely to be. the greater the communicator's effectiveness. especially if their environment supports the initial opinion. the method by which the message is presented is at least as important as its content. In analyzing the effectiveness of the persuasive message itself. Faceto-face communication is usually more effective than mass communication. This practice has come to include distinguishing and distancing themselves from "Washington insiders" who are perceived by the majority of the electorate as being different from themselves. One of the most common types of communication. evidence of a direct link between self-esteem and attitude change. beverage. . however. is a discourse aimed at changing people's attitudes. of a message.whether it is a song. The effects of persuasion may take different forms. people with superior intelligence may be less easily persuaded because they are more likely to detect weaknesses in another person's argument. whether or not it provokes fear. but contrasting theories have been advanced to account for this phenomenon. People with low self-esteem are often not attentive enough to absorb persuasive messages. the more willing one is to consider differing points of view. the number of people whose attitudes were changed would still vary because audience variables such as age. Factors influencing the persuasiveness of a message include whether it presents one or both sides of an argument. The first of these is the source. The medium of persuasion also influences attitude change ("the medium is the message"). who are likely to pay a reasonable amount of attention to what those around them say and remain open enough to let it change their minds. or communicator. a communicator must have credibility based on his or her perceived knowledge of the topic. This is the principle behind politicians' perennial attempts to portray themselves in a folksy. The greater the perceived similarity between communicator and audience. people may often change their attitudes only to revert over time to their original opinions. The effect of intelligence on attitude change is inconclusive. at other times they may be delayed (the so-called "sleeper effect").

" Cawley said. as attitudes about weight constantly shift. A survey finds America's attitudes toward overweight people are shifting from rejection toward acceptance. but apparently fat is nowhere near as out as it used to be. In order to change listeners' attitudes." a term born of 17th century painter Peter Paul Rubens' full-figured women . They must then yield to the argument. associate professor at Cornell University's College of Human Ecology. adults overweight. and the listeners must comprehend the message. "But to live that way is a real effort. focuses on a chronological sequence of steps that are necessary for successful persuasion to take place. the national preoccupation with being thin has waned since the late 1980s and early 1990s. down from 86 percent in 1999. Those were the days when fast food chains rushed to install salad bars.corseted women with tiny waists were preferred in other eras.S. With about two-thirds of U." Fewer people said they're trying to "avoid snacking entirely" . according to the survey." The survey's findings aren't that surprising.S.900 people representative of the U. "I don't beat myself up if I have a piece of cake.Thin is still in. HEALTH NEWS -. developed by psychologist William McGuire. the market research firm NPD Group found. "It turns out health is a wonderful topic to talk about. said the NPD's Harry Balzer. While heavy women were idealized at times . population also found other more relaxed attitudes about weight and diet. down from 45 percent in 1985 . In 1989." Balzer said. Over a 20-year period. the percentage of Americans who said they find overweight people less attractive steadily dropped from 55 percent to 24 percent. While body image remains a constant obsession. . researchers say. a 34-year-old New Yorker and author of "Fat Chicks Rule.think "Rubenesque. and retain it until there is an opportunity for action-the final step in attitude change. Americans seem more accepting of heavier body types. no-fat or reduced fat products in the last two weeks.The information-processing model of persuasion. Today. Lara Frater likes her body just fine and turns up her nose at trendy diets.just 26 percent in 2005. said John Cawley. "I don't think we're going to go back to worshipping obese women. salads as a main course peaked at 10 percent of all restaurant meals. those salad bars have all but vanished and salads account for just 5½ percent of main dishes. The NPD survey of 1.while 75 percent said they had low-fat." said Frater. one must first capture their attention. but it's interesting to see how attitudes change as more people become overweight. At 5-feet-6 and 230 pounds.

many still yearn to be thin. said fat people are the target of a witch hunt in a fitness-obsessed nation. noting that it's likely a majority of survey respondents are overweight.Others argue that people are merely becoming more politically correct and that bias against fat people is actually growing sharper. "These studies don't pick up on implicit." said Kelly Brownell. There's a difference between what people say and what actually happens. he was more likely to be described as miserable. The NPD study results may simply be a sign of "resignation from overweight people." Brownell said. depressed. who won't use the word "overweight" because she says it's judgmental. "Everyone thinks it's OK to make fun of fatties. The study had young women look at one of two pictures: One of a trim young man standing next to a svelte woman. board member of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance." Brownell said. unconscious bias. . When the man was shown standing by the large woman. weak and insecure. also found obese boys and girls were half as likely to date as normal weight kids. At an obesity doctors meeting in 2003. head of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University. and the other showing the same man next to a heavy woman. a University of Liverpool study indicated that just standing next to a large woman can be bad for a guy's image. When seen with the large woman." said Wann. Even if people say they are more accepting of overweight people. The NPD survey shows the number of people who said "I would like to lose 20 pounds" jumped from 54 percent in 1985 to 61 percent last year. Marilyn Wann. he was rated 22 percent more negatively by the study volunteers than when he was next to the thin woman. Researchers at Cornell also found that negative attitudes about obesity persist. to be published in February in the journal Rationality and Society. "It's like if you asked people around the country if they had racial bias. The survey.