Question 2: What are attitudes and how do they influence message reception and attitude change?
The influence communication has on our lives is often taken for granted. How we have been taught to communicate shapes our behaviour, opinions, perceptions and entire value system. How we then communicate with one another reflects our attitude towards our social environment. According to Baron and Byrne (1997), “Attitudes are lasting evaluations of various aspects of the social world” (p. 112). It is essentially the mental state when responding to objects and situations through the opinions, perceptions and value systems formed, which are all as a result of early socialisation. Communication, whether verbal or non-verbal, is essential in human interaction. Therefore, the study of communication is essential in understanding human behaviour. The field of social psychology deals with how we think about and interact with others, so it is no surprise that this field will be the basis of reasoning in this paper.
Relationships are very important in our social reality; however, they are also very fragile. Building relationships instead of destroying them will depend on our understanding of our ongoing interaction with people. Our attitudes will always tell a very interesting story as they are deeply imbedded in our self identity. As individuals we tend to get passionate about specific concepts, this passion really demonstrates our attitudes on social information. For this reason, the influence of attitudes on human behaviour is dominant and relevant. It can then be said that our behaviour intention is actually dependent on our attitude towards the particular behaviour.
The communication process is one of transferring meaning from one person to another. More than often, this transfer of meaning is intended to influence or persuade whoever it is directed at. The communication process involves a message being sent through a particular medium from a ‘sender’ to a...