chapter  12
16 Pages

Persuasion After Ostracism: Need-Based Inuences on Persuasion

During the 1950s and 1960s, two independent research groups similarly proposed that attitudes can serve psychological needs and thus have motivational bases (Katz, 1960; Smith, Bruner, & White, 1956). They further identied a list of functions that attitudes may serve and tried to test these functions experimentally. Over the last half of the 20th century, although various researchers have adopted the functional approach to study persuasion (e.g., Shavitt, 1990; Smith et al., 1956; Snyder & DeBono, 1985), the sheer number of studies is rather small, especially as compared with the extensive list of studies of attitudes and persuasion using the more dominant cognitive approaches. Interestingly, functional approaches have prevailed in other areas of social psychological research. In particular, the nature and impact of several core social motives (e.g., belonging, self-esteem, control, etc.) have been studied extensively in literatures addressing self-concept and self-worth. In this research, it has been shown repeatedly that people strive to fortify unsatised social needs through cognitive as well as behavioral mechanisms (e.g., Baumeister & Leary, 1995; Crocker & Park, 2004; Pyszczynski, Greenberg, & Solomon, 1999; Williams, 2007). Because attitudes can serve different psychological needs, it is reasonable to expect that the effectiveness of persuasive attempts would often be inuenced by individuals’ social motives.