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Persuasion and Resistance

Robin L. Nabi


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In →  Persuasion research, the concept of resistance generally refers to →  audiences withstanding attempts to change their beliefs, →  attitudes , or behaviors. Resistance, however, can actually be conceptualized in multiple ways. For example, it can be thought of as simply an outcome of a persuasive attempt (i.e., no change in attitude in the face of a persuasive message). It might also be considered a motivation , or goal of the audience (e.g., to maintain or protect their initial beliefs). Resistance might also reflect the process through which persuasive attempts are thwarted (e.g., disagreement with a message position or denigration of a message source). Finally, resistance might be reflected by the qualities of either attitudes (e.g., attitude strength) or people (e.g., dogmatic personalities) that limit persuasive effect (see Knowles & Linn 2004 ). Regardless of how resistance itself is conceptualized, its role in persuasion is often considered from two different perspectives. First, resistance as the natural, and perhaps unintentional, result of exposure to a persuasive message is examined with the intent of determining how best to minimize this blockage to persuasive effect. Second, given there are persuasive situations in which the intended goal is to reinforce attitudes, or promote resistance to future persuasive attempts that the audiences might face (e.g., ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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