Changing Attitudes Attitudes and attitude change are an important part of social life. In this chapter, we have seen that persuasion can be achieved in different ways. The most com- mon approach is through communication from others. Faced with newspaper edi- torials, books, commercial advertisements, blogs, and other messages, we take one of two routes to persuasion. On the central route, attitude change is based on the merits of the source and communication. On the peripheral route, it is based on superficial cues. Either way, the change in attitude often precipitates a change in behavior.
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A second, less obvious means of persuasion originates within ourselves. When people behave in ways that run afoul of their true convictions, they often go on to change their attitudes. Once again, there are many routes to change, not just one. Cognitive dissonance, self-perception, impression management, and self-esteem concerns are among the possible avenues. From attitudes to behavior and back again, the processes of persuasion are complex and interwoven.