Types of Attitude Change

… a core concept in Communication Skills and Atlas 109

ThumbsUpDownSidewaysConcept description

Garry Oren identifies the type of attitude change (conversion, reinforcement, activation, or de-activation) as one of the pathos (characteristics of audience) principles of persuasion.

The four types of attitude change are illustrated below. Orren says that we tend to assume that conversion is always the goal. But this is often not plausible. One must ask which type of attitude change is most appropriate for the particular persuasion situation, and should have a strategic objective clearly in mind.

Type of Attitude Change

1. Conversion

2. Reinforcement

3. Activation

4. De-activation

Change in Attitude

Opposing View > Your View

Your View Weakly> Your View

Not Sure > Your View

Opposing View > Not Sure

Orren recommends developing targeting strategies along the following lines:

Unmovable Opponents


Uncommitted and Uninvolved

Uncommitted and Involved


Hard-core Allies

No Effort

De-activate or Convert

No Effort



No Effort


Boundless.com, Overall Psychology of Your Audience: Values, Beliefs, Attitudes, and Needs, at https://www.boundless.com/communications/textbooks/boundless-communications-textbook/analyzing-the-audience-7/contextual-factors-to-consider-39/overall-psychology-of-your-audience-values-beliefs-attitudes-and-needs-172-8320/, accessed 23 January 2016.


Gary Orren, PowerPoint presentation in 2005 to the Mortgage Bankers Association, Persuasion: The Science and Art of Effective Communication, accessed 12 February 2016.

Normed topic and synthetic course with which the concept is primarily associated

This concept is primarily associated with the core normed topic Practices of Persuasion and is included in the synthetic course outline Atlas109 Leadership and Communication Skills.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 24 January 2016.

Image: Anthony Martinez, at http://web.calstatela.edu/faculty/jshindl/teaching/Martinez%20-%20ASP2011.htm, accessed 23 January 2016.