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Dogmatism & the Persuasion Process

This paper will discuss dogmatism as it affects the persuasion process. Basically, dogmatism has a negative impact on persuasion efforts. As Kelly notes, one of the strongest barriers to persuasion is "our potential immunity to the message" (Kelly 2025). A person who is dogmatic on a particular issue has a strong emotional commitment to his or her opinion on that issue. Because of this emotional commitment, the dogmatic person is not likely to change opinions lightly. As a result, dogmatism is a powerful inhibitor of attitude change. Studies using "dogmatism scales" have indicated that people can range from high to low levels of dogmatic belief (Neuliep 213). Thus, some dogmatic people will be more open to change than others. Nevertheless, for the most part, dogmatism in a person is a strong indicator that the person will reject any persuasive messages that do not coincide with his or her pre-established opinion.

The literature on this topic supports this point of view. In fact, there is evidence that resistance to attitude change is normal in all people regardless of their level of dogmatism. On this point, Dichter has claimed that "any change of belief requires readjustment, a most painful and highly emotional trauma" (Dichter 32). Linver has likewise indicated that "most of us resist change, even when it means improvement" (Linver 188). In his book on speechwriting and public speaking, Cook has pointed out that "stiffening resistance" is to be expected in most efforts at persuasion (Cook 201). However, the tendency to resist attitude change is more pronounced in dogmatic people than it is in the general population. Research has shown that there are two basic reasons for this strong resistance among dogmatic people. First, people with dogmatic beliefs resist attitude change because they are emotionally committed to their opinions. Second, dogmatic people tend to exhibit "ego-involvement" in their opinions. Bo...

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Dogmatism & the Persuasion Process. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 19:42, August 12, 2020, from