Inoculation theory

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The inoculation theory is a theory devised by William J. McGuire in 1964 in the field of social psychology and describes a procedure to make attitudes resistant to attempts at change.

The theory aims at so-called truisms, i.e. socially recognized attitudes. McGuire assumes that attitudes towards such truisms can be changed particularly easily, since one is neither motivated nor trained to defend them due to their general acceptance.

Cognitive vaccination

Truisms can be made resistant in two ways:

  • Support : Providing supporting arguments
  • Cognitive vaccination : Providing counter-arguments that are immediately refuted

According to McGuire, the supporting arguments are more easily forgotten again, but the counter-arguments are retained longer with their refutation.

Hence the name inoculation , which in medicine means the introduction of pathogens. The attitude towards truism is made resistant by vaccination with counter-arguments.