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Social Judgment Theory

  • By: Sandi W. Smith
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Social judgment theory (SJT) is based on the idea that an individual's attitude toward a particular issue or behavior is best assessed on a continuum of possible responses instead of by a single alternative. The position of the receiver of a persuasive message about the topic is assessed in terms of the latitudes of acceptance, noncommitment, and rejection reflected in answers to an ordered alternatives questionnaire. These individual ratings can be combined to form a group consensus that reflects the social norms of the relevant group. Thus, SJT reflects group patterns that emerge from perceptions of individuals. SJT claims that the members of the relevant group are affected by these patterns, in that they establish and reinforce latitudes for acceptable or unacceptable attitudes and behavior ...

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