Greetings! 🙂 Today’s topic will be Social Judgment Theory.

So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Simply put, social judgment theory is a theory about how we judge social situations.Basically, it relates to the impact it has on how we influence other people’s decisions. This has to do with a scale that moves from the latitude of rejection, to the latitude of acceptance, to the latitude of non commitment. This scale is called the Latitude of Attitude.


Below are 3 key concepts that we should acknowledge first:

  • Social judgement involvement – we evaluate every new idea we encounter by comparing it with our present point of view.
  • Ego involvement – the importance or centrality of an issue in a person’s life. You get higher ego involvement when people are apart of groups/community.
  • Anchor – a person’s most preferred position – your anchor point.


rabbitduckDo you remember the traditions we talked about before? Well this theory is related to the Socio-Psychological tradition. It is concerned with the fact that the larger the discrepancy between the speakers position (anchor) and the listeners point of view, the greater the change in attitude as long as the message is within the hearers latitude of acceptance. High ego involvement usually indicates a high latitude of rejection. There are 2 basic parts to the social judgment theory – Judging and Adjusting. You go through a two step mental process that is triggered when you receive new messages.

1st step – Judging the message deals with the evaluation of the content to see where it falls in relation to your own position.
2nd step – Discrepancy and attitude change – how will you adjust your “anchored” attitude toward or away from the messages you have encountered.

Below, I will show you three short videos that further describes the theory and gives an example of it as well. The first video will explain how this theory is used in persuasion.

Finally, I will touch on 3 more concepts before I give this theory a wrap.

The Boomerang Effect – If Uncle Ted’s attitude changes in the opposite direction of what the message advocates; listeners are driven away from it, rather than being drawn to an idea.

Reference Groups – The only way that we can stimulate large-scale changes is through a series of small successive movements because persuasion is a gradual process. It’s also a social process.

Pluralistic Ignorance – the mistaken idea that everyone else is doing or thinking something that they aren’t.


My Thoughts

If I were to think of another tradition that has similar traits to the Social Judgment theory, I would definitely choose the Rhetorical Tradition because of it’s presence of Persuasion that is identified in both of these theories. Like I said before, this theory falls within the Socio-Psychological tradition. If someone were to say to me that “the Social Judgment theory is a sound theory”, this would fall within my latitude of acceptance. Why? Simply because I agree with that statement and secondly, this theory has practical utility. It outlines the persuasion process and gives predictions about what can happen in a person’s mind as it relates to the Latitude of Attitude. So in that case, I would say this theory is a good scientific theory.

That’s a wrap folks, I hope you enjoyed this post. Symbolic Interactionism theory will be coming up next, so watch out y’all! 
















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