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Exploring the Boundaries of Heroes, Celebrities and Role Models after 9/11: Lessons from Shanksville
Unformatted Document Text:  Lessons from Shanksville p. 6 Kelman (1961) viewed identification as a process of persuasion. He built a theory of social influence based on three persuasion processes: compliance, identification, and internalization. He further described two means of identification. The first is “classical identification,” defined as “attempts to be like or actually be the other person” (Kelman, 1961, p. 63). Classical identification is exemplified by the many thousands of Elvis Presley impersonators who imitate him (Fraser & Brown, 2002). The second type of identification is “reciprocal role identification,” in which “the roles of two parties are defined with reference to one another” (Kelman, 1961, p. 64), such as in the case of a soap character and his or her fans. Both soap opera stars and viewers understand their respective roles in the relationship, played out in soap opera magazines and on soap opera web sites. In classical identification, one person takes on the identity of another person; but in reciprocal role relationships, one person is “empathetically reacting in terms of the other person’s expectations, feelings or needs” (Kelman, 1961, p. 64). Identification differs from compliance because in the identification process, the individual actually believes in the values, beliefs and behaviors that he or she adopts from another person. In the compliance process, the individual only displays the appropriate values, beliefs, and behaviors to obtain a favorable reaction from another person or group he or she wishes to please (Kelman, 1958). The study of identification extends beyond the attitude-change theories commonly used in communication research to study social influence. Some of these theories include the principle of social proof (Cialdini, 1985), attribution theory (Heider, 1958; Kelly, 1973), the social adaptation perspective (Kalh & Homer, 1985; Kamins, et al., 1989),

Authors: Brown, William. and Fraser, Benson.
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Lessons from Shanksville
p. 6
Kelman (1961) viewed identification as a process of persuasion. He built a theory
of social influence based on three persuasion processes: compliance, identification, and
internalization. He further described two means of identification. The first is “classical
identification,” defined as “attempts to be like or actually be the other person” (Kelman,
1961, p. 63). Classical identification is exemplified by the many thousands of Elvis
Presley impersonators who imitate him (Fraser & Brown, 2002).
The second type of identification is “reciprocal role identification,” in which “the
roles of two parties are defined with reference to one another” (Kelman, 1961, p. 64),
such as in the case of a soap character and his or her fans. Both soap opera stars and
viewers understand their respective roles in the relationship, played out in soap opera
magazines and on soap opera web sites.
In classical identification, one person takes on the identity of another person; but
in reciprocal role relationships, one person is “empathetically reacting in terms of the
other person’s expectations, feelings or needs” (Kelman, 1961, p. 64). Identification
differs from compliance because in the identification process, the individual actually
believes in the values, beliefs and behaviors that he or she adopts from another person. In
the compliance process, the individual only displays the appropriate values, beliefs, and
behaviors to obtain a favorable reaction from another person or group he or she wishes to
please (Kelman, 1958).
The study of identification extends beyond the attitude-change theories commonly
used in communication research to study social influence. Some of these theories include
the principle of social proof (Cialdini, 1985), attribution theory (Heider, 1958; Kelly,
1973), the social adaptation perspective (Kalh & Homer, 1985; Kamins, et al., 1989),


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