Persuasion

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					     Social Psychology
         Chapter 7: Persuasion




 What paths lead to persuasion?
 What are the elements of persuasion?
 How do cults indoctrinate?
 How can persuasion be resisted?
                        Persuasion

   Persuasion: The process by which a message
    induces change in beliefs, attitudes, or
    behaviors.
    – If a message is good we call it education which is
      hopefully more factually based, if it is bad we call it
      propaganda.
    – In the last decade, American’s support for gay rights
      and gay civil unions or marriage has significantly
      increased. Some people view such attitude
      changes as reflecting “education,” others as
      reflecting “propaganda.”
           Persuasion
Operation Iraqi Freedom Leaflets
                      Persuasion

   Persuasive messages must cross multiple
    hurdles before they are effective.
    – Effectiveness can be enhanced at any point,
      perhaps by using an attractive messenger thus
      increasing attention.
        What Paths Lead to Persuasion?
       The Central and Peripheral Routes
• Central Route to Persuasion: Occurs when
  interested people focus on the arguments and
  respond with favorable thoughts.
  – Most effective when the audience cares deeply
    about the issue.
  – We can’t put deep thought into every issue.
• Peripheral Route to Persuasion: Occurs when
  people are influenced by incidental cues, such
  as a speaker’s attractiveness.
  – Most effective when people do not care enough to
    put a lot of thought into the message.
         What Paths Lead to Persuasion?
        Different Routes for Different People
• “All effective propaganda must be limited to a few very sharp
  points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member
  of the public understands.”
           – Adolph Hitler

The goal of all
persuasive
messages is not
to change
opinions, but to
change
behaviors.
 What Paths Lead to Persuasion?
Different Routes for Different People
 What Paths Lead to Persuasion?
Different Routes for Different People
 What Paths Lead to Persuasion?
Different Routes for Different People
 What Paths Lead to Persuasion?
Different Routes for Different People
       Which Path is this one?
     What are the Elements of Persuasion?
       Who Says? The Communicator
                   Credibility
• Credibility: Believability. A credible
  communicator is perceived as both expert and
  trustworthy.
  – Perceived Expertise: Degree to which an audience
    believes one is an expert.
• Sleeper Effect: A delayed impact of a message
  that occurs when an initially discounted
  message becomes effective, as we remember
  the message but forget the reason for
  discounting it (because it was a noncredible
  source).
     What are the Elements of Persuasion?
       Who Says? The Communicator
           Attractiveness and Liking
• Attractiveness: Having qualities that appeal to
  an audience. An appealing communicator (often
  someone similar to the audience) is most
  persuasive on matters of subjective preference.
  – Physical Appeal: Athletes make very persuasive
    spokespeople.
  – Similarity: Members of our own group are more
    persuasive than members of a different group.
Six Persuasion Principles
     What are the Elements of Persuasion?
     What is Said? The Message Content
             Reason vs. Emotion

• Well-educated or analytical people are more
  responsive to rational appeals than are less-
  educated or less analytical people.
• Thoughtful, involved audiences often travel the
  central route; they are more responsive to
  reasoned arguments.
• Uninterested audiences more often travel the
  peripheral route; they are more affected by how
  much they like the communicator.
     What are the Elements of Persuasion?
     What is Said? The Message Content
             Reason vs. Emotion
         The Effect of Good Feelings

• Messages associated with good feelings are
  more persuasive.
       What are the Elements of Persuasion?
        What is Said? The Message Content
                Reason vs. Emotion
             The Effect of Arousing Fear
• A persuasive campaign might read “Smoking
  kills, stopping smoking now is the best
  defense.”
     What are the Elements of Persuasion?
     What is Said? The Message Content
                 Discrepancy
• Only a highly credible communicator maintains
  effectiveness when arguing an extreme
  position.
      What are the Elements of Persuasion?
      What is Said? The Message Content
              Primacy vs. Recency
• Primacy Effect: Other things being equal, information
  presented first usually has the most influence.
• Recency Effect: Information presented last sometimes
  has the most influence. Recency effects are less
  common than primacy effects.
    What are the Elements of Persuasion?
 How it is Said? The Channel of Communication

• Channel of Communication: The way the
  message is delivered—whether face-to-face, or
  in some other way.
  – Can involve printed word, video, email, or word of
    mouth.
    What are the Elements of Persuasion?
 How it is Said? The Channel of Communication
           Personal vs. Media Influence




• Two-Step Flow of Communication: The process by which media
  influence often occurs through opinion leaders, who in turn
  influence others.
   – Those who influence us get their ideas from somewhere?
   What are the Elements of Persuasion?
How it is Said? The Channel of Communication
          Personal vs. Media Influence
     What are the Elements of Persuasion?
      To Whom is it Said? The Audience
              How Old are They?
• Life cycle explanation
  – People tend to become more conservative with age.
• Generational explanation (more support)
  – Attitudes do not change; older people hold onto the
    attitudes they adopted when they were young. At
    that time, people were more likely to adopt
    conservative values.
  – Attitudes tend to form during adolescence and they
    to stabilize with age.
      What are the Elements of Persuasion?
       To Whom is it Said? The Audience
            What are They Thinking?
• Forewarned is forearmed—if you care enough to
  counterargue
• Distraction disarms counterarguing: If too busy, then
  we can’t formulate arguments against a persuasive
  message.
• Uninvolved audiences use peripheral cues
  – Need for Cognition: The motivation to think and analyze.
    Assessed by agreement with items such as “The notion of
    thinking abstractly is appealing to me” and disagreement
    with items such as “I only think as hard as I have to.”
  – People high in need for cognition more persuaded by central
    routes, people low in need for cognition more persuaded by
    peripheral cues.
        The Need for Cognition Scale


• 1. Thinking is not my idea of fun.
   1        2          3         4
Strongly disagree             strongly agree

• 2. I like tasks that require little thought
  once I’ve learned them.
  1           2          3           4
Strongly disagree               strongly agree
        Summary: Elaboration Likelihood Model


                        Audience         Processing      Persuasion

                        Analytical &   High effort:     Cogent
             Central    motivated      Elaborate,       arguments
             Route                     agree, or        evoke
                                       counter-         enduring
Persuasive
                                       argue            agreement
  Appeal
                        Not analytical Low effort:      Cues trigger   Response
             Peripheral or involved    Use              liking and
             Route                     peripheral       acceptance,
                                       cues, rule-of-   often only
                                       thumb            temporarily
                                       heuristics
Extreme Persuasion: How do Cults Indoctrinate?

• Cult (also called New Religious Movement): A
  group typically characterized by (1) distinctive
  ritual and beliefs related to its devotion to a god
  or a person, (2) isolation from the surrounding
  “evil” culture, and (3) a charismatic leader. A
  sect, by contrast, is a spinoff from a major
  religion.
Extreme Persuasion: How do Cults Indoctrinate?
          Attitudes Follow Behavior
• People internalize commitments made
  voluntarily, publicly, and repeatedly.
• Compliance breeds acceptance
  – Behavioral rituals, public recruitment, and fund
    raising strengthen identity as members.
  – The greater the commitment, the greater the need
    to justify it.
• The Foot-in-the-Door Phenomenon
  – Recruiters begin with invitations to dinner, followed
    by getaway weekends.
  – Monetary offerings are at first voluntary, then
    mandatory.
Extreme Persuasion: How do Cults Indoctrinate?
            Persuasive Elements
• The Communicator: Successful cults have charismatic leaders.
   – Jim Jones used “Psychic Readings” to establish his
     credibility.
• The Message: Vivid, emotional messages meant to shower
  lonely followers with love.
• The Audience: Cult members tend to be younger and more
  impressionable and/or facing crises in their lives.
Extreme Persuasion: How do Cults Indoctrinate?
               Group Effects
• Cults typically separate members from their previous
  social support systems.
  – Eventually, members engage socially only with other group
    members.
  – Group creates identity and defines reality.
• Cults frown on or punish disagreement leading to the
  illusion of consensus.
• Similar techniques used by “acceptable” groups such
  as the military, Catholic monasteries, and fraternities
  and sororities.
• Similar elements can emerge in group therapy
  sessions.
       How can Persuasion be Resisted?
      Strengthening Personal Commitment

• Before encountering others’ judgments,
  make a public commitment to your
  position.
• Challenging beliefs: Attacking a person’s
  belief with a weak argument will make
  them more committed.
• Developing counterarguments
  – Attitude Inoculation: Exposing people to weak
    attacks upon their attitudes so that when stronger
    attacks come, they will have refutations available.
       How can Persuasion be Resisted?
   Real-Life Applications: Inoculation Programs
  Inoculating Children Against Peer Pressure to
                      Smoke
• “She’s not really liberated if she’s hooked on tobacco.”
• “I’d be a real chicken if I smoked just to impress you.”
       How can Persuasion be Resisted?
   Real-Life Applications: Inoculation Programs
   Inoculating Children Against the Influence of
                    Advertising

• Many European nations restrict advertising that targets
  children.
• In America the average child sees 10,000 commercials a year.
• “In general, my children refuse to eat anything that hasn’t
  danced on television.”
          – Erma Bombeck
• It has been shown that children can be inoculated to television
  advertising by viewing and analyzing ads with grownups.
The Elements of Persuasion
    Changing Attitudes
Information Campaigns
Information Campaigns
                 What is Propaganda?


• Propaganda is an act of persuasion that systematically
  spreads biased information that is designed to support
  or oppose a person, product, cause, or organization.
• Emotional appeal is the arousal of emotions to give a
  biased meaning or power to an idea.
  – Spicy foods and stress cause stomach ulcers. (unbiased
    statement)
  – Don’t buy your insurance from DealState; that outfit is a
    bunch of crooks. (biased argument)
                   Propaganda
         Irrelevant Arguments: Fallacies

• Personal attack is the use of abusive remarks in
  place of evidence for a point or argument. Also
  known as an ad hominem attack, it attempts to
  discredit the point by discrediting the person
  making the point.
• Example: Sam, a convicted felon, wants to ban
  smoking in restaurants. His opponents attack
  his criminal record, not his idea: “Now the
  lawbreakers want to make the laws.”
                          Propaganda
                Irrelevant Arguments: Fallacies

• A Straw Man fallacy is a weak argument substituted for a
  stronger one to make the argument easier to challenge.
• It distorts, misrepresents, or falsifies an opponent’s position.
  Attention is shifted away from a strong argument to a weaker
  one.
• Example: Governor Goodfeeling opposes drilling for oil in Alaska. But the
  U.S. is too dependent on foreign oil supplies, and the economy would
  benefit from having an American supply for oil. The Governor wants to keep
  us dependent on foreign oil cartels.



         The governor’s reasons for opposing drilling are not
         mentioned. Instead, the writer changes the tactic to the
         U.S. dependence on oil.
                     Propaganda
           Irrelevant Arguments: Fallacies

• Begging the question restates the point of an
  argument as the support and conclusion. It is
  also known as circular reasoning.
• Example: “Spinach is an awful tasting food because
  it tastes bad.” (BQ)
• Example: “I never eat spinach because it has a bitter
  taste, and I don’t like foods that taste bitter.” (not BQ)
                      Propaganda
                 Irrelevant Arguments

• Name-calling uses negative labels for a product, idea,
  or cause. The labels use emotionally loaded words
  and use details that cannot be verified.
• Examples:
   – Cristina Singer has an air of raunchy diva in her
     newest album. Even though her voice delivers a
     decent mix of pop, rock and soul, her vampire-in-
     leather costume and wicked-witch makeup makes
     her act scary to watch.
   – People who burn the flag are traitors.
                   Propaganda
              Irrelevant Arguments

• Testimonials are irrelevant personal opinions to
  support a product, idea, or cause. Often a
  celebrity is used as a spokesperson.
• Example: Famous athlete Jerome High-Jumper
  says, “Drinking milk every day makes me the
  athlete I am.”
                        Propaganda
                   Irrelevant Arguments

• Bandwagon uses or suggests the irrelevant
  detail that “everyone is doing it.” Therefore, you
  should do it too!
• Example: “I should be able to stay out until 3 A.M. All the
  other kids can. I’m the only one who isn’t allowed to stay out
  late on prom night.”
                    Propaganda
               Irrelevant Arguments

• Plain folks uses irrelevant details to build trust
  based on commonly shared values. An image
  is put forth to which everyday people can more
  easily relate.
• Examples:
   – A candidate running for office dressed in blue
     jeans and a plaid shirt eating a hotdog.
   – A woman dressed in casual clothes cooking
     in a kitchen where the TV ad is trying to get
     you to buy their product.
                      Propaganda
                 Inadequate Arguments

• Either-or assumes that only two sides to an
  issue exist. Also known as the black-and-white
  fallacy, it offers a false dilemma because more
  than two options are usually available.
• Example: “If you don’t give to the toy drive, you don’t care
  about children.”
                   Propaganda
              Inadequate Arguments

• False comparison assumes that two things are
  similar when they are not. This is also known as
  a false analogy.
• Example: “Animals deserve the same legal rights as
 humans.”
                        Propaganda
                   Inadequate Arguments

• False cause, or Post Hoc ergo Propter Hoc
  assumes that because events occurred around
  the same time, they have a cause-and-effect
  relationship.
• Example: “I won’t hit a home run unless I wear my special
  baseball cap.”
                       Propaganda
                  Inadequate Arguments

• Card stacking omits factual details in order to
  misrepresent a product, idea, or cause. It
  intentionally gives only part of the truth.
• Example: A commercial mentions that the product is low in
  fat, but fails to say that it is loaded with sugar and calories.
                  Propaganda
             Inadequate Arguments

• Transfer creates an association between a
  product, idea, or cause with a symbol or image
  that has positive or negative values.
• Examples:

  – “God Bless America” on a product
  – “Be like Alicia Silverstone and Woody
    Harrelson…go vegetarian.”
                       Propaganda
                  Inadequate Arguments

• Glittering generalities offer general positive
  statements that cannot be verified. It is the
  opposite of name-calling. Words like truth,
  freedom, peace, and honor are used to suggest
  positive things.
• Example: “A vote for candidate Anthony Vacarro is a vote
  for honesty and integrity!”

				
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posted:12/18/2012
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