Elements of a Persuasive Communication by decree


									   Psych 586: Psychology of Persuasion
   Historical Perspective

Professor:   Icek Aizen
Office:      Tobin 625
Email:       aizen@psych.umass.edu
Tel:         545.0509
  Political Commercials

Sample TV commercials from 1960, 1980, 1984, and
  2004 presidential elections.

                                    Election A ds.wpl
  The Hovland Paradigm
  (After Hovland & Janis, 1959)


   Trustworthiness                        Opinion change

MESSAGE FACTORS                          Perception change

 Order of arguments
 One- vs.two-sided
  High vs. low fear
Rational vs. emotional                    Affect change


  Need for approval                       Action achange
  Elements of a Persuasive Communication

  EVIDENCE             ARGUMENTS               Conclusion
    "Factual"            Support for               or
   information          conclusion or
  to bolster the       recommended            Recommended
 major arguments           action                Action

                      Smoking causes
Among smokers,         -- accelerated aging
cell division stops    -- lung cancer
                                              Stop Smoking
32% earlier than       -- heart disease
among non-smokers      -- emphysema
                       -- birth defects
      Example of Persuasive Communication (Eagly,
      1974): Introduction and Preview of Conclusion

                                       Introduction of Communicator

      The lecture that you will read is about sleep research. It was delivered by a physiological
psychologist who agreed to participate in this study. He is a faculty member in the Psychology
Department who has been doing research on sleep for the past five years. He has published a number of
journal articles on sleep and is currently completing a book on the subject.

                                            Persuasive Message

       In recent years, there has been a considerable amount of research on the nature and function of
sleep. Recently there have been some important discoveries about sleep and I want to tell you about
them. You may find many of the things that I'll tell you quite novel because they go against conventional
ideas--even against some of the classic psychological theories about sleep.

       Let me present this research to you by first telling you my overall conclusion. This is that you are
probably sleeping too much. It is not necessary for the average person to sleep the eight hours each night
that we have all been taught to believe is best. In fact, psychological research demonstrates the overall
superiority of only about three hours for the average person — provided that these hours are of a very
special type. As I will explain, there is really no danger in cutting down sleep to three hours (if you do it
in a certain way), and there certainly are some advantages.

      I would like to review for you the evidence that leads me to this conclusion. I will make six main
Example of Persuasive Communication
(Eagly, 1974): First Argument

My first point — about the cultural nature of how much we sleep — is
a background fact that you should understand. The amount we sleep is
actually arbitrary. People believe that 8 hours are necessary mainly
because they have been told this is so and have been 'taught to sleep a
lot when they were children. A University of California anthropologist
pointed out that in some cultures, the norm is markedly less sleep than
8 hours; while in other cultures, people are expected to sleep even
more than in our society. Also anthropologists point out that the
amount of sleep people get varies with the season, especially for
primitive and peasant peoples who live close to the land--they sleep
when it is dark, so sleep more in the winter. Northern people — like
Laplanders and Eskimos — sleep, according to one study, 1.8 times
more in the winter than in the summer. In industrialized civilizations,
we are not so affected by these rhythms of nature — sleep patterns
become more purely cultural.
Example of Persuasive Communication
(Eagly, 1974): Second Argument

My second point is very important: studies show that how rested a person feels when he
wakes up depends on how much REM sleep he gets rather than his total amount of
sleep. This REM sleep gets its name from the words Rapid Eye Movement since during
this type of sleep, persons move their eyes back and forth rapidly. We also know that
most dreaming takes place during REM sleep--though not all of REM sleep coincides
with dreaming.

For reasons we don't understand completely, dreaming and REM sleep make us feel
rested. Sleep without these Rapid Eye Movements occupies much of the night, but it
doesn’t do nearly as much good as REM sleep and can largely be dispensed with.
Experiments were done that involved awakening people after differing amounts of REM
and non-REM sleep and interviewing them on how they felt (and also putting them
through certain laboratory performance tasks). These experiments (which have so far
involved 347 subjects from all walks of life) show that REM sleep brings 2½ times as
much reduction of fatigue as does non-REM sleep. This is a new and important
discovery about sleep. Thus, one hour of REM sleep is as effective as 2½ hours of non-
REM sleep. Simply stated — "It's REMs that rest us."

Also, studies show that if persons are allowed to sleep as much as they want but are
awakened when they enter REM sleep, they remain tired and experience adverse effects
such as hallucinations and other perceptual maladjustments and distortions. People even
verge on a state not unlike schizophrenia after several days of sleep without the REM
Example of Persuasive Communication
(Eagly, 1974): Third Argument

My third point comes from some training studies that were done at the University of Oregon. They
took volunteers and retrained them to sleep less time per day. Now, there are two things that a
person must do if he is to sleep fewer hours per day: he must divide his sleep into at least three naps
rather than one 8-hour period and he must know how to go into REM sleep quickly. Naps are
important because people go into REM sleep early in the night--the last four hours of the 8-hour night
don't provide much REM sleep. Thus, the shorter naps provide more REM sleep since they are like
the first part of the usual nighttime sleep.

It takes the average person who is untrained at least 45 minutes to get into REM sleep. They knew
that this period had to be cut, and through trying different methods, they finally hit on a method that
works fairly well. This is the procedure: a person lies down, relaxes his muscles very thoroughly,
and thinks about a single image of what is called a "bland" object. 11 bland object might be a blank
wall or a cloudless sky. It is important to concentrate on just one object and not to let one's thoughts
wander. One must not think of activities or problems, and not try to think logically. Just a single
"bland" object. It's a sort of meditation technique. Using the bland object technique, most people
can go into REM sleep within 10 minutes of falling asleep. There are really no special talents
involved in being able to do this--anyone can do it. By the way, you might be interested to know that
with alcohol or drugs a person tends to miss REM sleep and go right into deeper non-REM sleep.
This is one reason why people don't feel as rested after alcohol or drug-induced sleep.

The program, then, involved training in REM-inducing concentration and learning to take three or
four evenly spaced naps of equal duration. Most subjects cut down their sleep a great deal and still
carried out their daily work at what they felt was their usual level of efficiency. Still, the program
didn't work for a few subjects, but these people evidently didn't do a very good job of spacing out the
naps and were trying to do most all of their sleeping at night.
Example of Persuasive Communication
(Eagly, 1974): Fourth Argument

        A fourth line of evidence comes from studies of the physical effects of longer
periods of sleep — these were done primarily by a psychobiologist at Princeton
University. Subjects were put into quiet rooms and encouraged to sleep for long
periods--given the right conditions, most subjects could sleep between 10 and 16 hours.
Measurements showed that reaction time was impaired, as was the ability to solve
complex logical syllogisms. Many people have personal experience with this--they have
known the sluggish feeling and dull headache that follow long periods of sleep. Also,
sleeping for long periods is bad for a person physically because his body is in such a
lowered state of arousal during a long period of sleep-his heart rate is slow, his muscles
are completely relaxed. His heart and internal organs tend to lose muscle tone. If a
person puts his body under strain after a long period of sleep, he is more apt to be
injured--or, in the extreme, to suffer a heart attack. While long sleep weakens a person,
the body is not so severely affected by shorter periods of sleep. Also, a study relating
length of life to number of hours of sleep showed a slight, but statistically significant,
relationship between the hours a person sleeps and the length of life. This means that
persons who live longer tend to sleep less than average while those who die younger
sleep more than average. Of course, other factors affect length of life, but sleep is
involved here.
Example of Persuasive Communication
(Eagly, 1974): Fifth Argument

       As a fifth point, let me explain that sleep can be defensive. People often
sleep to escape from their problems: It's a socially acceptable mode of escape
while other forms of escape seem odd or even a little crazy to people: This
idea about sleep being an escape has some empirical support in a study by a
Swedish psychologist Lindstrom. He related the number of hours a person
sleeps to tests of psychoneurotic symptoms (projective tests) and found that
people who sleep a lot have more neurotic symptoms. Therapists often realize
that excessive sleeping is a habit that must be broken in getting a patient to
face reality. I guess that many people are only mildly affected by this
psychoneurotic sleep syndrome--but excessive sleeping can become
pronounced during periods of special stress.
Example of Persuasive Communication
(Eagly, 1974): Sixth Argument and Recommendation

As my sixth point I want to comment on how sleep relates to achievement.
Many successful people sleep considerably less than 8 hours. Some notable
examples of persons known for their tendency to sleep much less than average
are Charles Percy, Robert McNamara, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford. One
likely reason for the success of these men is the fact that they were able to use
the day effectively and to devote rather little time to sleep. After all, the extra
time gained from sleeping less is a tremendous advantage since the average
person works 8 hours, sleeps 8 hours, and then spends (according to one study)
about 4h hours in routine tasks such as commuting, eating, and such. This
leaves less than 4 hours for important things like reading, entertainment,
leisure, working to develop talents and interests, and doing special work
connected with one's job or schooling. It is clear that cutting down sleep
would give a person more time for his own personal development.

To summarize — most people are sleeping their lives away. My
recommendation to the average person is that he or she make the effort to learn
more about how sleep really works. Then he could benefit considerably if he
developed a living and napping pattern that involves only about three hours of
sleep during each 24.
                                Message Opposed to Fraternities: Attitudes of
                                Fraternity Members (Festinger & Maccoby, 1974)

Attitude toward fraternities






                                          Speaker                     Irrelevant/Amusing
                                                    Visual Content of Film
 Cognitive Response Model of Persuasion
 (Brock, Greenwald, Petty, Cacioppo, 1970s)

                                     Attitude change
Major arguments
                    Pro-arguments/     Change in
Factual evidence
                    Con-arguments        behavior


  Source factors
 Message factors
 Channel factors
 Receiver factors
Counter-Arguments and Attitude Toward Tuition
Increase (Osterhouse & Brock, 1970)

                     1.6                              40              Distraction:
                                          Attitude                    Ps call out which of

                     1.4                              35              4 lights come on.
                     1.2                              30              12/min vs. 24/min.

                      1                               25
                     0.8                              20
                     0.6      arguments               15
                     0.4                              10
                           None   Moderate     High
                            Degree of Distraction
      The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM)
      (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986)
               de                                                                                                rip
         l   Mo                                                                                                                    al M
  n   tra                         Persuasive
Ce                                                                                                                                          e
                                                                                     Retain original attitude

                                 Personal relevance
                                   Motivated to
                                 Need for cognition                                         no

                                      Distraction                       no                   Credible source
                                                                                           Peripheral cue
                              Ability to process?
                                 Message repetition
                                                                                         Number of arguments

                              yes                                                         yes
                      Nature of Cognitive Processing:
                          (initial attitude, argument quality)                     Nature of Peripheral Cue

                                                           Neither or
                 Favorable        Unfavorable
                                                             neutral               Positive                Negative
                  thoughts          thoughts
                                                            thoughts            (high credibility)       (low credibility)
                predominate       predominate

                 Cognitive Structure Change

                New positive        New negative
               beliefs become      beliefs become
                 accessible          accessible

                    Central          Central                                    Peripheral               Peripheral
                    positive        negative                                  positive attitude            negative
               attitude change attitude change                                    change              attitude change

                   New attitude is enduring,                                    New attitude is temporary,
                  resistant, and predictive of                                susceptible, and unpredictive of
                           behavior                                                      behavior
Comprehensive Exam: Strong Argument
(Petty & Cacioppo, 1986)

The National Scholarship Achievement Board recently
revealed the results of a five-year study conducted on the
effectiveness of comprehensive exams at Duke University.
The results of the study showed that since the
comprehensive exam has been introduced at Duke, the
grade point average of undergraduates has increased by
31%. At comparable schools without the exams, grades
increased by only 8% over the same period. The prospect
of a comprehensive exam clearly seems to be effective in
challenging students to work harder and faculty to teach
more effectively. It is likely that the benefits observed at
Duke University could also be observed at other
universities that adopt the exam policy.
Comprehensive Exam: Weak Argument
(Petty & Cacioppo, 1986)

The National Scholarship Achievement Board recently
revealed the results of a five-year study conducted on the
effectiveness of comprehensive exams at Duke University.
One major finding was that student anxiety had increased
by 31%. At comparable schools without the exam, anxiety
increased by only 8%. The Board reasoned that anxiety
over the exams, or fear or failure, would motivate students
to study more in their courses while they were taking them.
It is likely that this increase in anxiety observed at Duke
University would also be observed, and be of benefit, at
other universities that adopt the exam policy.
  Postmessage Attitudes Toward 20% Tuition
  Increase (Petty, Well, & Brock, 1976)

                                     Strong arguments
             1                       Weak arguments




                  No   Low       Med          High
           Postmessage Attitudes Toward Comprehensive
           Exam (Petty & Cacioppo, 1979)

                   Strong arguments
           1.5     Weak arguments


                       Low                        High

                             Personal Relevance

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