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Defining, Exploring, & Applying

Defining Persuasion
Persuasionany communication involving : a
message intended to change, shape, or
reinforce the response of another(Miller,1980)

2 components/forms of response:

- Attitude(thought)

- Behavior(action)

Implies 3 : sub-processes of persuasion
Sub-processes of Persuasion
Response-changing message/comm
intended to : alter an existing response

Typical persuasion

The terms attitude change & persuasion are : often
used interchangeably

Sub-processes of Persuasion
Response-reinforcingcomm intended to :
maintain or strengthen an existing

Crucial, but : often overlooked domain

Essential for : many relational,
practical,&commercial tasks
Sub-processes of Persuasion
Response-shapingcomm intended to :
create a desired response when there is
no pre-existing response

Associated with situations that can be : considered
"new"(in a relative sense)
Practical Considerations:
Levels of Persuasion
Practically we can define 2
levels of persuasion


Ex. face to face,
impression management

Macro mass level

Ex. advertising, public
health campaigns
Differences between levels:

Amount/type of : available

Ability to : focus message

Ability to : provide&
respond to feedback

Effort & : cost involved

Persuasion Building Blocks:
Attitudes & Behaviors
2 key constructs:

- Tangible aspect; Directly observable

- Cognitivekavramsal aspect; not directly observable

All persuasive goals, even those : which nominally
focus on attitudes, have behavioral correlates
Persuasion Building Blocks:
Attitudes & Behaviors
(You dont need to write this)

So what is an attitude?

Relatively enduring organization of beliefs around an object (situation) predisposing
one to respond in a preferential manner (Rockeach)

Attitude towards a behavior is a function of the consequences of performing that
behavior and the evaluation of those consequences (Fishbein & Azjen)

Summary evaluations of objects, ranging along a dimension from positive to negative

Theoretical construction created by social scientists to explain the different reactions
that people have towards similar objects or situations (Stiff)

Persuasion Building Blocks:
Attitudes & Behaviors

Why are attitudes important?

Help : explain/ predict behavior (not perfectly)

Typically cant : directly control/ command others' behavior

Generally, attitudes are : what we have to work with

Refer to the theory of reasoned action:
Persuasion Building Blocks:
Attitudes & Behaviors
Diagram of Theory of Reasoned Action
Persuasion Building Blocks:
Attitudes & Behaviors
Challenges of using attitudes:

Must be : inferred via self report or behavior

Complex: Operate, prioritized & formed subjectively

Combination of : beliefs, evaluations, etc

Dont : always predict behavior

ToRA: tied to intent, only part of the equation. Other
factors(subjective norms, situational constraints) important

Elements of Persuasion:
Source Characteristicsfactors : associated
w/ the source of a message

Credibility: The primary : source-based factor.
Essentially "why should I believe you"?

Based in : Perception
Elements of Persuasion:
2 key dimensions of credibility

Expertise(___topic___ centered) knowledge/proficiency

Trustworthiness(__source____ centered) trust,
perceived honesty, good intentions

Other dimensions:

Sociability (likeability), composure (delivery), extroversion
(willingness/tendency to engage in comm)

Elements of Persuasion:
Message characteristics

Basic distinctions in persuasive messages:

Emotional/rational appeal based on logic or emotion?

Source/receiver onus who controls reward/punishment?

Sequential/single shot

Well revisit persuasive message strategies in our unit on
health communication
Elements of Persuasion:
Message Tactics:

Often rely on ingrained behavioral tendencies
or responses:

-Reciprocity consistency, liking, social proof,
scarcity, authority( Cialdini)

Review the discussion of several message
strategies in the Readings chapter
Elements of Persuasion:
Models of persuasion (ELM, HMP) suggest 2
general modes of message processing

Controlledresponse based on : thoughtful
evaluation of available info

Automatic/Heuristicresponse based on : "cognitive
shortcuts" drawn from experience& socialization

Refer to the discussion in the Readings chapter for more info
Elements of Persuasion:
Contextual/channel factors

Modality : (content vs. channel)

E.g. - complex message/textual format

Context : (situational factors)

Ex. - Little Billy &his homework

Receiver characteristics

Audience adaptationgaining & applying : knowledge of target

Receiver involvement: see Readings text
6 Tactics for Effective
(If it were only that simple)
1. Clearly determine : your persuasive goal(s)

- Long/ short term: priority of goals

2. Analyze your: target& relevant situational factors

- Adjust&Adapt

3. Generate your : persuasive message strategy in a
deliberate manner

- Planning is crucial, may e a long-term process
6 Tactics for Effective
(If it were only that simple)

4. Mindfully : deliver your message
- Be alert, adaptive,&responsive during delivery

5. Evaluate : your success
- To what extent did you achieve your goals? What might
be left to accomplish? What can be learned from the

6. Make : adjustment or follow-up accordingly
- Again, keep long term in mind