Week 6 Readings – PSYCH 2310 – Chapter 7 - Persuasion
What is persuasion?
- refers to the communication that is designed to influence a person’s attitudes
o these communications can be deliberate attempts to influence
attitudes, and they can be less formal (like the arguments you hear
from a friend who wants you to vote for a particular political
Routes to Persuasion
- elaboration likelihood model (ELM): a model describing two distinct routes
that are used to process persuasive messages
o the two distinct routes?
1) central or systematic route processing: occurs when people
have the ability and motivation to carefully evaluate the
arguments in a message
2) peripheral or heuristic route processing: occurs when
people lack the ability and motivation to carefully evaluate a
persuasive message (more easily influenced)
So what factors the type of processing used?
- the ability to focus
o if you are distracted, it is difficult to concentrate on central messages
that require greater processing, and you may therefore rely on
- motivation to focus
o with no motivation, you are likely to rely on peripheral cues. Which
are cues associated with the context of a message rather than the
Which route is more effective?
- both are effective at changing people’s attitudes (different types of
processing are effective in different ways, for different people)
- messages that are high personal relevance motivate us to pay attention, and
as long as we have no distractions, we process such messages centrally
- on the other hand, messages that are of low personal relevance or that we
need to process while distracted are processed peripherally.
- The same cue can be processed in different ways
o White teeth in a toothpaste ad
o Centrally – white teeth could be a sign of effective toothpaste
o Peripherally – white teeth are likely to be a cue of attractiveness
What factors influence persuasion?
- 1) Source (who delivers the message)
More persuasive than unattractive and less likeable people Week 6 Readings – PSYCH 2310 – Chapter 7 - Persuasion
We might become more attractive if we buy this product,
engage in this behaviour, etc.
If your good friend is wearing that shoe, you are more likely to
buy it over some athlete on tv advertising it. Why? you are
more similar with your friend.
Another reason involves identification – we’re more persuaded
by people who we identify with
Sources who appear credible, are more persuasive than those
who lack credibility
- 2) Content of the Message
link between message length and persuasiveness is complex!
Messages that differ excessively from people’s attitudes are
likely to be ignored
Eg. “No sex, ever” versus “Always use condoms if you
have sex” – second option is more realistic
Demographic factors - (people in their late adolescent and
early adult years are most influenced by persuasive messages,
which may in part explain why this demographic group is
coveted by television executives)
- 3) Six Principles of Persuasion (Robert Cialdini)
we comply with the requests of those who have done us a
o social validation
we comply with a request if other people, and those who are
similar to us are also complying
once we take a position, we tend to comply with requests that
are consistent with position
we’re more likely to comply with the requests of friends and
others whom we like
we tend to comply with the requests of those who are
authority figures (more likely to buy a drink if our favourite
actor is promoting it)
we value opportunities and products that are less available
(limited time offer!) We