CHAPTER 7: PERSUASION
Persuasion= communication that is designed to influence a person‟s attitudes
METHODS OF INVESTIGATION
Controlled experiment- Ad: provides context for addressing whether or not an
effect is real and which theoretical account explains it. Dd: eliminate other
sources of influence.
Participant Observation- when researchers become an observer and
participant of the situation and learn the dynamic of the setting.
HOW DO WE PROCESS PERSUASIVE MESSAGES?
Smith & Shaffer- Asked participants to listen to a speech supposedly made by
another student. Condition 1) speech had strong arguments, 2) didn‟t > weak
arguments at normal speed lease persuaded. But speed made a difference at
ROUTES TO PERSUASION
Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM)- Petty & Cacioppo:
Central/systematic route= when people think carefully about
communication message and are influenced by the strength of arguments.
Peripheral/heuristic route= don‟t think carefully and are influenced by
Factors that influence type of route used;
High ability/motivation > Central route and vice versa.
Ability to focus: Petty- found those who had no distraction were persuaded
by strong messages but not by weak.
Motivation to focus: if you are uninvolved or uninterested in message so
are likely to rely on peripheral cues (associated with context of message
rather than content). Howard- found when participant‟s involvement with a
message as low were more persuaded by familiar phrases than by literal
Peripheral cues also include the presumed expertise of the person
delivering the message: Petty- students listened to a speaker promoting
benefits of mandatory exams for all students, 3 IV: 1) expertise of speaker
2) message strength 3) personal involvement > primary factor that
predicted attitude was expertise of speaker.
Hafer, Reynolds and Obertynski- varied argument strength, word
complexity and source status > found when arguments were easy to
comprehend attitudes were more favourable when the arguments
were strong. WHICH ROUTE IS MORE EFFECTIVE?
Messages high of personal relevance motivate us to pay attention so use
Messages low of personal relevance are processed peripherally.
Attitude change that is based in central route processing is longer lasting and
more resistant to future persuasion efforts.
WHAT FACTORS INFLUENCE PERSUASION?
Liberman & Chaiken- Participants (those who drank coffee and those who
didn‟t) had to evaulaute article > those who drank coffee found the strong and
weak reports much less convincing > found information personally relevant-
were threatened-processed info in defensive way.
SOURCE: WHO DELIVERS THE MESSAGE
Attractiveness: Eagly & Chaiken- attractive people were successful in getting
signatures 41% of the time compared to 32% > partly because attractive
people are seen to have positive qualities.
Similarity: we remember message presented by in-group members better than
those presented by outgroup member. More persuaded by people we identify
with. Dal Cin- found greater identification with the smoking protagonist
predicted stronger associations between the self and smoking and increase
smokers intention to smoke.
Silva- Students who believed they shared a first name and birth date with
author of essay rated their agreement with the essay 6.18 compared to 4.19.
Credibility: competent and trustworthy. People who argue unexpected
positions are especially persuasive because they are seen as highly credible.
Eagly, Wood & Chaiken- when speech was delivered by pro-businessman
candidate it was most persuasive because he was seemed most sincere and
credible and environmentalist seen as biased. Non-credible sources can
become more persuasive over time because people forget who the source is=
CONTENT OF MESSAGE
Length: long messages are more effective if they are strong and processed
centrally but less effective if weak and processed peripherally, and vice versa.
Stealing the thunder: lawyers volunteer the weaknesses in their own case,
reduces impact of negative info.
Discrepancy: between the message and the audience‟s original attitude >
messages that differ excessively from people‟s attitudes are likely to be
ignored > this helps to explain why attitudes become more extreme over time
as people gather support for own beliefs and ignore other stuff.
Audience: Individual factors; age, gender and personality traits. Demographic factors= Those in late adolescent most influenced by
persuasive messages. Lips- men and women use different strategies to
influence others > men use direct and assertive strategies. Reason for this
difference is social expectations.
Personality= „self-monitoring‟ > changing attitudes and behaviour to fit
situation. People regulate their behaviour either by focusing on their
ideals, wishes or aspirations and avoiding negative outcomes. Yi-
Messages emphasising positive outcomes were more persuasive for
those who focused on positive outcomes. People who focused on
avoiding negative outcomes were more influenced by messages by
presenting a negative outcome. Also people‟s need to think about things
affects personality > people who have a high need for cognition are more
persuaded by strong message.
SIX PRINCIPLES OF PERSUASION
Cialdini; found the key to successful influence is what we do before attempting
1. Reciprocation= we comply with requests of those who have previously
done us a favour.
Berry & Kanouse- sent questionnaire to physicians: some received
letter saying if you complete the questionnaire they will get a $20
cheque, other half received the check with the questionnaire > 78%
who received check completed questionnaire and sent it back, those
that were told the cheque would be sent upon completion 66%.
This is known as door-in-the-face technique (or reciprocal concessions
Cialdini- Chaperoning juvenile delinquents at a zoo > most are not
willing to help. However, when asked are they willing to give 3 hours of
their time every week for 2 years to juvenile delinquency (response
„no‟) followed up by asking if they would be willing to chaperone
juvenile delinquents at the zoo > say yes as don‟t feel comfortable
saying no twice.
2. Social Validation= we comply if others similar to us are.
Based on Social Comparison Theory (Festinger).
We follow the lead on many others and similar others.
Milgram, Bickman & Berkowitz- found when one person was looking up
47% of participants looked up at the empty sport, but when there were
6 people already looking up, 84% looked up. 3. Consistency= Once we take a position we tend to comply with requests
consistent with this position (commitment).
This is an example of Cognitive Dissonance (Festinger).
This is an example of foot-in-the-door technique.
Pliner, Hart, Kohl & Sarri- study on charity donation: sent research
assistant a month before annual drive to collect money for charity, sent
to houses in Toronto to ask residence to wear pins they were providing
> majority accepted these pins. 1 month later the actual fund started
fund raising. Communities where they had been visited and given pins
76% donated compared to 46% who did not receive a pin.
Legitimixation-of-paltry-favours (or even a penny would help)
“How are you feeling?” technique. Always publically committed that
your ok when you answer that you are feeling good (i.e. on the phone)
> significant increase in people who contribute once they have passed
through these techniques.
4. Friendship/Liking= One is more likely to comply with the requests of friends
or other liked individuals.
Stella & Dot Products
To increase friendship/liking: if someone is similar (you tend to comply
with their request more). Compliments. Cooperation (people cooperate
with you - tend to like them). Physical attractiveness (those that are>
we think they are intelligent, kind and we can trust them).
5. Authority= One complies to the request of someone who is legitimate
6. Scarcity= we value opportunities and products that are less available.
Sources of power scarcity:
o Scarcity means better q