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PSYCH253 Lecture Notes - Jim Carrey, Hot Tub, Physical Attractiveness

Course Code
Emiko Yoshida

of 4
Week 5: Persuasion
- Getting a date
- Getting a job
- Asking a favour
- Selling products
- What paths lead to persuasion?
o Central vs. peripheral route of persuasion
- Real world implications –how can you win someone’s heart?
- Dark side of persuasion
o How can persuasion be resisted?
Central Route to Persuasion
- People “elaborate” on a message
o Listen carefully
o Analyze content of message
o Motivation (e.g., personal relevance of the topic does it matter to you?
o Ability (e.g., not tired)
- Most effective when make strong arguments
- Weak arguments will backfire people will counter-argue
Peripheral Route to Persuasion
- People do not “elaborate”
o Don’t pay close attention
o Don’t stop to analyze message
o Instead are influenced by surface characteristics of message (peripheral cues)
- Associating the product with cool and attractive people
o E.g., beer advertisement
HANH beer guy jumps into hot tub with girl
o E.g., smoking in movies
Ads are not allowed anymore, so smoking is advertised in movies
The MASK Jim Carrey blew heart smoke rings and an arrow through it
- Sometimes commercials use both central and peripheral routes
o E.g., Video clip: Mac vs. PC commercials
Persuasive elements:
- Attractiveness and liking
- Reason vs. emotion
- The effect of arousing fear
Attractiveness and Liking
- Attractiveness;
o Physical attractiveness
o Similarity
o Subjective preference (e.g., personal values, way of life, etc.,)
- Central route;
o Open to the argument
o E.g., Video clip: Michael J. Fox
He talked about stem cell research
He is attractive so we will tend ot listen to him and agree with him
- Peripheral route;
o Trigger positive association
Reason vs. Emotion
- Rational appeal;
o Works best for well-educated audience
o Central route to persuasion
- Emotion;
o Works best for disinterested audience
o Less analytical people
o Peripheral route to persuasion (likability of the communicator)
The Effect of Arousing Fear
- The more frightened people are, the more they respond
- Pleasurable activity (e.g., smoking)
o People tend to engage in denial
o Scary message can be overwhelming
o Scary messages + provide a solution
- E.g., Video clip: texting while driving intense car accident
- E.g., Poster: smoking is like suicide
Resist Unwanted Persuasion: Challenging Beliefs
- Attacking commited people strongly enough will cause them to take a stronger position
- E.g., Video clip: Friends Phoebe and Ross argue about evolution
o Ross mildly attacked Phoebe’s beliefs, thus causing Phoebe to become more
committed to her belief against evolution
Developing Counterarguments
- Study: Attitude inoculation; Mcquire, 1964
o Weak arguments will prompt counterarguments
o Available for a stronger attack
Real World Application –How Can You Win Someone’s Heart
1) Tell the person about your weaknesses and strengths versus focusing only on your
2) Give impression that you are always available versus you are always busy
Perceived Trustworthiness (1)
o Arguing against your self-interest
o Honest and trustworthy
o More persuasive
o E.g., I may not be perfect for you, but I’ll always be there for you
o E.g., Progressive Auto Insurance
Progressive may or may not be right for you
Since providing comparisons on quotes, sales increases from 3.4 to 14 bil
Scarcity Principle (2)
o People showing greater desire for an object that’s:
In limited availability
Limited for a short time only
Unique and rare
o E.g., Christmas sales
Normative Influence
o Pay attention to other’s behaviours
o Guide decisions and actions
o E.g., please leave a message if my phone is busy
o E.g., McDonalds over 99 billion served
- Mystery 1:
o In 2003, GM decided to discontinue one care line due to consistent poor sales
o However, its sales skyrocketed all of a sudden
Less money for ads
Quality or price didn’t change
o Why did this happen?
People value products that are unique and rare
Because GM had decided to stop production of the car line, the product
has become more precious
o Scarcity principle
- Mystery 2:
o A company changed 3 words in the catch phrase which cause an increase in
number of consumers purchasing the product
o What were the three words?
Changed from “operators are waiting, please call now” to “if operators are
busy, please call again”
o How did it increase sales?
Creates perception that many people are calling
o Normative influence