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Persuasion - Midterm Review - Chapters 1 - 3.docx

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PSYC 3170
Masood Zangeneh

Midterm Review – Weeks 1 - 3 Chapter 1: Why Study Persuasion?  Persuasion is a central feature of every sphere of human communication. You can‟t avoid it.  Persuasion is a powerful and often positive social force  Persuasion is as much as an „art‟ as it is a „science‟  You can‟t avoid persuasion itself  Human nature is too complicated and our understanding of persuasion is limited, to predict in advance which influence attempts will succeed and which will fail  Persuasion is not entirely a matter of luck  It happens in a linear form, delayed feedback form, and synchronous form  It happens outside and indoors, every ad is a message of influence/persuasion  Emerging field; Aims and Goals  Aims are academic and practical  (Academic) To learn about how and why persuasion functions the way it does by: ◦ learning about current theories and research on persuasion ◦ (Practical) examining numerous illustrations of “real-life” persuasion  These together help us to become a more effective practitioner of persuasion Nature of Persuasion  We are surrounded by persuasion. ◦ Obvious or intentional persuasion: billboards, TV commercials ◦ Non-obvious or accidental influence: social modeling of risk behaviors in movies  Persuasion is an “art” and a science. ◦ People can be stubborn, unpredictable. ◦ Even the most well-funded, well-designed persuasive campaigns may fail. Persuasion is not a dirty word  Although usually seen in a bad light persuasion has several positive sides to it  The positive side of persuasion ◦ Persuasion is a powerful, positive social force. ◦ Persuasion is a necessary feature of human interaction.  Persuasion is our friend. ◦ Essential to public health awareness campaigns ◦ Crucial for charities, philanthropic organizations ◦ Useful for motivating and inspiring people  Very little of the good that we see in the world could be accomplished without persuasion The Pervasiveness of Persuasion: You Can Run but You Can’t Hide  Advertising spending is expected to increase in 2010 to $162 billion per year.  The average person is exposed to 300-400 persuasive messages per day from the media alone.  The average person is exposed to 300-1500 advertising messages per day  The average person watches 1,000 commercials per week Page 1 of 14 Midterm Review – Weeks 1 - 3  An average of $800 per person is spent on advertising in the U.S. each year Buzz Marketing  Buzz marketing circumvents traditional media by generating free publicity.  In addition to traditional media, buzz marketing relies on: ◦ The blogosphere, Facebook, face-to-face interaction, email, texting, Twitter, YouTube  Word of Mouth (WOM) is the main form of buzz marketing. Buzz is more effective than mainstream media at reaching younger audiences  Buzz marketing relies on friendships to spread positive word of mouth Tipping Points  Like a virus, word about a product or service spreads from one consumer to another. Spreading the word through social networks until the world is “infected” and the publicity is free  Tipping point: ◦ the threshold or critical point at which an idea, product, or message takes off  Viral theory of marketing: ◦ ideas and messages can be contagious, just like diseases  The law of the few ◦ Large numbers of people are not required to generate a trend. ◦ A select few enjoy a disproportionate amount of influence over others. Key Influencers  The right type of people are needed to get the message to launch  All three types are needed for a phenomenon to take-off ◦ Mavens ◦ Connectors ◦ Salespeople  Mavens: possess information, expertise, and seek to share it. They needn‟t been rich or famous but are ahead of the curve. Also referred to as “influential‟s” ◦ “Mavens are data banks. They provide the message.” ◦ Mavens want to educate more than persuade or sell.  Connectors: know everybody, are networkers, have many contacts they are the carriers. When they learn what the next big thing is from the Mavens they spread the word. ◦ “Connectors are social glue: they spread it.” ◦ They have large social circles. They are social gadflies; they blog, chat, text, twitter.  Salespeople: they receive the message from the connectors and sell it to their own small circle of friends ◦ They are persuasive, charismatic ◦ They are good at building rapport. ◦ They often rely on “soft” influence (not the hard sell). Context and Stickiness  Power of context ◦ The idea, message, or product must happen at the right time and place.  The stickiness factor ◦ The idea, message, or product has to be “sticky” or inherently attractive. Page 2 of 14 Midterm Review – Weeks 1 - 3 Scalability and Effortless Transfer  Scalability: message must be able to go from very small to very large without “gearing up.”  Effortless transfer: the message must be easy to disseminate. ◦ “word of mouse” ◦ leveraging free media  The more money, time or effort it takes to spread the word the less likely the idea will go viral Cautions and caveats  Momentum may not reach the tipping point. ◦ No guarantee the initial “buzz” will become contagious ◦ Difficult to orchestrate word of mouth ◦ Good ideas don‟t always gain traction.  Trends come and go quickly. ◦ Like a contagion, a trend can die out quickly or be replaced by a new one.  The very concept of viral marketing is an oxymoron, a viral campaign is planned to go unplanned. Pervasiveness of Persuasion  Persuasion in the Sciences: Scientists are actively involved in persuasion. ◦ Over theories and paradigms ◦ Over methodologies and research findings ◦ Over grants and funding  Persuasion in the Arts: Artists seek to shape public opinion in and through their work. ◦ Picasso‟s Guernica (1937) offers a moral indictment of war ◦ Movies can change attitudes, alter beliefs, increase awareness.  Non-obvious Contexts for Persuasion ◦ Bumper stickers ◦ 12 step programs rd ◦ Intercessory prayer (3 party) ◦ Plays and musicals ◦ Panhandling: homeless person using humor/satire as a panhandling strategy (NEED CASH FOR ALCOHOL RESEARCH)  Weird Persuasion ◦ Persuasion can be downright weird. ◦ A town changed its name to Dish, Texas as a buzz marketing ploy. Residents agreed to change the name in exchange for free dish satellite for 10 years. The strangeness of the name change mediated free publicity – buzz. ◦ William Shatner‟s kidney stone was auctioned off on eBay. ◦ Acne lights were installed to discourage teen loitering.  Persuasion in interpersonal contexts ◦ Most influence attempts occur in the interpersonal arena. ◦ Persuasion is most effective in face-to-face contexts. ◦ Less obvious or overt, Harder to say “No” in person Page 3 of 14 Midterm Review – Weeks 1 - 3 ◦ Easier to analyze, adapt to one‟s audience Four Benefits of Studying Persuasion  There are four primary benefits of learning about persuasion: 1. The instrumental function 2. The knowledge and awareness function 3. The defensive function 4. The debunking function The Instrumental Function of Persuasion  Improving one‟s own persuasive abilities. Persuasion is an instrument or a means to an end.  Persuasion skill is a form of communication competence. ◦ Communication competence requires effectiveness and appropriateness. ◦ Like any skill-set, persuasive skills can be improved through training and practice. The Knowledge Function  Gaining a better understanding of how persuasion works  Overcoming habitual persuasion: ◦ Individuals are often unaware of their own habitual, reflexive patterns of persuasion. ◦ Persuasion isn‟t a “one-size-fits-all” form of communication The Defensive Function: Duck and Cover  Some people tend to underestimate the influence of advertising on themselves and overestimate its effects on others a phenomenon known as the third-person effect ◦ Becoming a more savvy, discerning consumer of persuasive messages ◦ Being less likely to succumb to high pressure sales tactics ◦ Exposing unethical strategies and tactics The Debunking Function: Puh-Shaw  Dispelling folk-wisdom, false stereotypes, and “common-sense” misconceptions about persuasion ◦ Gaze avoidance is not a reliable sign of deception. ◦ Subliminal influence is ineffective.  Learning about non-obvious, counter-intuitive research findings ◦ The “logic” versus “emotion” distinction represents a false dichotomy. Two Criticisms of Persuasion Does Learning about Persuasion Foster Manipulation?  Is teaching/learning about persuasion manipulative?  The study of persuasion is fraught with ethical concerns.  Little of the good in the world could be accomplished without persuasion.  Not studying persuasion won‟t make persuasion go away.  People who claim that persuasion is manipulative are themselves taking a persuasive stance. Are persuasion findings inconsistent or confusing?  Persuasion deserves study because it is complicated. Page 4 of 14 Midterm Review – Weeks 1 - 3  A number of reliable generalizations have been uncovered. Ethical Concerns about the Use of Persuasion  Persuasion is not without ethical concerns  To be a more effective persuader, you should strive to be an ethical persuader as well Chapter 2: What Constitutes Persuasion?  What is persuasion?  How does it differ from coercion, social influence, and other related terms?  Different authors view persuasion in different ways, therefore, adopting different definitions of the term  Aliases of persuasion include: advising, brainwashing, coercion, compliance gaining, convincing, education, influence, manipulation, and propaganda. Pure versus Borderline Persuasion  First determine whether one is interested in pure persuasion or borderline cases of persuasion  Pure persuasion o Obvious, clear-cut cases of persuasion  a TV commercial  an attorney‟s closing remarks to a jury  a pop-up ad on the Internet o The above are all clear cut cases of persuasion, the attorney is trying to persuade the jury, the pop up ad wants you to buy their product o These examples are “paradigm cases” of persuasion because they of the core of what we think of when we think of persuasion at work  Borderline persuasion o Less clear-cut cases of influence, more “iffy”  a derelict‟s appearance  social modeling of behavior  persuasive attempts that backfire  Pure persuasion is: o intentional o measured by its effectiveness  Borderline persuasion: o may or may not be intentional o may or may not produce the intended effect  The Circle: Preliminary Model of Persuasion  The outer circle represents Borderline Cases of Persuasion and the inner circle represents Pure Cases of Persuasion  As the shading in the model suggests, the dividing line between the two is fuzzy, rather than distinct Limiting Criteria for Defining Persuasion  Litmus tests for defining persuasion o intentional vs. unintentional Page 5 of 14 Midterm Review – Weeks 1 - 3 o effective vs. ineffective (or even counterproductive) o free will and conscious awareness vs. coercion and/or lack of awareness o symbolic action vs. pure behavior o interpersonal versus intrapersonal Intentionality  Are there cases of “accidental” persuasion?  Persuaders‟ goals aren‟t always clear. o Parental modeling of behavior: they instill beliefs, impart values and model behaviour for their children o The unintended receiver effect: A third person who is not directly involved in the conversation but overhears and is influenced o Difficulties in interpreting another‟s intent: between stated intent versus actual intent o Interpersonal influence is mutual, two-way. Effects  Has persuasion occurred if nothing changes? o Persuasion as a product or outcome vs. persuasion as a process or activity o The activity of persuading occurs even if there is no observable change. o Persuasion is often two-way, not one-way or linear. o Measuring persuasive outcomes can be difficult. o Persuasion may boomerang, producing the opposite of the intended effect. Free Will and Conscious Awareness  Is a free, voluntary choice required? o Persuasion often operates at a low level of awareness o Persuasive may occur without another‟s conscious awareness.  Few decisions ever involve completely free choice o rewards, punishments, incentives, drawbacks o social consequences for saying no Symbolic Interaction  Does persuasion exist in the “world of words” and symbolic actions? o Much of persuasion is visual.  Images carry meaning outside of words. o Much of persuasion is nonverbal.  Not all nonverbal cues are clearly codified. o A person who watched an infomercial with the sound off might still be persuaded. Interpersonal vs. Intrapersonal  Does persuasion require two or more persons? o Self-persuasion does occur.  A person might talk him/her self into doing (or not doing) something.  New Year‟s resolutions are designed to increase commitment. Page 6 of 14 Midterm Review – Weeks 1 - 3 o Persuasion involves numerous intrapersonal processes  attitude formation and change  desire for cognitive consistency  counter-arguing Gass & Seiter Model of Persuasion The Role of Context for Persuasion  The communication context shapes how persuasion occurs o Mass media is linear, with delayed feedback. o Face to face persuasion is synchronous or simultaneous. o Email, Texting, IM and Twitter lack nonverbal cues. o Socio-cultural factors affect message processing. o Participants‟ goals affect how persuasion functions. A Working Definition of Persuasion “Persuasion involves one or more persons who are en
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