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Chapter 5

Persuasion - Chapter Five - Communicator Characteristics and Persuadability.pdf

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PSYC 3170
Masood Zangeneh

Page 1 of 5 Chapter Five: Communicator Characteristics and Persuadability  Some people are more persuadable than others, the search for a single underlying trait or characteristic that makes people persuadable has not been successful. Persuasion is more complicated than that and so are people. All communicators are unique in terms of gender, age, personality and background. These characteristics are important to understanding the nature of social influence  In this chapter: we explore the role communicator characteristics play in the process of persuasion [ PAGES 91 – 112 ] Demographic Variables and Persuasion  Demographics include characteristics such as age, gender, ethnicity and intelligence. We discuss how each of these is related to persuasion Age and Persuasion: Pretty Please with Sugar on Top  Children are easy targets for persuasion. They are vulnerable to persuasive trickery because they lack the ability to understand the nature and intent of persuasive attempts:  Cognitively & psychologically defenseless  Kids are exposed to 360,000 commercials by the time they graduate high school  Two variables to decrease children‟s vulnerability to advertising:  Adult influence: provide them with a better understanding of the nature and purpose of advertising  Getting older: As children get older they become more susceptible to peer pressure but less susceptible to the persuasive appeal of ads (less susceptible but not immune)  Age alone does not make people more gullible.  What about the Elderly? May be less persuadable because their attitudes and beliefs are formed and tend to remain stable  beliefs and attitudes more stable  BUT…persuaded because of their preference for consistency. Gender Differences and Persuasion: The Times, They Aren‟t a Changin‟  Do men and women differ in their ability to influence others?  Success has little to do with ability but rather with audience perceptions  Gender stereotypes case audiences to perceive males as more competent than females and to expect females to be warmer and more nurturing than males.  males as more competent  females as more nurturing  Reinforcement Expectancy Theory: applies to persuasive encounters between doctors and patients  Once a doctor persuades a patient to do something, the patient judges the appropriateness of the doctor‟s message. If viewed as inappropriate, the patient rejects it  Gender: Because of certain norms female doctors can‟t get away with using aversive strategies the same way male doctors can; Male doctors can gain compliance by using positive or negative influence strategies whereas female doctors can usually only gain compliance by positive strategies Page 2 of 5  Female MDs are expected to be more communal, nurturing. Male MDs are expected to be more assertive, leader-like.  Which gender is more persuaded? – evaporating gender differences might be the result of changing times and the attitudes of and toward women  Cross-sex effect, by which people were more easily influenced by members of the opposite sex than my members of the same sex. This may be stronger for males persuading females than vice versa  Generalizations about gender and persuasion are hard to come by. Persuadability is not so much related to one‟s gender as it is to one‟s goals, plans resources and beliefs.  Gender matters only to the extent that females and males have different goals, plans, resources and beliefs. Ex. Shopping for clothes Ethnicity, Culture, and Persuasion: „Me‟ and „We‟ Perspectives  Cultural differences play a large part in how people fashion influence attempts and how they respond to them  Individualism-collectivism: whereas collectivist cultures tend to value harmony, concern for others and the goals of the group over the goals of the individual, individualistic cultures tend to value independent and the goal of the individual over the goals of the collective  China VS United States  Individual cultures view themselves consistently across situations  Value personal autonomy.  Direct, assertive persuasion strategies  emphasize individual benefits, personal success  Individual empowerment  Collectivistic cultures view the self as more malleable  Emphasize fitting in.  Indirect, cooperative persuasion strategies  Appeal to group benefits, harmony  Group empowerment: Ex. feeding people what they relish  Individualism and collectivism are actually two separate continua that may ebb and flow in their significance in influencing communication practices  Three influence tactics reflecting additional values of importance:  „anshi‟ or hinting  „yi shen zuo ze‟ or setting an example by one‟s own action  „tou qi suo hao‟ or feeding people what they relish Intelligence and Persuasion: Dumb and Dumber  Less intelligent people are easier to persuade than people with a lot of smarts Psychological and Communication States and Traits  Two common explanations for why people differ from one another centers around the notion of traits and states  A trait is a characteristic of a person presumed to be relatively stable across situations  A state varies from situation to situation Page 3 of 5 Self-Esteem and Persuasion: Feelin‟ Kinda Low  Individuals with low self-esteem are more susceptible to influence attempts than individuals with high self-esteem – FALSE!  To be persuaded a person must both receive and yield to a message.
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