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Persuasion

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Advanced industrial countries rely heavily on persuasion for social influence ... Persuasion is the use of communication to influence beliefs, attitudes and/or ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Persuasion


1
Persuasion
  • Theoretical and practical concerns

2
Persuasion
  • Attempts to persuade you are everywhere all the
    time
  • That is, wherever you go now, someone is trying
    to influence you
  • The attempts dont stopthey go on day and night
  • Advanced industrial countries rely heavily on
    persuasion for social influence
  • Less emphasis on brute force
  • Mass communication available
  • Persuasion is more efficient and may be more
    effective

3
Persuasion
  • Persuasion is the use of communication to
    influence beliefs, attitudes and/or behavior
  • If the persuasive communication is meant first
    and foremost to advance the interests of the
    speaker/author ahead of other considerations, it
    is propaganda
  • The study of persuasion has been one of the main
    foci of media studies

4
Applied research
  • Most persuasion research is meant to test
    specific persuasive communications strategies or
    tactics rather than to build theory
  • Advertising research
  • Copytesting
  • Campaigns studies
  • Propaganda studies
  • Educational/persuasive campaigns
  • Public health interventions

5
Theory development
  • Theory may be developed and tested using
    scientific research methods
  • Experimental studies, usually
  • More often, the results of advertising,
    educational campaigns reviewed and theory is
    induced from real-world experience
  • Advertising effectiveness monitoring

6
Hovland and colleagues
  • First recruited to study the effectiveness of the
    U.S. governments attempts to educate soldiers
    and boost morale during World War II
  • The Why We Fight series
  • Followed up the American Soldiers studies with a
    program of research on persuasion
  • Yale School of persuasion research

7
Hovland et al.
  • Applied Lasswells paradigm for study
  • Who?
  • Says What?
  • To Whom?
  • In Which Channel?
  • With what effect?

8
Who?
  • Hovland et al. looked at the effects of
    credibility of source on the effectiveness of
    attitude change messages.
  • Controlled experimental designs
  • Presented identical messages but varied the
    source of the message
  • News stories and editorials supposedly written by
    sources of greater or lesser credibility, or from
    more or less credible news organizations

9
Hovland et al.
  • The researchers found that credibility of the
    source was an important determinant of the
    persuasiveness of the message
  • However, the impact of message source seemed to
    decay over time
  • Sleeper effect
  • Credibility of the source was tied to a number of
    characteristics
  • Expertise
  • Trustworthiness
  • Likeability

10
Expertise
  • Does the source appear to be knowledgeable on the
    topic?
  • A source may be perceived to have expertise even
    if he doesnt
  • Im not a doctor, but I play one on TV
  • All sorts of actors dressed up as doctors in
    early commercials
  • FCC restricted representations of sourcescannot
    be misleading or false

11
Trustworthiness
  • If the source seems honest and straightforward we
    are more likely to be convinced by what she says
  • The audience has some reason to believe the
    source is honest
  • Newspersons commitment to objectivity
  • Walter Cronkite
  • A history of openness and honesty
    (self-disclosure)
  • Oprah

12
Trustworthiness
  • Another source of trustworthiness is situational.
  • If the speaker or author is perceived to be
    arguing in favor of a position that is in her
    self-interest she will be less persuasive
  • If you overhear someone talking you are more
    likely to be influenced than if they know you are
    listening
  • An experiment with a supposedly overheard
    discussion led to greater attitude change

13
  • When the speaker argues against his own
    self-interest, he is more persuasive
  • Joe The Shoulder Napolitano arguing for more
    stringent sentencing
  • A group of wealthy people opposed to the repeal
    of the inheritance tax

14
Charisma
  • Personal charm or likeability
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Teflon president
  • Celebrity endorsements
  • Not really clear why some people are appealing
  • Physical attractiveness
  • Physically attractive people are liked, trusted

15
Homophily
  • If the speaker is a lot like the audience member,
    he is more likely to be persuasive
  • Probably a combination of expertise (she
    understands me and my situation) likeability
    (people like those who share their view of the
    world) and trustworthiness (I can trust someone
    like me)
  • In propaganda studies, this is called Just Plain
    Folks
  • Candidates try to portray themselves as
    resembling the group they are targeting
  • Eating ethnic foods
  • Wearing work clothes

16
Sources
  • Heavy use of celebrities
  • Positive affect prior to advertising, etc.
  • Natural on-air presentation
  • Physical attractiveness
  • Association with certain image, roles

17
Says what? (content)
  • Structure of arguments
  • One-sided v. two-sided
  • Primacy v. recency
  • Conclusive v. non-conclusive
  • Rational v. emotional appeals
  • Fear
  • Humor
  • Visual v. semantic appeals

18
Fear appeals
  • Fear appeals have been heavily studied
  • Hovland et al. concluded that moderate fear was
    the most effective
  • Too little fear does not motivate
  • Too much fear causes target to avoid message or
    implications
  • More recent findings have led to conclusion that
    high levels of fear work well if a sense of
    efficacy is generated and clear means of dealing
    with the fear provided

19
Content
  • Emotional content
  • Pathos
  • Humor
  • Love
  • Desire
  • Jealousy
  • Cultural symbolism
  • Flags
  • Weddings
  • Cars

20
Framing
  • Loss v. gain
  • Episode v general trend
  • Examples v. statistics
  • False comparisons

21
To whom?
  • Personality factors
  • Self-esteem
  • Curvilinear effect
  • Education
  • Two-sided messages are more effective with more
    formally educated while one-sided are more
    effective with less formally educated
  • Rational appeals relatively more effective with
    more formally educated
  • Interest
  • Topical interest predicts topical knowledge and
    pre-existing attitudes (varies with demographics)

22
  • Gender
  • Women are more persuadable
  • May no longer be true
  • Social norms/beliefs
  • Active participation

23
Audience
  • Targeting
  • Choice of media based on the ability to reach a
    target audience
  • Target is usually low hanging fruit
  • Fish where the fish are
  • Fish when the fish are biting
  • Messages written for particular audience rather
    than for everyone
  • Tailored messages are now possibleevidence
    indicates they are more effective

24
Audience
  • Audience feedback is used to improve messages,
    further communicate with likely purchasers

25
With what effect?
  • Learning
  • Most common/easiest change
  • Attitude change
  • Especially when existing attitudes are not
    strongly held
  • Behavior intention
  • Most predictive of actual behavior
  • Behavior
  • Changing behavior is very difficult because of
    the multiple influences that determine behavior
  • Biological, psychological, situational, cultural
    influences

26
With what effect?
  • Sleeper effect
  • Selectivity
  • Interaction with education/demographics
  • One-sided v. two-sided
  • Boomerang effects

27
Effect
  • Varies across topics/products, audiences,
    campaigns
  • Information
  • Attitude change
  • Positioning/branding

28
What problems with the experimental method are
there?
  • One-time exposure
  • Compared with campaigns people experience on a
    regular basis
  • Forced exposure
  • Negates selectivity
  • Demand characteristics of experimental method
  • Especially when carried out with students
  • Overuse of available samples
  • Students may not be people

29
What problems with the experimental method are
there?
  • Lack of competing messages
  • Usually choose topics the audience knows little
    about

30
Campaigns
  • Studies of the effectiveness of campaigns
  • Advertising
  • Political campaigns
  • Propaganda campaigns
  • Public health campaigns

31
Campaigns analysis
  • The massive use of advertising allows for the
    testing of real-world media persuasion across a
    wide range of topics
  • Meta-analyses of marketing/advertising campaigns
  • Meta-analyses of copy tests
  • Reviews of public health campaigns
  • Comparison of political or propaganda campaigns
    and public opinion

32
General findings
  • Memory for campaigns is low
  • Recognition scores are better
  • Attitude change is not often very great
  • However, change does occur and can be significant
    under certain circumstances
  • Topic is relatively unknown
  • Media are consonant
  • Topic is emotionally charged

33
Meta-analysis
  • Lodish et al. Advertising works A meta-analysis
    of 389 real world split cable T.V. advertising
    experiments
  • TV advertising weight alone is not enough
  • The status quo is not enough
  • It is unlikely that there is a strong
    relationship between standard measures of TV
    commercial recall and persuasion for established
    brands and the sales impact of the copy

34
  • New brands or line extensions tend to be more
    responsive to alternative TV advertising plans
    than established products
  • These data support the importance of introductory
    weight and prime time for new products
  • Concentration of higher TV advertising weight is
    related to increases in brand sales

35
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38
Dual-processing theory
  • Dual-processing theories argue that we process
    persuasive messages differently if we are
    motivated to attend to them and are capable of
    processing them than if we just monitor them at a
    very low level or are unable to process them
  • Central v. peripheral processing

39
Central processing
  • If we are motivated and capable of processing we
    will carefully review the arguments made to see
    if they are convincing according to rational
    argument
  • Appropriate evidence
  • Strength of argument, logic

40
Peripheral processing
  • If we just give slight attention to a persuasive
    message, are not motivated enough to dedicate the
    effort to evaluate the logic and strength of
    argument, then we will tend to process according
    to peripheral cues
  • Attractiveness of the source
  • May be sexual
  • Visual cues/attractiveness of the setting
  • Music
  • Emotion
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