Chapter 3:
Mass Communication,
Propaganda, and
Persuasion
Routes to Persuasion
 Central
 Peripheral
 Few
appeals use one route or
the other exclusively
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http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/201185
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Key factors in effectiveness
of communication
1. Source of communication
2. Nature of communication
3. Characteristics of the Audience
Source of the Communication
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Expert and trustworthy.
Attractiveness.
Communicator argues against their own
self-interest.
Audience believes the communicator is
not trying to influence them.
If we like and identify – likely to be
influenced.
Nature of the Communication
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Compelled by fear – fear arousing with
specific instructions more likely to change
behavior. But – if behavior is too threatening,
avoided.
Statistics vs. personal examples – vivid
powerful
One-sided vs. two-sided arguments –
audience position and informed-ness
Order of presentation of arguments – primacy
and recency (next slide)
Relationship between credibility of
communicator, discrepancy of views with
audience, and persuasion.
Primacy and Recency Effects
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Primacy
Most evident when statements are back to back
and behavior change follows a time gap
Recency
Most evident when enough time separates the
two messages and audience commits soon
after the second message.
Characteristics of the Audience

Self Esteem
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Higher less persuadable, more likely to act
quickly in fear situation
Prior Experience
Happy and well fed
 Don’t want to be led around
 Counter arguments on the spot
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Discrepant views, one or two sided
arguments.
Cognitive Dissonance and
Persuasion
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If message of the communicator is inconsistent
with the audience, persuasion depends on…
Size of the discrepancy
 Communicator variables (trustworthiness – can the
communicator be changed or derided?)
 Other audience responses
 Innoculation/ability to develop arguments in
opposition

A few social influence tactics…
 Multiple
Requests
 Foot-in-the-door
– small request at
first to larger
 Door-in-the-Face – large request to
small
 That’s Not All! -- add incentives
Your Persuasion Toolbag
1. How do you go about persuading others?
2. How do others try to persuade you?
3. Which attempts are effective? Why?
Prevention, Intervention or
Treatment?
Primary prevention: Efforts targeting a broad
group, not necessarily at risk.
Secondary prevention: Efforts targeting a
particular risk group.
Tertiary prevention: Efforts targeting people with
the problem designed to reduce relapse or
mitigate the negative consequences of the
problem.
What might you prevent?
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Driving While Texting
Health problems
Burnout
Violence
Eating disorders, unhealthy eating habits
Your ideas?
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Communication, Persuasion - Seattle Central Community College