Persuasion What is persuasion? Persuasion: the process by which a message induces change in beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors. I. Where does persuasion live? Everywhere! A. The Media B. Science C. The Arts D. Interpersonal Encounters (where persuasion attempts are most prevalent and have their greatest impact) II. The Pathways of Persuasion A. The Central Route to Persuasion: the case whereby people “systematically process” a persuasive communication, listening carefully to and thinking about the arguments. This occurs when people have both the ability and the motivation to listen carefully to a communication. B. The Peripheral Route to Persuasion: the case whereby people “heuristically process” a persuasive communication and are swayed by peripheral cues (such as a speaker’s appearance or the amount of evidence rather than the quality of evidence). This occurs when people do not have the ability and/or the motivation to listen carefully to a communication. C. If it’s a complex message, written communication is more effective in changing attitudes. D. If it’s a simple message, audio-visual is more effective in changing attitudes. III. The Communicator: Who is the Messenger? I. Credibility: judgments made by a perceiver concerning the believability of a communicator. A. Credibility is dynamic. It can change over time, and even during a single persuasive message. B. The Sleeper Effect: refers to a situation in which a message attributed to a lower credibility source becomes more persuasive over time compared to a message attributed to a high credibility source. 1) The sleeper effect operates through a process of disassociation, whereby a message becomes separated from its source in the minds of receivers. 2) Although the sleeper effect has been empirically documented in laboratory settings, it is difficult to produce in real-world settings. C. The underlying dimensions of credibility. 1) Expertise (competence, qualification)… Expertise can be established by possessing advanced degrees (Ph.D.) or through experience like a recovered alcoholic serving as a coordinator at AA meetings. Both of these help to give the impression that you are knowledgeable. Mature angular faced people appear more like experts than baby faced people. Taller people appear more like experts than shorter people and people with a full head of hair appear more like experts than bald people. 2) Trustworthiness… Looking someone straight in the eye… Although eye contact may make a person more persuasive by increasing perceptions of trustworthiness, its effectiveness may depend on a number of factors (e.g., the legitimacy of the request that’s made). Baby faced people appear more trustworthy than mature angular faced people. Arguing against your own self-interest. Fast talkers appear more credible and trustworthy than slow-talkers. 3) Goodwill: perceived caring. 4) Composure: speaking confidently and being straightforward. II. Liking: favorable judgments made by a perceiver concerning the believability of a communicator. A. Charisma: someone who possesses a certain indefinable charm or allure. B. Celebrities… 1) Advertisers frequently rely on celebrity endorsers to boost their company’s image because consumers like, or may even idolize, those celebrities. 2) If a celebrity endorser becomes embroiled in a scandal, the sponsor’s image may suffer as well. C. Attractiveness… 1) We perceive attractive people to be healthier, happier, more sensitive, more successful, more intelligent, and more socially skilled. 2) Attractive well-dressed people are more likely to make a favorable impression on potential employers and get out of legal trouble. 3) People are more likely to vote for attractive candidates. D. Similarity… 1) We are more likely to help and like others who are dressed similarly to us. 2) We are more likely to help and like others who have similar backgrounds and interests. 3) People are more likely to buy products, sign petitions, and agree to other activities when the seller is perceived as similar in age, religion, politics, etc. 4) Similar Names! 5) Kidney Donors! E. Mimicry Fosters Liking F. Compliments… 1) Compliments can significantly increase someone’s liking of you EVEN when they know you have ulterior motives. 2) Ingratiation: the act of gaining acceptance or affection for yourself by persuasive and oftentimes subtle compliments. 3) However, transparent attempts at ingratiation are less effective than well-disguised, or genuine efforts at ingratiation. IV. The Communication: What is the message and how is it being delivered? Fixed-Action Patterns: mechanical like behavior sequences. Trigger Feature: a specific cue that activates the fixed-action pattern. I. Visual Persuasion A. Iconicity: images can represent, or sum up, ideas and concepts. They serve as symbolic representations of things. 1) Iconic images evoke emotional responses in receivers. 2) Iconic images can distort or violate reality. 3) Iconic images are selective; they can exaggerate or minimize certain features over others. Fast Food! It looks delicious, right??? B. The Persuasiveness of Architecture 1) Architectural design can facilitate certain forms of behavior and inhibit others. 2) Visual and spatial cues affect people’s perceptions of, and attitudes toward, their environment. C. The Persuasiveness of Color D. The Persuasiveness of Art 1) Historically, art has been used to further political, religious, and social ends. 2) The arts have been used as tools for political and societal propaganda, most notably by totalitarian regimes. 3) Artists use their art to make political and social statements. E. The Persuasiveness of Movies 1) Storytelling in movies as persuasion. 2) Viewers do not expect to be persuaded by movies, so they let down their guard. 3) Movies promote popular culture (fashions, trends, lifestyles). 4) Movies promote viewer identification with the characters. F. The Persuasiveness of Television 1) The Selection of Issues Sensationalism: when more exciting (often visually exciting) stories are chosen over less exciting stories even if the less exciting stories are more newsworthy. 2) The Selection of Guest and Panel Members 3) What is Included on a Set 4) Camera Angles and Cuts II. Music and Persuasion A. Song lyrics can persuade via the central route, but may be more effective than words alone because the music helps to relax the listener and be more open to the message. B. Typically, however, music persuades via the peripheral route because it puts people in a better mood and relaxes them while there exposed to advertisements. C. Background music is used by retailers to influence consumer behavior. 1) Background music has been shown to affect shopping pace. 2) Background music has been shown to affect moods. D. The Right Ear! III. Aromas and Persuasion A. Fragrance manufacturing is a multi-billion dollar industry. However, much of what sells a fragrance, like a perfume, is the promise that you will be sexy like the model in the ad supposedly using the perfume. B. Some evidence suggests that fragrances may increase attraction. C. As with positively received music, ambient aromas (like vanilla, chocolate, and floral scents) can affect consumers’ shopping pace, and make them linger longer in stores and restaurants. D. Repeated exposure to a given fragrance may result in desensitization, or create an aversion to the smell. IV. Haptics: the study of touch. Touching other people, if done appropriately, tends to facilitate persuasion. V. Proxemics: the study of how we use space to communicate. A. Invading another person’s space facilitates persuasion if the invader is perceived as rewarding but hinders persuasion if the invader is not perceived as rewarding. B. The degree of personal space distance between two people varies across cultures. VI. The Scarcity Principle: opportunities seem more valuable to us when they are less available. A. Limited Numbers: when we learn that there are only a few left in stock or that it’s the last one in stock, we have a tendency to assume that it is of remarkable value. It is kind of like the social proof of material goods. If everyone is buying it, it must be the thing to have. B. Time Limits: when we believe that we must act now in order to get the deal or the product or the deal or the product will be gone, we are enticed to do so. 1) Chronemics: the study of how time is used to communicate. C. Psychological Reactance: whenever free choice is limited or threatened, the need to retain our freedoms makes us want free choice significantly more than before. Therefore, when increasing scarcity interferes with our prior access to some item, we will react against the interference by wanting and trying to possess the item more than we did before. D. Censorship: when information becomes censored, it becomes scarce. This increases the appeal of acquiring such information. E. Optimal Conditions 1) New Scarcity is More Powerful than Constant Scarcity 2) Competition for Scarce Resources: social demand increases liking of products. VII. Subtle Persuasion A. Subliminal Messages: are processed without conscious awareness. 1) Claims that subliminal stimuli in advertisements can make people buy things are unsupported. B. Supraliminal Messages: are subtle, or faint, but are still processed consciously. C. Logos D. Slogans or Catch Phrases E. Cute Animals VIII. Sex Appeals A. Sex appeals function as peripheral cues to persuasion, and operate through the process of association. B. The implicit associations advertisers want receivers to make are: 1) If I buy/use product X, I will look or feel more sexy to others. 2) If I buy/use product X, other sexy people will be attracted to me. Fast Cars and Sexy Women!!! C. Strong sex appeals can backfire, in one of several ways: 1) They may offend receivers and trigger a consumer backlash. 2) They may distract receivers from attending to or processing message content. IN SUM… Too strong = disgust/distraction. Too mild = overlooked. IX. Persuasion through Association A. Blaming the weather reporter for the bad weather. B. Credit Cards: Buy Now! Oh by the way, you’ll have to pay us later… and with interest. C. Basking In Reflected Glory (BIRGing): a self-serving cognition whereby an individual associates themselves with successful others such that another’s success becomes their own. Your home team won! Yes, we won! D. Cutting Off Reflected Failure (CORFing): a self-serving cognition whereby an individual disassociates themselves as much as possible from the losing team. Your home team lost. Yes, they lost. X. The Persuasive Effects of Emotion A. The persuasiveness of feeling good… Eating and Laughing 1) Food and Persuasion 2) Humor and Persuasion Humor can facilitate persuasion by capturing receivers’ attention. Humor can assist persuasion by serving as a distraction. Humor can facilitate persuasion by increasing liking for the source. Related humor tends to be more effective than unrelated humor at securing compliance. B. The persuasiveness of fear… The Resources Relative To Magnitude of the Threat Model of Stress and Activity 100% 100% High PR ILA 0% Low FM Personal Resources (PR) High FM OLA ELA Low PR Level of Arousal 0% Excessive Level of Arousal (ELA) Insufficient Level of Arousal (ILA) Fear Manipulation (FM) Optimal Level of Arousal (OLA) XI. Message Discrepancy Too Different Optimal Discrepancy Too Similar XII. One-Sided vs. Two-Sided Appeals XIII. Primacy vs. Recency A. Primacy Effect: information presented first usually has the most influence. B. Recency Effect: information presented last sometimes has the most influence. Recency effects are less common than primacy effects. XIV. Personal vs. Media Influence A. The Two-Step Flow of Communication: process by which media influence often occurs through opinion leaders, who in turn influence others. XV. Sequential Persuasion: in order for persuasion to be effective, oftentimes a series of steps must be performed in a prescribed sequence. A. Norm of Reciprocity tactic (Pregiving): giving the persuadee something in advance before asking for compliance. B. The Foot in the Door tactic: making a small request first, and, once it is agreed to, following it with a second larger request. C. The Door in the Face tactic: making a request so large that it is turned down, and then following it up with a second smaller request. 1) The Contrast Principle: the differences between two things are perceived as being greater when presented one right after another than if presented separately. D. The That's Not All tactic: adding additional incentives to the original offer (sweetening the deal). E. The Lowball tactic: making a deal that is too good to refuse, and then, after the initial deal is agreed to, changing it to one that is not as attractive. F. The Bait and Switch tactic: luring customers with an attractive product and then trying to get them to comply with a similar but different product. G. The Framing tactic: framing the request in a way that makes it seem more attractive. V. The Recipient of The Communication: Who is the audience and how are they affected? I. How old are they? A. Life Cycle explanation: attitudes change as people grow older. B. Generational explanation: attitudes do not change; older people largely hold onto the attitudes they adopted when they were young. C. Young children are more vulnerable to persuasion than are older people. II. What kind of people are they? A. People with moderately high self-esteem are more persuadable than are people with high or low self-esteem. B. High self-monitors, compared to low self-monitors, pay close attention to their own and others’ behavior in order to behave appropriately in a given context. C. Dogmatic and authoritarian people are close-minded and tend to follow authorities blindly. D. Need for Cognition: a personality variable reflecting the extent to which people engage in and enjoy effortful cognitive activities. 1) People high in the need for cognition are more motivated to think about persuasive messages than are people low in the need for cognition. 2) When dealing with complex messages, people high in the need for cognition are persuaded via the central route, while people low in the need for cognition are persuaded via the peripheral route. III. Other factors that make the audience more vulnerable to persuasion. A. Distraction: people’s attitudes are more easily changed when they are distracted enough from developing counterarguments, but not so distracted that they don’t receive / understand the message. B. Rumination: if you get people to simply think about the reasons why they feel the way they do about something, that in and of itself leads to attitude strengthening. C. Peer Pressure IV. Factors that help the audience resist persuasion. A. Forewarning: people know ahead of time what the topic and method of persuasion will be and can be mentally prepared to avoid being taken advantage of. B. Inoculation: you give people counter-arguments to prepare them for people trying to change their attitudes. C. Plant a Poison Parasite!