The Science of Persuasion: Using Persuasion Principles & Techniques Shortcuts to thinking Whether we realize it or not, we love shortcuts to thinking. When we buy an item, we don’t always take the time to research the product or read the latest consumer guide’s ratings on the product. Instead, we often rely on the salesperson’s advice, we might just buy the most popular brand, or we might bring a friend along for his opinion. If we thoroughly considered every single decision, we would constantly be overwhelmed and we’d never get anything done. Two Paths of Persuasion: The Conscious & the Subconscious There are two paths to persuasion: the conscious and the subconscious. Both paths can persuade others to your way of thinking, but each path uses a very different means of processing information. The conscious path In the conscious path, both you and your audience make an active or conscious attempt to understand, define, and process an argument. The conscious path A person who is interested in your persuasive attempts will be highly motivated to listen. As such, she will also be able to consciously evaluate your message by carefully weighing the pros and cons of the evidence you present. The subconscious path In the subconscious path, the listener spends little or no time processing the information. This approach results in those automatic triggers. Your mind reaches a decision without doing any logical processing. The subconscious path These subconscious decisions are largely driven by instinct and emotion. They are not really involved in the subject. Here, the key is knowing when to use which method. Elaboration Likelihood Model ELM’s two “routes” to persuasion Depends on the level of elaboration Central route: Focus on quality of message Peripheral route: Focus on superficial “cues” Low Elaboration High Elaboration Peripheral Route Central Route Two Routes to Persuasion Central route Involves conscious processing Careful and thoughtful consideration Peripheral route Involves automatic processing Influenced by some simple cues Central Route Argument Quality In addition to what is said previously, the cause of the elaboration also depends on the quality/strength of arguments. Elaborated Arguments: Strong Weak Elaboration Likelihood Model We may be persuaded by arguments or by peripheral cues So, does elaboration matter? Elaboration Likelihood Model Persuasion via the central route leads to stronger attitudes Attitude Strength Attitude strength Stability over time Resistance to persuasion attempts Attitude is more likely to predict behavior Elaboration Likelihood Model So, is the central route better? Not always! Central route Takes time and energy Doesn’t necessarily lead to better decisions PERSUASION Overview Elaboration Likelihood Model Other related theories: Resisting persuasion Inoculation Theory Predicting behavior Theory of Planned Behavior Take Home Messages Not all kinds of persuasion are created equal ELM: central vs. peripheral route Persuasion is not inherently bad Such as health campaigns, environmental campaigns You can resist persuasion Attitudes are very important – Especially when they predict behavior!