We are bombarded with attempts at persuasion every day. Can we find some in this room?
We are often persuaded by media that is NOT advertising
Attempts at Persuasion: Are these subtle / clever and indirect?
Advertising integrated into / (posing) as entertainment
The effects of media “If it bleeds, it leads” – Over half of news programs’ content is about suffering / conflict – Unbalanced, inaccurate perceptions of the world Emotional contagion – the rapid transmission of emotions or behaviors through a crowd – coverage of topics can cause and influence later behavior Tylenol/cyanide poisonings Copycat suicides Road sign tampering
Is a message education or propaganda? Propaganda – Systematic propagation (spread, promotion, transmission) of a given doctrine Education – Act of imparting knowledge or skill Classification depends on own values
The Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986) Will a person think through (and be likely to elaborate on) a persuasive message? Use peripheral route if: Person focuses on superficial cues presented 1)person does not have ability (intelligence, time) or motivation to think 2)message is not personally relevant 3)person is in positive mood (If the cues are appealing) the resulting attitudes are changed -- but are: weak not resistant to counterarguments not predictive of behavior
The Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986) Will a person think through (and be likely to elaborate on) a persuasive message? Use central route if: Person focuses on arguments presented 1) person has ability (intelligence, time) and motivation to think/need for cognition (personality characteristic) 2) message is personally relevant 3) person in neutral or negative mood (If arguments are strong) the resulting attitudes are: strong resistant to counterarguments predictive of behavior
Examples of the use of central route: Non-fiction books
WHO SAYS WHAT TO WHOM? It’s source (who says it) It’s nature (how it is said) Audience characteristics (to whom is it said) credibility: expert and trustworthy logical versus emotional appeals self-esteem attractivenessstatistical evidence versus a vivid personal example prior experience of the audience one-sided versus two-sided arguments the order of presentation What factors can affect the effectiveness (persuasiveness) of a communication?
WHO: Credibility Expert – Have comprehensive knowledge or skill in an area – above/beyond what is typical Trustworthy – Be honest and truthful – Argue against own self- interest – Appear that you are not trying to influence and you will reduce resistance to the message
WHO: Attractiveness Have an overall likability – physical and personality qualities We assume that attractive people have desirable, worthy, appealing messages But we are persuaded only on trivial issues – This occurs even if intent to persuade is known
Luntz’s “words” affect politics and policy “death tax” versus “estate tax” “tax relief” versus “tax cuts” “war on terror” versus “war in Iraq” “climate-change” versus “global warming”
WHAT: Logical versus emotional Have similarities with central versus peripheral route Overall emotional appeals are more effective More educated folks more likely to respond to logic Persuaders use classical conditioning We associate product with positive experience
Fear + instructions of how to change is more persuasive High self esteem folks respond with immediate action Low self esteem folks respond with delayed action
WHAT: Statistical evidence versus vivid personal example Overall: The single, vivid personal example is the winner – This is not logical! – But the more vivid (strong, clear images) the example, the more persuasive it is “You would have a hole in your wall the size of a basketball!”
WHAT: One-sided versus two-sided arguments Effectiveness of approach depends on: initial position of audience knowledge of audience One-sided best if “preaching to the choir” Two-sided best if audience is opposed or will be / already is aware of both sides
Data is collected on you when you are on social websites and when you “Like” or “Recommend” from any other website
WHAT: The order of presentation Primacy effect: first info is more persuasive Recency effect: last info is more persuasive Which one occurs? Depends on timing. 1. Between first and last message 2. Between last message and actual decision
The Order of Presentation Learning of first material interferes with / inhibits learning of later material Retention is best for information just prior to decision
TO WHOM: Self-esteem People who have low self-esteem are more easily influenced compared to people with high self-esteem
TO WHOM: Prior experience of the audience (frame of mind) More receptive / persuaded if: well fed, relaxed, in good mood Less receptive / persuaded if: forewarned, especially if message differs from beliefs we feel reactance: when our sense of freedom is threatened and we need to restore it we have time, cognitive capacity to develop counterarguments experience an inoculation effect: are exposed to small doses of arguments against own position, are now more immune to later attempts we more motivated to defend our beliefs we gain practice in defending beliefs
Effects of TV Watching American average: more than 7 hours/day; 30 hours/week; 1500 hours/year watched Heavy viewers (defined as more than 4 hours/day and compared to viewers of less than 2 hours/day): Express more racially prejudiced attitudes Overestimate number of doctors, lawyers, athletes Perceive women as limited in abilities and interests Believe violence is more prevalent than it is Are less happy Are more likely to have a dispositional view about crime