” Persuasion- An Overview” by LibreTexts is licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA
- The sheer number of persuasive communications has grown exponentially.
- Persuasive messages travel faster than ever before.
- Persuasion has become institutionalized.
- Persuasive communication has become more subtle and devious.
- Persuasive communication is more complex than ever before (Perloff, 2003).
persuasion have kept up with the changing times and have found a number of persuasive strategies that help speakers be more persuasive.
Change Attitudes, Values, and Beliefs
value a college education or technology or freedom. Values, as a general concept, are fairly ambiguous and tend to be very lofty ideas. Ultimately, what we value in life actually motivates us to engage in a range of behaviors. For example, if you value technology, you are more likely to seek out new technology or software on your own. On the contrary, if you do not value technology, you are less likely to seek out new technology or software unless someone, or some circumstance, requires you to.
Dispositional beliefs, on the other hand, are beliefs that people have not actively engaged in but rather judgments that they make, based on their knowledge of related subjects, when they encounter a proposition. For example, imagine that you were asked the question, “Can stock cars reach speeds of one thousand miles per hour on a one-mile oval track?” Even though you may never have attended a stock car race or even seen one on television, you can make split-second judgments about your understanding of automobile speeds and say with a fair degree of certainty that you believe stock cars cannot travel at one thousand miles per hour on a one-mile track. We sometimes refer to dispositional beliefs as virtual beliefs (Frankish, 1998).
Theories of Persuasion
Understanding how people are persuaded is very important to the discussion of public speaking. Thankfully, a number of researchers have created theories that help explain why people are persuaded. While there are numerous theories that help to explain persuasion, we are only going to examine three here: social judgment theory, cognitive dissonance theory, and the elaboration likelihood model.
Social Judgment Theory
language is a great idea (latitude of acceptance, part (c) of Figure 17.1 “Latitudes of Judgments”). Still others are really going to have no opinion either way (latitude of noncommitment, part (b) of Figure 17.1 “Latitudes of Judgments”). Now in each of these different latitudes there is a range of possibilities. For example, one of your listeners may be perfectly willing to accept the idea of minoring in a foreign
language, but when asked to major or even double major in a foreign language, he or she may end up in the latitude of noncommitment or even rejection.
- Complete agreement. Let’s all major in foreign languages.
- Strong agreement. I won’t major in a foreign language, but I will double major in a foreign language.
- Agreement in part. I won’t major in a foreign language, but I will minor in a foreign language.
- Neutral. While I think studying a foreign language
can be worthwhile, I also think a college education can be complete without it. I really don’t feel strongly one way or the other.
- Disagreement in part. I will only take the foreign language classes required by my major.
- Strong disagreement. I don’t think I should have to take any foreign language classes.
- Complete disagreement. Majoring in a foreign language is a complete waste of a college education.
attitude change wasn’t possible and people slipped from the latitude of acceptance into the latitude of noncommitment or rejection. Figure 17.2 “Discrepancy and Attitude Change” represents this process. All the area covered by the left side of the curve represents options a person would agree with, even if there is an initial discrepancy between the speaker and audience member at the start of the speech. However, there comes a point where the discrepancy between the speaker and audience member becomes too large, which move into the options that will be automatically rejected by the audience member. In essence, it becomes essential for you to know which options you can realistically persuade your audience to and which options will never happen. Maybe there is no way for you to persuade your audience to major or double major in a foreign language, but perhaps you can get them to minor in a foreign language. While you may not be achieving your complete end goal, it’s better than getting nowhere at all.
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger, 1957). Cognitive dissonance is an aversive motivational state that occurs when an individual entertains two or more contradictory attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors simultaneously. For example, maybe you know you should be working on your speech, but you really want to go to a movie with a friend. In this case, practicing your speech and going to the movie are two cognitions that are inconsistent with one another. The goal of persuasion is to induce enough dissonance in listeners that they will change their attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors.
cognitive dissonance, you need to make sure that your audience doesn’t feel coerced or manipulated, but rather that they can clearly see that they have a choice of whether to be persuaded.
Elaboration Likelihood Model
Personal Relevance and Personal Involvement
Need for Cognition
need for cognition simply enjoy thinking about complex ideas and issues. Even if the idea or issue being presented has no personal relevance, high need for cognition people are more likely to process information using the central route.