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Persuasion

 

Explanations > Theories > Persuasion

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Description

Persuasion occurs when a person causes someone else to change. The change may either be to their inner mental systems or to their external behavior. Inner systems include values, attitude, beliefs, schema, goals. The change may creation of something new, or extinguishing or modifying something that already exists.

Elements of persuasion include:

  • Intent: We usually persuade intentionally, but we can also accidentally persuade. In fact every interpersonal interaction causes a change to both parties.
  • Coercion: Coercion gains compliance, where behavior is changed, but without any internal commitment or change of inner mental systems (in fact these may be strengthened in the opposite direction).
  • Context: A changed behavior may be constrained to limited context.
  • Plurality: You can persuade one person or many people. You can even persuade just yourself.
  • Presence: You can be physically with the other person (allowing maximum communication) or communicating via such as the telephone or written words.
  • Media: Communication may be done via a range of media.

Inner systems are often held as networks of connected beliefs, etc. Persuasion often acts to break and redirect those interconnections.

A three part model of persuasion includes the source, message and target:

  • Communicator or source of the persuasion
  • The actual persuasive appeal
  • The target audience of the appeal

See also

Coercion, Yale Attitude Change Approach, Sequential requests

References

Gass and Seiter (1999)

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