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Psychology Theories


Explanations > Academic Theories

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This is a big, big list of academic theories, hypotheses, or whatever you want to call them, that have some bearing on persuasion. Think they're not 'real world' stuff? Check out why these  explanations are real.

An alternative way of exploring them is through the clusters page, where they are grouped by general topic.

- A -

Acquiescence Effect

Acquired Needs Theory

Activation Theory

Actor-Observer Difference

Affect Infusion Model

Affect Perseverance


Ambiguity effect

Amplification Hypothesis

Anchoring and Adjustment Heuristic

Anticipatory Regret see Regret Theory

Appraisal Theory

Attachment Theory

Attachment Style


Attitude-Behavior Consistency

Attribution Theory

Automatic Believing

Augmenting Principle

Availability Heuristic

- B -

Balance Theory see Consistency Theory

Barnum Effect see Personal Validation Fallacy

Belief Bias

Belief Perseverance

Below-Average Effect

Ben Franklin Effect

Bias blind spot

Bias Correction

Biased sampling

Body language see Non-verbal Behavior

Bounded Rationality

Buffer effect of Social Support

Bystander Effect

- C -

Cannon-Bard Theory of Emotion

Cautious Shift see Risky Shift Phenomenon

Central Route see Elaboration Likelihood Model

Certainty Effect

Charismatic Terms see Ultimate Terms

Choice Shift see Risky Shift Phenomenon

Choice-supportive bias

Choice Theory see Control Theory

Classical Conditioning

Clustering Illusion


Cognitive Appraisal Theories of Emotion

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Evalution Theory


Communication Accommodation Theory


Confirmation Bias

Conjunction Fallacy

Consistency Theory


Contact Hypothesis

Control Theory



Conversion Theory

Correspondence Bias

Correspondent Inference Theory

Counter-Attitudinal Advocacy (CAA)

Counterfactual Thinking

Covariation Model


- D -



Devil Terms see Ultimate Terms

Disconfirmation bias


Dissonance see Cognitive Dissonance

Drive Theory

Durability bias

- E -

Ego Depletion

Elaboration Likelihood Model

Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis

Endowed Progress Effect

Endowment Effect

Epistemological Weighting Hypothesis

Equity Theory

ERG Theory

Escape Theory

Expectancy Violations Theory

Expectancy Theory

Explanatory Coherence

Extended Parallel Process Model

External Justification

Ethnocentric Bias see Group Attribution Error

Extrinsic Motivation

- F -

False Consensus Effect

False Memory Syndrome



Focusing Effect

Forced Compliance

Forer Effect see Personal Validation Fallacy

Four-factor Model

Filter Theory



Frustration-Aggression Theory

Fundamental Attribution Error

- G -

Gambler's Fallacy

Goal-Setting Theory

God Terms see Ultimate Terms

Group Attribution Error

Group Locomotion Hypothesis

Group Polarization Phenomenon

Group-serving Attributional Bias see Group Attribution Error


- H -

Halo Effect

Hedonic Relevance see Correspondent Inference Theory

Heuristic-Systematic Persuasion Model

Hostile Media Phenomenon

Hot Hand Phenomenon

Hindsight Bias

Hyperbolic discounting

- I -

Identifiable Victim Effect

Illusion of Asymmetric Insight

Illusory Correlation

Imagination Inflation see False Memory Syndrome

Imagined Memory

Impact Bias

Implicit Personality Theory

Impression Management

Inattentional Blindness

Information Bias

Information Manipulation Theory

Information Processing Theory

Informational Social Influence

In-Group Bias

In-Group Linguistic Bias see In-Group Bias


Insufficient Punishment

Interpersonal Deception Theory

Interpersonal Expectancy Effect

Interview Illusion

Intrinsic motivation

Investment Model

Invisible Correlation see Illusory Correlation


Ironic Reversal

- J -

James-Lange Theory of Emotion

Justification of Effort

Just-world phenomenon

- K -

Kin Selection see Prosocial Behavior

- L -

Lake Wobegon effect

Language Expectancy Theory

Law of Attraction

Lazarus Theory see Appraisal Theory

Leader-Member Exchange Theory

Learned Helplessness Theory

Learned Need Theory see Acquired Needs Theory

Least Interest Principle

Linguistic Inter-group Bias

Locus of Control

Looking-glass Self


- M -

Matching Hypothesis

Mental Models see Schema

Mere Exposure Theory

Mere Thought Effect

Minimum Group Theory

Minority Influence

Mood-Congruent Judgment

Mood memory

Multi-Attribute Choice

- N -

Negative Face see Politeness Theory

Neglect of probability bias

Non-Verbal Behavior

Normative Social Influence

Norms see Social Norms

- O -


Object Relations Theory

Operant Conditioning

Opponent-Process Theory.

Optimism Bias

Optimism Bias see Valence Effect

Other-Enhancement see Impression Management

Outcome Dependency

Out-Group Bias see In-Group Bias

Out-Group Homogeneity

Overconfidence Barrier

Overjustification Effect

- P -

Perceived Behavioral Control see Planned Behavior Theory

Perceptual Contrast Effect

Perceptual Salience

Peripheral Route see Elaboration Likelihood Model

Personal Construct Theory

Personal Validation Fallacy

Personalism see Correspondent Inference Theory


Persuasive Arguments Theory

Placebo Effect

Planning Fallacy

Planned Behavior Theory


Pluralistic Ignorance


Politeness Theory

Positive Face see Politeness Theory

Positive psychology

Positive Test Strategy see Confirmation Bias

Positivity Effect

Post-Decision Dissonance


The Pratfall Effect

Primacy Effect


Private Acceptance see Informational Social Influence

Propinquity Effect

Prosocial Behavior

Prospect Theory

Pseudo-certainty effect see Certainty Effect

Psychological Accounting

Public Compliance see Informational Social Influence

Pygmalion Effect see Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

- Q -

- R -

Rationalization Trap

Reactance Theory

Reasoned Action, see Planned Behavior Theory

Realistic Conflict Theory

Recency Effect

Reciprocity Norm

Regret Theory

Reinforcement-Affect Theory

Relative Deprivation Theory

Relationship Dissolution, see Terminating Relationships

Representativeness Heuristic

Repulsion Hypothesis

Restraint Bias

Risk Preference

Risky Shift Phenomenon


- S -

Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis


Scapegoat Theory

Scarcity Principle


Selective Exposure

Selective Perception

Self-Affirmation Theory

Self-Completion Theory

Self-Determination Theory

Self-Discrepancy Theory

Self-Enhancement see Impression Management

Self-Enhancing Bias see Self-Serving Bias

Self-Evaluation Maintenance Theory

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Self-Monitoring Behavior

Self-Perception Theory

Self-Protective Bias see Self-Serving Bias

Self-Regulation Theory

Self-Serving Bias

Self-Verification Theory

Side Bet Theory

Sleeper Effect

Small World Theory

Social Comparison Theory

Social Desirability Bias

Social Exchange Theory

Social Facilitation

Social Identity Theory

Social Impact Theory

Social Influence

Social Judgment Theory

Social Learning Theory

Social Loafing

Social Norms

Social Penetration Theory

Social Proof see Informational Social Influence

Social Representation Theory

Social-Role Theory

Sociobiology Theory

Source Credibility

Speech Act Theory

Spiral of Silence Theory

Stage Theory


Stockholm Syndrome

Story Model

Stimulus-Value-Role Model

Strategic Contingencies Theory

Subjective Norms see Planned Behavior Theory

Subliminal Messages

Sunk-Cost Effect

Symbolic Convergence Theory

Symbolic Interaction Theory

- T -

Terminating relationships

Theory of Mind

Three-factor Theory see Acquired Needs Theory

Transtheoretical Model of Change

Two-Factor Theory of Emotion

- U -

Ultimate Attribution Error

Ultimate Terms

Uncertainty Reduction Theory

Unconscious Thought Theory

Urban-Overload Hypothesis

- V -

Valence Effect

VIE Theory see Expectancy Theory

- W -

Weak Ties Theory

Wishful Thinking see Valence Effect

Worse-Than-Average Effect see Below-Average Effect

- X -

- Y -

Yale Attitude Change Approach

Youth Bias

- Z -


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