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Persuasion, Inducement and Coercion


Techniques General persuasion > Articles on persuasion > Persuasion, Inducement and Coercion

Persuasion | Inducement | Coercion | See also


There are many ways to change minds and many different descriptions of terms used. Simons et al. (2001) offers a division into persuasion, inducement and coercion.


Persuasion often intends to change minds through reason, influencing what is perceived as right and wrong, likely or unlikely and what might motivate other people. It may not use a direct request, but seeks to nudge the person towards making the desired decision for example by  providing persuasive information or stimulating needs. It hence uses intrinsic methods of motivation, seeking to change minds rather than just get people to comply with a request or act in a desired way.

Persuasion is a very interpersonal method as it has the greatest requirement for bonding with the other person, such that they believe what you say as much because it is you that is saying it as the logic of your arguments, though a rational argument may also be sufficient to persuade those who are influenced mostly by pure reason.


Aren't you tired of watching this channel?

I think you'd enjoy going to town.


The principle of inducement is to get people to do as you request by connecting desired actions with something that they want. It is in effect an exchange, where you say 'if you give me what I want, I will give you something that you want.' In this way, inducement is extrinsic as it connects how people behave with an external reward. It does not required that you change minds, and in so doing may be an easier and less skilled method.

In the principle of 'carrot and stick', inducement uses the carrot, offering some reward or pleasure in return for complying with a request. In this way, inducement and coercion are two sides of the same coin, even though the person doing the inducing may not think that this is what is being used.


If you let me watch another channel, I'll make you a cup of coffee.

I'll drive you if you come to town with me.


The principle of coercion is the 'nasty' reverse of inducement, where direct or indirect threats are used to get people to do what you want. Like inducement it is extrinsic as it uses an external motivator rather than seeking to really change the person's mind. It is even easier than inducement but requires that you have the power to cause the other person discomfort.

In the principle of 'carrot and stick', coercion is the stick, promising punishment or discomfort if the request is not complied with. This punishment effect may result in the person disliking you and perhaps seeking revenge even just for threatening them. This makes coercion the least desired method of motivation, although it has the ability to gain immediate obedience which can be very important, for example in an emergency.


If you don't change channel, I'm going to sit here and I won't be happy with you.

Come to town with me or I won't give you a lift home.

See also

Extrinsic Motivation, Intrinsic Motivation

Simons, H.W. with Morreale, J. and Gronbeck, B. (2001). Persuasion in Society, NY: Thousand Oaks, Sage


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