COMM 339 -- Persuasion

Dr. Lee McGaan  

  Office:  WH 308  (ph. 309-457-2155);  email
  Home:  418 North Sunny Lane (ph. 309-734-5431, cell 309-333-5447)

Fall 2016 Office Hours:   MWF:  9:30 - 10am, 11am - Noon & 1 -2pm TTh:  2-3pm & by apt.  |  copyright (c) by Lee McGaan, 2006-2016

Message Strategies - Persuasive Appeals


1.      Packaging and Heuristics (AP 17) - coding for favorable audience inferences

  Elements:dress for success, include many arguments -> quantity of arguments =strength of argument,laugh and applause tracks, buzz words & PC


  Thereís little time to think

  Overloaded with information

  Issue isn't very important

  Little information is generally available

   When heuristic comes quickly to mind ("If it doesn't fit, you must acquit.")

2.      Self-persuasion (AP18) - getting people to generate arguments for your position is effective


3.      Vividness (AP 19)emotionally involving, concrete imagery, immediate/personal support works best


4.      Repetition (AP 20) -

1.      greater familiarity tends to make the item seem more attractive and truthful

2.      repetition with variation (in ads) is best(avoids a sleeper effect)


5.      Use distraction (to prevent formation of counter-arguments)[ songs and jingles,add artsy stuff, skin, fast motion] AP 21

1.      but don't distract the audience from your points

2.      works best with weaker arguments - strong arguments may become less effective with distractions

1.      "If you want an inch, ask for a mile (sometimes) AP 22

1.      ask for a lot when source credibility is high

2.      ask for a moderate change (social judgment theory) when sources credibility is not esp. high


2.      One side or two?(AP 23)

1.      Use two sides for more knowledgeable audiences and refute opponents view (inoculate)

2.      Use one side for audiences already firmly on your side

3.      Use two sides for audiences somewhat opposed

4.      If you are the leader, maybe you donít want to give the competition free publicity

5.      In message dense environments, go one-sided, since weighting arguments isnít going to occur anyway.


3.      Reveal your thesis early on or not?

1.      If thereís a chance your point will be missed or confused, reveal early

2.      If you are confident the audience will turn off if they know your position, withhold thesis until later

3.      But remember, sometimes people respect a messenger who is forthright in opposing them if he is respectful


4.      Fear - more is better if ...(AP 24)

1.      message contains specific recommendations to avoid threat

2.      the recommendation is perceived as effective

3.      the receiver believes that he/she can follow the recommendation


5. The Granfalloon (AP 25) -- creating the (artificial) in-group / out-group

1.      reference groups

2.      co-option

1.    Guilt (AP 26) -It channels perceptions (sympathy for "victims," focus on restitution, general motivation to act)


2. One flower given - the principle of reciprocity ( AP 27) -- variations

1.      door in the face (getting rejected for an extreme requestserves as the set up for a moderate one)

2.      car dealer lowers price on accessories


3.  Get commitment - esp. in public†† (AP 28)

1.      use response set bias (a series of yes answers)

2.      fill out the form for info purposes only

3.      indicate in public support for the cause


4.      Practice What You Preach  -- The Use of Hypocrisy  (AP 29

1.  Denial as dissonance reduction is likely when we don't want to change behavior (e.g. "safer sex")
2.  To overcome denial, arranging for "self-persuasion" may be the most effective alternative.
3.  Thus, setting up a situation in which hypocrisy is the consequence of denial creates additional dissonance, especially when teamed with "public commitment," and may yield reduction in the persuader's preferred direction.


5.  Scarcity sells (AP 30)

1.      Limited time and availability ("...only 295 firing days") and

2.      phantoms("If product X is best but not available maybe you should consider the next most similar product." )

        This channels perceptions of what is desirable.