Persuasion Theory Exam Study Guide
last updated 9/25/2016

 

    The exam will be composed of questions and topics taken from the material described below. Nothing will appear on the test that is not mentioned on this study guide.

 

1. If you are given a "persuasion moment" (like the homework and examples from the cards) be able to identify which persuasion theory best accounts for what happened or what might work. AND   explain why you selected the theory you did (i.e. mention elements of the theory that fit the persuasion moment).  [ I'll list the names of the theories we have covered on the screen or board during the exam -- but no descriptions of any of them.]   Tips

 

2. If you are given a persuasion theory, be able to offer a "persuasion example" based on that theory. Explain how the example fits the theory.  

The theories used on the test will be: COGNITIVE-RATIONAL THEORIES -- Rational Model and ELM; LEARNING THEORIES -- Hovland, McGuire and Identity-Emotive; CONSISTENCY THEORIES -- Balance theory (Heider), Congruency Theory and Cognitive dissonance (all 4 cases), PERCEPTUAL THEORIES -- Social Judgment Theory, Attribution Theory, and the Theory of Reasoned Action (Fishbein-Ajzen).

3. Discuss the concept, "Credibility is in the eye of the beholder."  List and explain at least five factors that research and theory show can enhance credibility and are consistent with the "eye of the beholder" idea.

 

4. Define the following terms:

     belief, attitude, value, motive, coercion, persuasion by degree (from Social judgment Th.), cognitions, charisma, legal/rational credibility, ad hominem [ < in your notes/ on web pages].
    
rationalizing, factoid, propaganda, Sophists, ethos, logos, pathos, framing, analogies, self-fulfilling prophecy, bandwagon effect, pre-persuasion, decoys, straw men, agenda setting, magic bullet theory, myth of rationality, cognitive response. [<-- in AP] .

5. Explain the ELM theory of attitude change. Describe what the "elaboration likelihood" concept means,  both routes, including how they differ and what accounts for which route recievers are using. (See AP 3 and theory notes) Give examples of contemporary persuasion efforts (e.g. advertising messages) which illustrate each route and explain how they illustrate ELM.

 

6. Explain (thoroughly) balance theory. Include in your answer a discussion of the ways imbalance can be overcome.

 

7. Explain (thoroughly) Bitzer's definition and his components of the "rhetorical situation" using an extended example (maybe one I give you, or maybe Ill ask you to construct an example of your own).

 

8. Explain how Fishbein-Ajzen's theory accounts for the lack of a reliable link between attitude toward the concept and behavior.

 

9. Offer your own definition of persuasion and explain how your definition regards the issues of choice, intent, mental change, and use of messages.symbols.

 

10.  Explain the key concepts of Festinger's Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (dissonance, consonance, irrelevance, cognitions).  How does it differ from Balance and Congruity Theories?  How does the concpet of "dissoance" explain the results found in the "forced compliance case (4) ?"

 

11. Describe at least two methods of PRE-PERSUASION as discussed in AP, chs. 6-11 explaining how they work as persuasive techniques.

 

12.  Imagine yourself, an MC college student, leading an effort to gain support from other MC students to register and vote in the 2016 presidential election. You will likely be giving speeches to student groups and recruiting supporters one-on-one. Describe how you would attempt to enhance your credibility (which is one of the four stratagems of persuasion mentioned in AP 5) with your fellow students.

 

13. Imagine yourself, an MC college student, leading an effort to gain support from other MC students to register and vote in the 2016 presidential election. You will likely be giving speeches to student groups and recruiting supporters one-on-one. Describe how you would use each of the OTHER THREE stratagems (i.e. not credibility) of persuasion in this rhetorical situation. Mention at least one pre-persuasion technique you would use.

[  The four stratagems of persuasion mentioned above in 9. and 10. are discussed in AP ch. 5.  they are:  Pre-persuasion, Credible Sources, Messages channeling receivers thoughts, and use of Emotions. ]