The seventh edition of this field-leading textbook provides an accessible and rigorous presentation of major theories of persuasion and their applications to a variety of real-world contexts.
In addition to presenting established theories and models, this text encourages students to develop and apply general conclusions about persuasion in real-world settings. Along the way, students are introduced to the practice of social influence in an array of contexts (e.g., advertising, marketing, politics, interpersonal relationships, social media, groups) and across a variety of topics (e.g., credibility, personality, deception, motivational appeals, visual persuasion). The new edition features expanded treatment of digital and social media; up-to-date research on theory and practice; an increased number of international cases; and new and expanded discussions of topics such as online influencers, disinformation and 'fake news,' deepfakes, message framing, normative influence, stigmatized language, and inoculation theory.
This is the ideal textbook for courses on persuasion in communication, psychology, advertising, and marketing programs. Instructors can also use the book’s downloadable test bank, instructor’s manual, and PowerPoint slides in preparing course material.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Why Study Persuasion?
Aims and Goals
Persuasion is not a Dirty Word
Persuasion is Our Friend
The Pervasiveness of Persuasion: You Can Run but You Can’t Hide
Online Persuasion: Please Like, Follow, or Share Me
Keeping it Real: Authenticity is Key
Mega and Micro Influencers
The Digital Downside: Ignominies of Influencers
Tipping Points, Viral Marketing, and Word of Mouth
Orchestrating the Next Big Thing
Infectious or Inexplicable?
Nudges: Sometimes Less Is More
eWOM: Digital Buzz
Sponsored Content and Advertorials: The Native Advertisers Are Getting Restless
Opinion Mining and Sentiment Tracking: I Feel You
Gamification: You’ve Got Game
Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding: Hive Mind and Hive Money
Persuasive Technology: My Heart Says Yes, but My Watch Says No
Persuasion in the Sciences
Persuasion in the Arts
Other Not-So-Obvious Contexts for Persuasion
Persuasion in Interpersonal Settings
Five Benefits of Studying Persuasion
The Instrumental Function: Be All That You Can Be
The Knowledge and Awareness Function: Inquiring Minds Want to Know
The Defensive Function: Duck and Cover
The Debunking Function: Puh-Shaw
Well-Being and Self-Worth: I Feel Good
Two Criticisms of Persuasion
Does Learning About Persuasion Foster Manipulation?
Are Persuasion Findings Too Inconsistent or Confusing?
Ethical Concerns about the Use of Persuasion
Chapter 2: What Constitutes Persuasion?
Pure Versus Borderline Cases of Persuasion
Limiting Criteria for Defining Persuasion
Free Will and Conscious Awareness
Interpersonal Versus Intrapersonal
A Model of the Scope of Persuasion
The Context for Persuasion
A Working Definition of Persuasion
So what isn’t Persuasion?
Dual Processes of Persuasion
The Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion
The Heuristic Systematic Model of Persuasion
The Unimodel of Persuasion
Chapter 3: Attitudes and Consistency
What is an "Attitude" in 20 Words or Less?
So how Do You Measure the Durn Things?
Explicit Measures: Self-Report Scales
Semantic Differential Scales
Visually Oriented Scales Pitfalls in Measuring Attitudes
Implicit Measures: What’s Rattling Around Inside Your Brain?
Implicit Association Test (IAT)
Other Implicit Measures
More Roundabout Ways of Measuring Attitudes
Judging a Book by Its Cover—Appearances
Birds of a Feather—Associations
You Are What You Do—Behavior
Physiological Measures of Attitude
The Reasoned Action Approach (RAA)
Behavioral Beliefs and Attitudes: Believe It or Not
Normative Beliefs: It’s What the Cool Kids Are Doing
Perceived Behavioral Control: I Got This
The Persistence of Attitudes
Attitudes as Associate Networks: Your Mind is a Web
Manufacturing Favorable Associations: Jiggling the Web
Brands and Branding: That’s the Life
Who Are You Wearing? Brand Personality
Authenticity: Keeping It Real
Cause-Related Marketing: The Feel-Good Factor
The Inner Peace of Consistency
Methods of Maintaining Consistency
Marketing Strategies: How to Have Your Cake and Eat It Too
Brand Loyalty: Accept No Substitute
Write and Tell Us Why You Love This Book in 24 Words or Less
Capitalizing on Inconsistency
Cognitive Dissonance Theory (CDT)
Cognitive Dissonance and Buyer’s Remorse
Polarization of Alternatives
Cognitive Dissonance, Self-Image, and Culture
Factors That Affect the Magnitude of Dissonance
Dissonance and Persuasion: Putting It All Together
Forbidden Fruit: Psychological Reactance
Counterattitudinal Advocacy: Playing Devil’s Advocate
I’m All in: Increasing Commitment
Commitments Can "Grow Legs"
Throwing Good Money After Bad
Chapter 4: Credibility
Celebrity Selling Power: The Answer is in the Stars
Sell-ebrities: How Do They Do It?
Catch a Falling Star
What is Credibility?
Credibility Is a Receiver-Based Construct
Credibility Is a Multidimensional Construct
Credibility Is a Situational/Contextual Phenomenon
Credibility Is Dynamic
The Ingredients of Credibility
Primary Dimensions of Credibility
Secondary Dimensions of Credibility
The Factor Analytic Approach and the Real World
Credibility as a Peripheral Cue
It’s what’s Up Front that Counts
The Sleeper Effect
Credibility and Image Management
Interpersonal Credibility, Impression Management, Facework, and Accounts
Strategies for Enhancing Credibility: Get Your Mojo Working
Chapter 5: Communicator Characteristics and Persuasion
Demographic Variables and Persuasion
Age and Persuasion: Pretty Please With Sugar on Top
Gender Differences and Persuasion: The Times, They Aren’t a-Changin’
Ethnicity, Culture, and Persuasion: "Me" and "We" Perspectives
Intelligence and Persuasion: Dumb and Dumber
Psychological and Communication States and Traits
Self-Esteem and Persuasion: Feelin’ Kinda Low
Anxiety and Persuasion: Living in Fear
Preference for Consistency: I Wouldn’t Change a Thing
Self-Monitoring and Persuasion: Periscope Up
Ego Involvement: Not Budging an Inch
Persuasion by Degrees
Changes in Attitude, Changes in Latitude
Assimilation–Contrast Phenomenon: The Great Divide
Baby Steps: Nudging Someone Along
Issue Involvement: What’s This Have to Do With Me?
Dogmatism, Authoritarianism, and Social Vigilantism: You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
Narcissism: How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways
Cognitive Complexity and Need for Cognition
Persuasion and Aggression: Sticks and Stones
Analyzing and Adapting to Audiences
Pay Attention to the Situation
Keep Your Audience’s Mind in Mind
Remember the Importance of Audience States and Traits
Don’t Forget About Audience Demographics
Chapter 6: Conformity and Influence in Groups
Conformity as Persuasion: In with the Crowd
In the Beginning: Early Research on Conformity Effects
Variables Related to Conformity
Does Group Size Affect Conformity? The More the Scarier?
Security in Numbers: The Effect of More Than One Dissenter
Emotional Reaction of the Majority: Foaming at the Mouth
Moral Conviction: Wrong Is Wrong?
Indoctrination: Intense Initiations and Mindless Membership
Identification and Conformity: You’re My Kind of People
Social Proof: Using the Sheep Factor to Persuade Others
Descriptive versus Injunctive Norms: It Is What It Is, but Should It Be?
Ostracism: Shuns and Guns
Deindividuation, Social Loafing, and Social Facilitation: Getting Lost in the Crowd
What a Riot: An Examination of Deindividuation
Social Loafing: Not Pulling Your Own Weight
Social Facilitation: Would You Rather Be Alone?
How Groups Affect Decision Making: To Risk or not to Risk
Chapter 7: Language and Persuasion
Symbols, Meaning, and Persuasion: The Power of Babble
Connotative and Denotative Meaning: That’s Not How I See It
Ultimate Terms: Speak of the Devil
Aphorisms and Familiar Phrases: That Rings a Bell
Metaphors: One and the Same
The Power of Names and Labeling
Euphemisms and Doublespeak: Making the Worse Appear the Better and Vice Versa
Language Intensity, Vividness, and Offensiveness
##@!!!!##: Profanity and Persuasion
The Effects of Vividness: A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words
Powerless Language and Persuasion: Um’s the Word
Chapter 8: Nonverbal Influence
The Direct Effects Model of Immediacy
Types of Nonverbal Communication
Kinesics: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Knees and Toes
The Eyes Have It
From the Neck Down: Persuasion and Body Language
Haptics: Reach Out and Touch Someone
Keep Your Distance? Proxemics and Persuasion
Chronemics: All Good Things to Those Who Wait?
Artifacts and Physical Features of the Environment: Dress for Success
Physical Appearance: Of Beauties and Beasts
Paralinguistics and Persuasion: Pump Up the Volume?
Chapter 9: Structuring and Ordering Persuasive Messages
Implicit and Explicit Conclusions: Let Me Spell it Out For You
Gain-Framed Versus Loss-Framed Messages: Keep on the Sunny Side?
Quantity Versus Quality of Arguments: The More the Merrier?
The Use of Evidence: The Proof’s Not in the Pudding
Repetition and Mere Exposure: You Can Say that Again
Order Effects and Persuasion: First Things First
Primacy and Recency Effects: The First Shall be Last, and the Last Shall be First
An Ounce of Prevention: Inoculation, Message-Sidedness, and Forewarning
Inoculation Theory: Of Needles and Arguments
One-Sided Versus Two-Sided Messages: Both Sides Now
Forewarning: You’d Better Watch Out
Chapter 10: Compliance Gaining
Actions Speak the Loudest: A Definition of Compliance Gaining
In The Beginning: The Roots of Compliance-Gaining Research
Situation: The "It Depends" of Compliance-Gaining Behavior
Seeking Compliance From Strangers and Intimates
Power, Legitimacy, and Politeness
Who are You? Individual Characteristics and Compliance-Gaining Behavior
The Study of Compliance-Gaining Goals: Eyes on the Prize
How Goals Bring Meaning to Compliance-Gaining Situations: What’s It All About, Alfie?
Primary and Secondary Goals: Wanting and Eating Your Cake
Problems Facing Compliance Research: Trouble in Paradise
Compliance Gaining in Action: Seeing is Believing
Chapter 11: Sequential Persuasion
Pregiving: The Old "I’ll-Scratch-Your-Back-if-you’ll-Scratch-Mine" Approach
Why Is the Pregiving Tactic Persuasive?
Foot in the Door: The "Give-Me-An-Inch-And-I’ll-Take-A-Mile" Tactic
Why Is a Foot in the Door So Persuasive?
When Does a Foot in the Door Work?
The Door-In-The-Face Tactic: "Ask for the Stars"
Why Is a Door in the Face So Persuasive?
When Does a Door in the Face Work?
The That’s-Not-All Tactic: Seeking Compliance by Sweetening the Deal
The Low-Ball Tactic: Changing the Deal
Why Lowballing Works
"Sorry, We Don’t Have any More of those in Your Size, But …": The Bait-And-Switch Tactic
The Disrupt-Then-Reframe and Pique Techniques: I’m so Confused
Legitimizing Paltry Contributions: Even A Penny Will Help
The Evoking Freedom Technique: "… But You Are Free to Accept or Refuse"
Fear-Then-Relief and Happiness-Then-Disappointment Procedures: The Emotional Roller Coasters of Social Influence
Summary (And then Some)
Chapter 12: Deception
What is Deception? Lies and Damn Lies
Telling Lies: The Enactment of Deception
The Four-Factor Theory
Interpersonal Deception Theory
Criticisms of Theoretical Assumptions
What Makes a Liar Persuasive?
The "Wool Pullers"
Are Some Lies Easier to Tell Than Others?
Deceptive Situations and Deceptive Success
Detecting Deception: I Can See Right Through You
Factors That Influence Detection
Truth Bias: Presuming That People are Honest
"Look Me in the Eye": Stereotypes and Intuitions About Deception and Truthfulness
Training People to Be Effective Lie Detectors
Humans as Polygraphs
Familiarity, Biases, and Deception Detection
Probing and Deception Detection
Eliciting Cues to Deception: Puttin’ the Squeeze On
The Imposing-Cognitive Load Approach: Too Much to Think About
Strategic Questioning: Designed to Trip You Up
Chapter 13: Motivational Appeals
Intrinsic Versus Extrinsic Motivation
Emotion and Persuasion: Oh, What A Feeling!
Emotions and the ELM
Logical and Emotional Appeals: A Fuzzy Distinction
Anger: Getting Hot Under the Collar
Channeling Anger: Don’t Kick the Dog Because You’re Mad at Your Boss
Differential Appraisals: The Value of Righteous Indignation
Fear Appeals: If You Don’t Stop Doing that, You’ll Go Blind
The Stage Model: Scared Stiff
The Extended Parallel Process Model: Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself
Negative Emotions: Woe Is Me, Shame On You
Humorous Appeals: Stop Me If You’ve Heard this One
Humor as an Indirect Form of Influence: All Kidding Aside
But Is Humor Persuasive?
Maximizing Humor’s Potential
Pride and Patriotism: Turning Red, White, and Blue into Green
For Mature Audiences: Sex Appeals
Does Sex Sell?: Caveats and Cautions
Warmth Appeals: Straight from the Heart
Ingratiation: Polishing the Apple
Mixed Emotions: Other Appeals and Combinations of Appeals
Chapter 14: Visual Persuasion
Image is Everything
Overlooked and Under-Appreciated
The Power of Images: A Thousand Words
How Images Persuade
Iconicity: Bearing a Resemblance
Indexicality: Seeing Is Believing
Syntactic Indeterminacy: Don’t Look for Logic in Images
The Art of Persuasion includes Art as Persuasion
The Paintbrush Is Mightier than the Sword
Art and Social Change: I Must Protest
Awareness Through Interpretation
Awareness Through Participation
Cinematic Persuasion: Sex, Drugs, and Popcorn
Acting Out: How Movies Persuade
Exporting Values Abroad
Promoting Popular Culture
Modeling Behavior: Social Proof
Cultivation Theory: It’s a Mean, Scary World
Images in Advertising: And Now A Word from Our Sponsors
Visual Extravaganzas: Now You’ve Got My Attention
Anti-Ads: You Can’t Fool Me
Image-Oriented Advertising: Materialism as Happiness
Shock Ads: Edgy Images as Persuasion
Photojournalism as Persuasion: The Camera Does Lie
Playing Tricks With the Camera: Photographic Deception
Color as Persuasion: The Grass is Always Greener
Color Coded at Birth: Dyed in the Wool
Colorful Associations: A Blonde Walks Into a Bar …
Color and Branding: Big Blue, Red Bull, and Pink (Victoria’s Secret)
Color and Emotion: Mood Indigo
Women in White, Men in Blue
Color and Behavior: Hue Made Me Do It
The Color–Aggression Link: Men in Black
Subliminal Influence: Hidden Messages or Hokum?
The Laboratory Versus the Real World
What Is and Isn’t Subliminal
Subliminal Advertising: Much Ado About Nothing
Proof of Existence Is Not Proof of Effectiveness
Subliminal Priming: That Rings a Bell
Importance of a Prior Need or Drive
Not So Fast: Limitations of Subliminal Priming
Subaudible Messages: The Power of Suggestion
Backward Masking and Reverse Speech: Turn Me On, Dead Man
What Advertisers Really Do
Neurolinguistic Programming: The Emperor’s New Clothes
Music As Persuasion
Music as a Central and Peripheral Cue
Music and Branding: What’s That Song?
Mere Exposure Effect: Hearing Is Believing
Music as a Mnemonic Device
Background Music: Shop Till You Drop
Music Videos and Persuasion: Is Hip-Hop Harmful?
Prosocial Music: We Are the World
Weaponizing Music: What a Buzz Kill
Cautions: Face the Music
Aroma and Persuasion
Perfume: Romance in a Bottle
Ambient Aromas: Something Special in the Air
Aromas and Moods: Am I Blue?
Aromas and Task Performance: Smell That Productivity
Scent Marketing: Follow Your Nose
Caveats and Qualifications
Chapter 16: The Ethics of Persuasion
Is Persuasion in General Unethical?
The Motives Color the Means
Ethics, Culture, and the Issue of Central Versus Peripheral Processing
Ethical Questions that Can’t be Answered through the Study of Persuasion
Our Approach: Characteristics of Ethical Influence
Ethics and Our Model of Persuasion
Free Choice/Free Will
Language and Symbolic Action
Civility: Don’t Go Ballistic
Ethical Issues Arising from Previous Chapters
Ethics and Credibility
Ethics and Communicator Characteristics
Ethics and Deception
Online Deception: You Can Fool a Lot of the People a Lot of the Time
Ethics of Using Threats as a Compliance-Gaining Strategy
Ethics and Fear Appeals
Ethics and Emotional Appeals
Ethics and Ingratiation
Ethics and Visual Persuasion: Seeing is Believing
Ethics and Subliminal Influence
Robert H. Gass (Ph.D. University of Kansas) is Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies at California State University, Fullerton. His areas of expertise include argumentation, persuasion, social influence, and compliance gaining. Dr. Gass has published two texts and one edited text (with co-author John S. Seiter) and over 70 scholarly articles, book chapters, published conference proceedings, and professional papers. His text with John S. Seiter, Persuasion: Social Influence and Compliance Gaining, is the best-selling persuasion text in the field of communication studies. Among the awards he has received are Distinguished Faculty Member, Faculty Recognition Award for Scholarly and Creative Activity, multiple Annual Author awards, and Outstanding Scholarship and Creativity Award. He has also done consulting work for the California Dairy Council, the California Dietetic Association, and Caltrans.
John S. Seiter (Ph.D. University of Southern California) is Distinguished Professor of Communication Studies in the Department of Communication Studies and Philosophy at Utah State University. His research focuses broadly on persuasion and specifically on topics such as political aggression, effective approaches to compliance gaining, deception, nonverbal influence, and persuasion in hospitality contexts. His work has been recognized by over ten Top Paper awards at both regional and national conferences. He has coauthored and coedited several books, including Persuasion: Social Influence and Compliance Gaining (now in its seventh edition) and Nonverbal Communication in Political Debates. Previously, Dr. Seiter was recipient of his university’s Lifetime Achievement and Professor of the Year awards.