Persuasion : Social Influence and Compliance Gaining book cover
7th Edition

Social Influence and Compliance Gaining

ISBN 9780367528485
Published April 7, 2022 by Routledge
500 Pages 32 Color & 31 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $170.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

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

Über Influencers

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

Weird 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

Symbolic Action

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

Likert 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



Psychological Consistency

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

Marketing Inconsistency

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

Language Intensity

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

About Face

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

Theoretical Frameworks

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

Emotional Marketing

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

Viewer Identification

Perpetuating Stereotypes

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



Chapter 15

Color as Persuasion: The Grass is Always Greener

Color Coded at Birth: Dyed in the Wool

Colorful Associations: A Blonde Walks Into a Bar …

Seeing Red

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

Embedded Images

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

Love Stinks

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


Conscious Awareness

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




View More



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.