Persuasion header image
The Nature of Attitudes and Persuasion

The Yale Approach

Congruity Theory

Cognitive Dissonance Theory

Social Judgment/ Involvement Theory

Information Integration Theory

Theory of Reasoned Action

Elaboration Likelihood Model


The Nature of Attitudes and Persuasion

What is Persuasion?
Why Study Persuasion?
Persuasion as an Alternative to Apathy or Coercion
The Nature of Attitudes
The Process of Persuasion
Additional Readings
Self Test

What is Persuasion?
Persuasion is, quite simply, the use of messages to influence an audience. The messages that make up persuasive discourse are instrumental, or means to ends or goals of the persuader. Companies use persuasion in the form of advertising to convince consumers to buy their products or services. Students use persuasion to convince their parents to increase their allowance, or let them go to see a particular movie, or to let them use the car. Parents can use persuasion to get their children to study or to clean up their rooms. People use persuasion to get their friends to go to see a certain movie, or a band, or to hang out at the mall. Persuasion can convince another person to go out on a date. It can convince a teacher to accept a paper after the due date. Of course, people can also use threats to get what they want, but that is not persuasion. In persuasion, we try to convince the audience that they should want to do what we want them to do--not that they should do it “or else.”

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