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Persuasion can be defined as

a process aimed at changing a person's attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs.

Persuasion research has shown that, due to similarity, a person will be more persuaded by

someone who is like them.

When people are presented with information and they are naturally analytical or the information is highly involving, they are likely to be persuaded via the ________________ route to persuasion. When people are not engaged with the information, or they tend to make snap judgments, they are more likely to be persuaded via the _______________ route.

central; peripheral

Which route to persuasion is more likely to produce lasting change?

The central route to persuasion.

Regarding one of the elements of persuasion, credibility pertains to

whether or not the message communicator is viewed as being an expert and someone who can be trusted.

Which of the following is not one of the four elements of persuasion, originally described by Karl Hovland, and used today in persuasion research?

the location of the communication.

What are the "two steps" in the two-step flow of communication?

First, persuade opinion leaders, who will then influence their friends, colleagues, and family members.

Persuasion research about the audience who receives the persuasive message has focused on what two aspects?

the age of the person and stimulating the thoughts of the person.

Which of the following is more likely to be persuasive?

a fear-arousing message.

The most effective fear-arousing message is one that

offers a solution to deal with the problem.

What is one technique that can be used to resist persuasion by others?

attitude inoculation.

Who was a pioneer in the field of attitude inoculation research?

William McGuire

One criticism of the studies on why people join cults is that those studies are subject to

the hindsight bias.

Cults are also referred to as

new religious movements.

Regarding persuasion of children, advertisers

focus on children because children are relatively easy to persuade and children can convince their parents to buy a product.

Initially, cults persuade prospective members to join the cult by inviting a person to dinner, then weekend retreats, and then use stronger methods of persuasion. This is similar to the

the foot-in-the-door technique.

Persuasion by others seems to work best when a person's attitude about something is

weak to begin with.

Analytical people who enjoy thinking carefully, show

a high need for cognition.

Which of the following is most likely to be the least persuasive?

A message that appears to be designed to change our attitude.

Which message is more likely to be persuasive?

A verbal message delivered directly from a person to another person in a face-to-face setting.


A change in behavior or belief as the result of real or imagined group pressure.


Conformity that involves publicly acting in accord with an implied or explicit request while privately disagreeing. see also conformity.


Acting in accord with a direct order or command.


Conformity that involves both acting and believing in accord with social pressure.

autokinetic phenomenon

Self (auto) motion (kinetic). The apparent movement of a stationary point of light in the dark.


A "we feeling"; the extent to which members of a group are bound together, such as by attraction for one another.

normative influence

Conformity based on a person's desire to fulfill others' expectations, often to gain acceptance or avoid disapproval (compliance).

informational influence

Conformity through being convinced (acceptance)


A motive to protect or restore one's sense of freedom. Reactance arises when someone threatens our freedom of action.

central route to persuasion

Occurs when interested people focus on the arguments and respond with favorable thoughts.

peripheral route to persuasion

Occurs when people are influenced by incidental cues, such as a speaker's attractiveness.


Believability. A communicator is perceived as both expert and trustworthy.

sleeper effect

A delayed impact of a message that occurs when an initially discounted message becomes effective, as we remember the message but forget the reason for discounting it.


Having qualities that appeal to an audience. An appealing communicator (often someone similar to the audience) is most persuasive on matters of subjective preference.

primacy effect

Other things being equal, information presented first usually has the most influence.

recency effect

Information presented last sometimes has the most influence. Recency effects are less common than primacy effects.

channel of communication

The way the message is delivered—whether face to face, in writing, on film, or in some other way.

need for cognition

The motivation to think and analyze. Assessed by agreement with items such as "The notion of thinking abstractly is appealing to me" and disagreement with items such as "I only think as hard as I have to".

attitude inoculation

Exposing people to weak attacks upon their attitudes so that when stronger attacks come they will have refutations available. (challenge their beliefs, help develop counter arguments) like a vaccine


Two or more people who, for longer than a few moments, interact with and influence one another and perceive one another as "us".

social facilitation

(1) Original meaning: the tendency of people to perform simple or well-learned tasks better when others are present. (2) Current meaning: the strengthening of dominant (prevalent, likely) responses in the presence of others.


Co-participants working individually on a noncompetitive activity.

evaluation apprehension

Concern for how others are evaluating us.

social loafing

The tendency for people to exert less effort when they pool their efforts toward a common goal than when they are individually accountable.

free riders

People who benefit from the group but give little in return.


Loss of self-awareness and evaluation apprehension; occurs in group situations that foster responsiveness to group norms, good or bad.

group polarization

Group-produced enhancement of members' preexisting tendencies; a strengthening of the members' average tendency, not a split within the group.

social comparison

Evaluating one's abilities and opinions by comparing oneself with others.

pluralistic ignorance

A false impression of what most other people are thinking or feeling, or how they are responding.


mode of thinking that persons engage in when concurrence-seeking becomes so dominant in a cohesive in-group that it tends to override realistic appraisal of alternative courses of action


The process by which certain group members motivate and guide the group.

task leadership

Leadership that organizes work, sets standards, and focuses on goals.

social leadership

Leadership that builds teamwork, mediates conflict, and offers support.

transformational leadership

Leadership that, enabled by a leader's vision and inspiration, exerts significant influence.


a consequently-shared standard for correct or appropriate behavior

Sherif's studies of the "autokinetic" phenom demonstrated how

quickly groups converge on arbitrary norms

Asch's line-length studies show

how much pressure norms can exert

1/2 Ways of conforming

outward compliance - just going along with it

2/2 Ways of conforming

inward acceptance - belief that its true

People only went up to 50 volts in the Milgram study, this shows that the shock was

a social force

Were the Milgram Studies ethical?

Probably not, but we learned a lot

What is the FAE of the Milgram study?

That people are evil if they shock, they could have just been confused

How did the legitimacy of the institution change the Milgram Study

At Yale it was perceived as official and more people went all the way, at the warehouse only a fraction went all the way

Group Unanimity

If even one other person gives the right answer, there's much less conformity

Going public vs Private

In public there's more conformity, in private there is less and they give more right answers

Group size and conformity

Larger groups increase conformity only up to 5 members

Having made a prior commitment

Decreases conformity

Trait of reactance

predicts less conformity

"Self Monitoring" (chameleon trait)

Predicts more conformity. ex. "How are they reacting to what I'm doing?"

When the issue is unfamiliar

The peripheral route is more persuasive, assumption that people are mentally lazy, used in advertising and politics

When the issue is insignificant or trivial

People are more easily persuaded. Something people don't care about, influence slips by

Ads sell things better with the words:

"quick, new, easy, improved, amazing or introducing" they don't even need a reference

What merchandise sells best while shopping

the one's at eye level, the one's at the end of the aisle or close to check out

Ads using these things sell better

animals, babies, sex, historical cartoons sell worse

Bundle Pricing

2 for $1 rather than 50 cents each, sells better even if there isn't a true price break

Saying this word boosts acceptance

"Because," it gives people a reason for the action

Can I have "37 cents" got more more money because

It implies a specific need, and breaks from the usual "automatic" response.

When are central routes the most persuasive?

When the issue is "important." It motivates person to consider options

Three factors manipulated by Richard Petty

involvement of the students (students told exam was within a year), credibility (students told whether arguments were from graduates or high schoolers), quality (students were given anecdotes or stats)

High involvement in an issue

requires strong argument to persuade

When students have a high stake in an outcome they are persuaded more by

strong arguments, not expert opinion

When students didn't have a stake in the graduation exam

expert opinions were most persuasive

Richard Petty's graduation exam can be explained by

assuming that people are "cognitive misers" who only think as much as they have to.

Petty's experiment depended on the combo of two or more factors or:

"interaction effects"

Route better for lasting change

Central, but its harder to pull off.

Influences on Persuasion: Source

the communicator, relies on credibility, expertise, trustworthiness, attractiveness

Influences on Persuasion: Message

the content, reason vs. emotion, discrepancy, one sided vs two sided, primacy vs recency

Influences on Persuasion: The medium

the channel, is it active or passive? is it personal or media based?

Influences on Persuasion: The audience

to whom is it addressed? are they analytical or image conscious. What age are they?

The majority of advertising budgets go to

The young, because they are the most easily persuaded

These groups are more easily persuaded

the distracted, the uninterested, the unprepared

To start your own cult:

1) Credible/attractive, 2) focus on the young middle class (rich watch for exploitation, poor have street smarts) 3) Use foot-in-the-door technique (don't ask them to join right away, escalate requirements slowly) 4) cut them off from their past (former relationships can persuade them back) 5) Use initiation rites (prove their worth, cog diss works in your favor)

How to inoculate children against advertising

Teach them about how advertising works

In addition to control humans also need to

belong (to groups)

Social Identity theory

We identify ourselves with our groups, ex. I'm a tiger, a athlete, an American

Emergent Properties

groups are more than just the sum of their parts, synergistic

Optimal distinctiveness theory (ODT):

Says that the need to belong and the need to be distinctive can conflict.

ODT solution

Get belongingness by connecting to the group, and distinctiveness by comparing the group to other groups.


favor of family members

Complex, less mastered skills

break down under pressure, taking us back to automatic habits

Simple task + audience =

better performance

Complex task + audience

worse performance

What causes break down under pressure?

(arousal) evaluation apprehension, ex. "What will they think of me" activates FFR

Social facilitation (current def.):

strengthening of dominant responses (automatic responses) when others are present

Diffusion of responsibility

others can do it, I can't get blamed if we fail as a whole

How to prevent social loafing:

One must be "tight" with other group members (strong sports team), the task must also produce lots of intrinsic motivation

When can a group be smarter than an individual?

When the task involves memory and knowledge, ex. estimating someone's weight

When can a individual be as smart as a group?

When the task involves thinking and decision making


when groups reach bad decisions through wanting to preserve harmony and not thinking critically

Symptoms of Groupthink

illusions invulnerability and morality, collective rationalism ("can you guarantee it won't crash?"), stereotyping the adversary, Group members sensor themselves, pressure on dissenters to conform, mind-guarding (somebody suppresses others info, keeps others in line)

High group Cohesiveness

contributing factor to groupthink, more feelings of "us" stop us from wanting to leave

High stress situation

contributing factor to groupthink, ex. time pressure

Directive (controlling) leader

contributing factor to groupthink, ex. Hitler

Insultation of group from outside opinions

contributing factor to groupthink, ex. 1984

When leaders strive to remain impartial

they prevent groupthink but not being too controling

When groups get outside opinions

they prevent groupthink, ex. a firm

How to change groups to prevent groupthink

break groups into subgroups

Getting opinions this way prevents groupthink

using secret ballots, people are more open with opinions

Last way to prevent groupthink

rethink group decisions through second chance meetings, prevents invulnerability

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