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Persuasive Writing
Persuasive Wrting Part 2
Persuasive Writing Part 3

  • Persuasion
    • Definition
      • A process in which a communicator seeks to elicit a desired response from the receiver.
    • People persuade themselves
    • 60 years of research

    Andersen, K. 1971. Persuasion: Theory and practice.

    Perloff, Richard M. 2017. The Dynamics of Persuasion:
    Communication and Attitudes in the 21st Century,
    6th ed.

    Persuasive communication

    • Clear, purposeful communication can
      • Influence behavior
      • Speed decision-making and action

    Persuasion Today

    • Persuasive communication
      • Has grown exponentially
        • Number
        • Reach
      • Is more complex and mediated
      • Has become institutionalized
      • Has become more subtle and devious
        • Organized effort to denigrate climate change science
      • Has gone digital — terse
        #BlackLivesMatter
      • Travels faster than ever
    • Attitudes
      • Learned tendencies that steer behavior in predictable ways
        • Not always rational
        • “Attitudes express passions and hates, attractions and repulsions, likes and dislikes.”
                                                                                         — Eagly and Chaiken (1998, p. 269)

      • Mental and emotional constructs that characterize people
      • Can only be inferred from people’s actions
      • Learned evaluations that influence thought and action
        • Categorize value and worth of persons, places, or issues
      • Acquired patterns of reacting to social stimuli
      • Related to values, beliefs, and opinions


      • Organize our social world
      • Shape perception
      • Influence judgments
      • Steer behavior
      • Some strong
      • Some weak and susceptible to influence
      • Some with inconsistent elements


    • Theory: Expectancy-Value Approach
      • Attitudes have two components, sometimes conflicting:
        • cognition (head)
        • affect (heart)
      • Attitudes are a combination of what you believe or expect of something and how you feel about these expectations.

    Martin Fishbein and Icek Ajzen, 1975

    • Attitudes & Behavior
      • Inconsistent attitudes (ambivalence) make most of us uncomfortable, so we seek consistency
        • Cognitive dissonance
      • In our society, consistency between attitude and behavior is valued
        • Inconsistency can be deemed hypocrisy



    • Balance Theory
      • Attitudes have inconsistent elements
      • People are uncomfortable with inconsistency
        • Opposed to gay marriage v. having gay family & friends
      • Internal pressure to balance inconsistent parts



    • Factors Moderating Attitude-Behavior
      • Situational factors
        • Situation has powerful effect due to social norms, roles
      • Characteristics of the person
        • Self-monitoring and direct experience
      • Qualities of the attitude
        • General or specific (attitude toward a behavior)

    Fazio & Roskos-Ewoldsen, 1994; Zanna & Fazio, 1982.

    • Behavior-Attitude and Persuasion
      • Target relevant beliefs about behavior
        • Offer evidence refuting opposing beliefs
        • Suggest alternative behaviors


      • Appeal to social norms
      • Target perceived behavioral control (you can do it!)
      • Use association techniques
      • Remind people of their attitudes


    • Effects of Persuasion on Attitudes
      • Shape
        • Includes socialization of pro-social values and attitudes
        • No. 1 is family, then education; strongest is experience
      • Reinforce
        • Effect of most campaigns
      • Change
        • Rare


    • Steps to persuasion
      1. Presentation
      2. Attention
      3. Comprehension
      4. Yielding    A  —>  B
      5. Retention
      6. Overt behavior

        • Say specifically what you want listener to do.
        • Agree with your solution


    • Speaker Credibility
      • Source credibility most important for persuasion
        • Speaker characteristics:
          • Trustworthy, expert, dynamic, similar, powerful, idealistic, good will (Ted’s Pig).

      • Trustworthiness is most important aspect
        • Perceived honesty, character, and safety
      • Expertise is the knowledge or ability ascribed to the communicator,
        • The belief the speaker has relevant skills or know-how.
      • Good will
        • Caring, listeners’ interest at heart, empathetic
        • An element of charisma
      • If you have low credibility:
        • Hard, specific facts
        • First-hand experience

    • Barriers to persuasion
      1. Selective exposure
      2. Selective attention
      3. Selective perception
        • Information is filtered through our belief system
      4. Selective retention
        • Key information must be clearly delivered and repeated
      5. Group norms
      6. Ego-involved attitudes

    • Many people
      • Fear uncertainty and doubt

    • Top

    Persuasive Writing, Part 2

  • Social Judgment Theory
    • Emphasizes people’s subjective judgments about social issues
    • Messages are not evaluated purely on the arguments’ merits
    • Attitudes serve as anchors; causing selective perception
      • People compare the advocated position with their own attitudes and decide whether to accept a message
        • Latitudes of acceptance, rejection, and neutrality
        • Assimilation and contrast (natural human bias)
        • Ego-involvement
    • Speaker must determine which positions fall within audience’s latitudes of acceptance and rejection.
      • Tailor or frame the message to fit existing attitudes


    • Elaboration Likelihood Model
      • Elaboration is the extent to which people think about arguments contained in communication
      • Likelihood refers to probability people will elaborate
      • People process communication in two  ways:
        • Central: Considerable cognitive elaboration
        • Peripheral: Heuristic, quick consideration of message

      • Central: Considerable cognitive elaboration
        • Use strong arguments
      • Peripheral: Heuristic, quick consideration of message
        • Heuristics: Simple cues such as applause, “likes”
        • Susceptible to unscrupulous appeals

    • ELM & Persuasion
      • Increase the personal relevance of the message
        • More likely message will be centrally processed
          • More lasting persuasive effects
          • More likely to remain open to cogent arguments
    • Types of persuasion
      • Reasoning based
        • Logical statements
        • Examples and evidence
      • Values based
        • Common goals and ideals
        • Framed ideas

    • Key Persuasive Message Factors
      • Message Content 
      • Message Structure
      • Framing
      • Language
      • Emotional Appeals

    • Message Content: Evidence & Attitudes
      • Changes attitudes especially when
        • attributed to highly credible source and
        • audience is highly involved
      • Unlikely to change
        • strong attitudes,
        • attitudes tied to self-concept
        • attitudes tied to core values
  • Message Content
      •  Evidence
        • Factual statements from a source other than the speaker
          • Quantitative information, opinions of credible sources, eyewitness statements, testimonials

    • Reasoning with logic
      • If-then
      • Cause-effect
      • Because
      • Cost-benefits


    • Reasoning with example, evidence
      • Use real or realistic statements
        • Examples
        • Prior experiences
        • Facts
        • Data
        • Observations
        • Quotes from experts
    • Top

      Persuasive Writing, Part 3

  • Fact-based arguments can fail
    • Reading information that undermines identity can trigger “feelings of anger and dismay,” making it difficult to accept new facts
    • Network of information justifying current perspective
      • New information must overwhelm old information
        • Often by integrating some of the old information
        • If not, persuasion fails or backfires
          • Old information burns “even more fiercely”

    The British Psychological Society, Research Digest,
    “Why is it so hard to persuade people with facts?”
    http://digest.bps.org.uk/2016/02/why-is-it-so-hard-to-persuade-people.html,
    from G. Trevors, et al. (2016). “Identity and Epistemic Emotions During
    Knowledge Revision: A Potential Account for the Backfire Effect,” Discourse Process

    Persuading with values
      • More subtle than reasoning-based persuasion
      • Trying to convince listeners to identify with you
      • Two forms:
        • Shared goals and ideals (research)
        • Frames
          • Frame from readers’ perspective
          • Emphasize facts that appeal to listeners’ sense of values

    Message Strategy

    • Communicating science to nonscientists
      • David Herring, science writer, director of communication, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration
      • Master’s degree in scientific and technical writing


    • Herring’s Observations (c. 2013)
      • Most communicators have tendency to tell publics all we know
      • Many publics not eager to be fed knowledge
      • Must be predisposed to accept the core assumptions


      • All publics
        • Overloaded
        • Distracted by immediate concerns
        • Trust what we already believe
        • Respond to emotions
        • Listen selectively and simplify
          • Filter and simplify


      • People
        • Filter and simplify based on
          • Values—important to connect with values
          • Emotions
          • Preconceptions
          • Past experiences
          • Trusted informants—actually sought out
          • World view
          • Others’ opinions
          • Culture


      • Public Opinion on Climate Change

    • Message
      • Start with what they value
      • Simple clear messages
      • Repeated often
      • From sources they trust

      • NOAA message
        • It’s real.
        • It’s us.
        • It’s bad.
        • And scientists agree we can solve it.

    • Frames
      • Make some aspects of a perceived reality more salient
        • Promoting a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, solution
      • Varying the way a message is framed can influence attitudes
        • Subtle but psychologically important variations
      • Call on the frames of the target audience
        • Use cognitive consistency to change attitudes
        • Messages should reaffirm their values
          • Conservatives: Gay marriage & patriotism
          • Liberals: Military spending & equality

    • Emotional Appeals
      •  1. Fear-Arousing Messages
        • Two elements: threat and efficacy information
          • Severity; susceptibility or likelihood; costs
          • Recommendation effectiveness; self-efficacy
        • Loss frame; gain frame
      • Do not always result in attitude change
        • Not scary enough: Really scare the audience
        • If too scary, can backfire
          • Fear avoidance

      • Guilt Appeals
        • Depends on empathy and efficacy


    • Rational or emotional appeals
      • Depends on personality, education of audience
      • Emotional appeals can work well, but source often forgotten
      • Combination best

    • Persuasion tactics used
      • Rational
      • Emotional
      • Fact-based reasoning
      • Values
      • Cause-effect
        • experiement
      • Cost-benefit
      • Example/evidence
      • Prior Experience
      • Facts
        • Reliable sources
      • Data
      • Observations
      • Quotes from experts
      • Call to action!

    End of Persuasuion Lecture




    Evidence, reasoning, values-based arguments used in examples
    (no quiz questions taken from this section)


  • Observations & data: Cosmos: The World Set Free
    • Greenhouse warming from volcanoes' carbon dioxide on Venus led to loss of oceans

    • Carbon dioxide (CO2) on Earth
      • Climate-regulating gas of our atmosphere
        • Delicate balance of CO2 in our atmosphere
          • < 3 molecules per 10,000
        • Temperature range for life as we know it
        • Regulated primarily by forests, inhale in spring, exhale in fall
      • Oceans and permafrost have stored carbon

      • Climatic record of carbon-dioxide levels
        • Annual layers of stored carbon in polar ice measured with isotope analysis
        • Unbroken record for 800,000 years

      • Carbon dioxide
        • Increase in CO2 can influence Earth's climate
          • Greenhouse effect, increased average temperatures

          • Bill Nye experiment, Climate Change 101
            • CO2 and causation

        Smithsonian.com,
        http://www.smithsonianmag.com/videos/category/3play_1/climate-change-101-
        with-bill-nye-the-science/?no-ist

      • Only seasonal fluctuations over 800,000 years
        • Volcanoes issue 500 million tons of CO2 per year
        • The amount in atmosphere never rose by more than 0.003% (3/100ths of 1%)
        • Since 1900, has risen 40%
      • Now in atmosphere, 30 billion tons of CO2 per year (500 million x 60)

        • Correlates with amount relased by burning coal, oil and gas
          • Distinct chemical signature at atomic level
            • Distinct from carbon released by volcanoes

      • No more than 300 parts per million in 800,000 years, until 1950
    • 2016 hottest year on record
      • Average temperature, land and sea, was 1.62°F above 20th century average
        • Fifth record set since 2000
        • Records set in Alaska and eastern states
        • Record warmth spread around world
    • 'Explosive' increase in CO2 in 2015
    • NOAA: CO2 reached record level in 2015
      • Rising more swiftly than in 100,000s of years
      • Increased by 3.05 parts per million
      • Record increase in 56 years of study
      • “It’s explosive compared to natural processes.”
      • Fourth consecutive year that CO2 increased by more than 2 ppm
      • Driven by El Nino and continued emissions
  • Sea Level Rise
  • Effects on us
    • Call to Action
    • “I think action [to reduce greenhouse gas emissions] is needed urgently, because we are on the precipice of a climate system 'tipping point.’

      “I believe the evidence shows with reasonable clarity that the level of additional global warming that would put us into dangerous territory is at most 1°C.”

      Professor James E. Hansen, 2007
      Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University
      http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/features/200711_temptracker/
      [On planet cooling, 1940-1970, in normal 100,000-year cycle
      but warming due to CO2 emissions]  

    • Solutions
      • Reduce carbon footprint
        • Reduce fossil fuel use
          • Coal, oil, gas
      • Upgrade infrastructure
        • 43% emissions
      • Move closer to work
        • 2nd leading cause
      • Consume less, unplug
        • From autos to bags
      • Be efficient
        • From autos to lights
      • Eat smart
        • Foods w/less impact
      • Save trees
        • Harvesting=20% emissions
        • Plant trees (store carbon)
      • Carbon tax
      • One child
        • 9.7 billion by 2050
      • Future fuels
      • Future Earth
        • geoengineering
    Top