Theories of Persuasion

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PSYC 2016: COMMUNICATION PSYCHOLOGY

SEMESTER 2 2011 – 2012

Tutor: Mr. Carl King

Group Assignment 1

Carl-Anne Bradshaw - #409000685
Lianne Deukett - #408000368
Kavita Singh - #408003485

Introduction
Many times we listen to speeches or appeals that play on our emotions or cause us to deeply reflect and analyze ourselves, our beliefs and what we perceive as either right or wrong. This is the power behind persuasive speech. According to the University of Pittsburg, Persuasive speech is the most commonly used type of speech. The speaker should be able to connect with his/her audience. Therefore, the speaker should be aware of what the audience likes or prefers. The following paper seeks to explore some of the main theories surrounding persuasion. The three that will be discussed are Cognitive Dissonance, the Elaboration Likelihood Model and the Psychological Motivational Theory with special attention to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. These theories when explained in full will discuss the process behind persuasive writing or speech. These theories will be illustrated in the form of a political speech given by the fictional party the People’s Empowerment Party. This speech should help to simplify the main concepts of the theories and fully explore the possibilities behind persuasive speech. The theories are then linked to various topics present in the speech so as to give you, the reader, a clearer picture with examples of how these theories are put into play in everyday dialogue.

ELABORATION LIKELIHOOD MODEL
There are two ways we make decisions and hence get persuaded. * When we are motivated and able to pay attention, we take a logical, conscious thinking, CENTRAL ROUTE to decision making. This can lead to permanent change in our attitude as we adopt and elaborate upon the speaker’s arguments. * In other cases, we take the PERIPHERAL ROUTE. Here we do not pay attention to persuasive arguments but are swayed instead by surface characteristics such as whether we like the speaker. In this case although we do change, it is only temporary. * One of the best ways motivating people to take the central route is to make the message personally relevant to them. Fear can also be effective in making them pay attention, but only if it is moderate and a solution is offered.

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE
* The feeling of discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs. When there is a discrepancy between beliefs and behaviors, something must change in order to eliminate or something must change in order to eliminate or reduce this dissonance. HOW TO REDUCE COGNITIVE DISSONANCE

* Focus on more supportive beliefs that outweigh the dissonant belief or behavior. * Reduce the importance of the conflicting belief
* Change the conflicting belief so that it is consistent with other beliefs or behaviors. * Cognitive dissonance plays a role in many value judgments, decisions and evaluations. Becoming aware of how conflicting beliefs impact the decision-making process is a great way to improve your ability to make faster and more accurate choices.

PSCHOLOGICAL MOTIVATION THEORY
* People have physical and psychological needs
* These needs give rise to drive and a drive is what prompts us to action * Physical needs are the needs for food, shelter, etc.
* Psychological needs include the need for power, self-esteem, to belong, to achieve and for social approval. MASLOW’S HIERARCHY OF NEEDS
* Often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid. The lowest levels of the pyramid are made up of the most basic needs, while the more complex needs are located at the top of the pyramid. Needs at the bottom of the pyramid are basic physical requirements including the need for food, water, sleep and warmth. Once these lower-level needs have been met, people can move on to the next level of needs, which are for safety and security. * As people progress up the pyramid, needs become...
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