Theories Of Persuasion

Topics: Social psychology, Cognitive dissonance, Leon Festinger Pages: 5 (2779 words) Published: April 17, 2015
Amanda Hammer
Persuasive Theory Application
April 13, 2015

The SMCR Model was created in 1949 by Shannon and Weaver and it is the most commonly used basic communications model. The basic sequence of the model is a source, a message, a channel, and a receiver. Communication starts with the source, or persuader, who encodes the message and then transmits it to the receiver. The message is what the source is trying to get the receiver to hear and understand. The message has to be translated into an encoded message between the source and the receiver. The goal is to provide an encoded message that the receiver can translate with reasonable precision. The medium through which the message is transmitted is called the channel. This can be done by controlled media or by a direct channel. Controlled media can include television ads or newspaper articles, and a more direct channel may include telephone or face-to-face contact. Channels that contain distracting noise make it harder for the receiver to decode the message. Messages are channeled through our five senses; hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, and tasting. The receiver, or persuadee, is the person at the end of the conversation who decodes the message sent by the source. The receiver often creates their own meaning of the message by eliminating channel noise. In theory this is a great model to reference for the process of communication, however there are many things that can cause problems in the message between the sender and the receiver. First, the message can be lost or distorted because the sender is not able to properly communicate their message because of poor communication skills. Second, external distractions interfere with the message or detract the source. The well-known game of Telephone is a great example of this. One person starts a message and by the time is reaches the last person the message is usually completely different than how it started. Language, gestures, and body language can also be a distraction when receiving a message. Finally, direct messages, such as talking to someone on the telephone, leave little room for misinterpretation because both the receiver and the sender provide immediate feedback. Messages in the form of emails, commercials, or flyers do not provide immediate feedback to the sender which leads the receiver to modify the message.

Inoculation is one way that people can avoid being influenced by persuasive messages. The inoculation theory was developed by William J McGuire in the 1960’s and it explains how and why people reinforce their beliefs and attitudes and how they maintain them in the long term.  In the persuasive text, inoculation is the practice of warning people of potentially damaging information or persuasive attempts that will probably happen in the future (Larson 110). Inoculation strengthens and reinforces existing attitudes. This is important in persuasive attempts because people are less likely to change their views in future persuasive attempts. What is intriguing about this strategy is that when a persuader acknowledges counterarguments or introduces negative information related to his or her own position, audiences are not only more likely to believe the speaker’s rhetoric but they are also less likely to entertain counterarguments or information in the future ( Woodward & Denton, Jr 64). The basis on the inoculation theory is to strengthen the preexisting beliefs and attitudes of people to prevent persuasion.  This is done when the persuader gives the receiver a warning about a future message in hopes that they will be resistant to the message. Inoculation works best when people are not knowledgeable about the topic being addressed or when people are young. People that are threatened by persuasion will strengthen their own existing attitudes and beliefs which will make them more difficult to be persuaded by counterarguments in the future. The...
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