The Dynamics of Persuasion: Communication and Attitudes in the 21st Century

The Dynamics of Persuasion: Communication and Attitudes in the 21st Century

The Dynamics of Persuasion: Communication and Attitudes in the 21st Century

The Dynamics of Persuasion: Communication and Attitudes in the 21st Century

Synopsis

This completely revised second edition of the best-selling text presents an up-to-date, comprehensive introduction to persuasive communication and attitude change. Employing the same organizational strategy he used in the first edition but offering more applications and fresh examples, Richard Perloff systematically explores the impact of persuasive communications on attitudes toward a host of topics spanning health, politics, and racial prejudice. This text will: *enhance students' understanding of persuasion theories and research; *introduce readers to the social science perspective on persuasion; *expose students to major issues discussed in the field of persuasion research; *help students appreciate complexities and subtleties in the dynamics of everyday persuasion; and *raise consciousness about the ethics of contemporary persuasion. Part I introduces students to the ubiquity of persuasion, how it is defined and differentiated from related terms, and the meaning of core concepts like attitude, belief, and value. Perloff combines a discussion of major concepts, such as balance theory, accessibility, and the theory of reasoned action with application of these concepts to numerous situations in everyday life, including the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, body art, religion, abortion, and AIDS prevention. Part II of the book explores communication and attitude change. Contemporary theories, such as the Elaboration Likelihood Model, the Extended Parallel Process Model, and Cognitive Dissonance Theory are discussed in detail. Students and professors will find an up-to-date discussion of research generated by these theories, coupled with criticisms of theoretical perspectives. Part III of the book examines advertising and communication campaigns. After introducing students to advertising--using well-known advertising slogans and motifs--Perloff debunks subliminal advertising and describes major theories of advertising effects. Written for the upper-undergraduate level, The Dynamics of Persuasion is appropriate for courses in the social sciences, notably communication, speech, journalism, psychology, marketing, and sociology.

Excerpt

Writing a second edition has different challenges and joys than preparing the first edition of a book. The second time around, one has the benefit of looking over the work one has done; a skeleton is in place. Initially, one also feels like an alter ego to one's self, worrying, wondering, and bemused, curious whether one's voice the second time around has changed, and daunted by the sheer volume of work that must be done.

In the end, though, it turned out to be very rewarding to write this book, as I realized that I had the opportunity to express the ideas that had been percolating in my mind since the first edition came out in 1993. I also had the chance to reflect, as best as I could, on changes that have occurred in the world and the academic study of persuasion since 1993. It was a challenging, stimulating opportunity, and I thank Lawrence Erlbaum Associates for giving me this shot at revising and modernizing The Dynamics of Persuasion.

Obviously, a great deal has happened in our world, from the events of September 11, 2001 to Bill Clinton's impeachment to O. J. Simpson. The Internet, not a force to be dealt with (persuasively speaking) in ′93, is a major player in the media landscape today, as are multiple cultural and lifestyle changes that have implications for the study of persuasive communication. In academia, the major models that dominated the field in the early ′90s are still dominant today. However, much research on attitudes, cognitive processing, fear appeals, advertising, and communication campaigns has been conducted, requiring a new book that incorporates the findings and their practical applications. I suppose I have changed as well. As one gets older, one is more attuned to the ways in which research fits into the giant trajectory of life—the big picture of society and human nature. Thus, the second edition places more emphasis on appreciating the role that theory and research play in persuasion as it occurs in American society, as well as on ethical implications of ideas and research.

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