FORGAS AND WILLIAMS (2001:7) noted that:
The sophisticated ability of humans to influence, and be influenced, by each other is probably one of the cornerstones of the evolutionary success of our species, and the foundation of the increasingly complex forms of social organization we have been able to develop.
It is therefore not surprising that persuasion and influence are pervasive in human society. We meet these change agents many times every day, and in different guises. For example, Meyers-Levy and Malaviya (1999) showed how in the USA consumers are exposed to over 1,000 commercial messages daily (TV, radio and newspaper adverts, billboard posters, etc.) all aimed at encouraging the target to adopt a service, idea or product. At this level, the persuasion attempt is directed towards the masses. Consequently, a vast volume of literature has been produced in this field. Research into the effects of TV and radio advertising, health promotion campaigns, posters, PR interventions, and so on, has attracted enormous interest.
However, as noted by Cody and Seiter (2001:325) 'Scholarly interest in the process of persuasion has changed considerably in the last few decades from a focus on one-to-many influence attempts to the study of interpersonal or one-to-one influence attempts.' The main reason for this is the recognition that almost all exchanges between people involve some element of influence. Even in the most informal encounters, such