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Persuasion Techniques

The Psychology of Persuasion


Persuasion in Everyday Life

Every day we are confronted by persuasion. Food makers want us to buy their newest products, while movie studios want us to go see the latest blockbusters. Because persuasion is such a pervasive component of our lives, it is often all-to-easy to overlook how we are influenced by outside sources.

Due to the usefulness of influence, persuasion techniques have been studied and observed since ancient times, but social psychologists began formally studying these techniques early in the 20th-century. The ultimate goal of persuasion is to convince the target to internalize the persuasive argument and adopt this new attitude as a part of their core belief system.

Persuasion Techniques

These are just a few of highly effective techniques of persuasion. Other methods include the use of rewards, punishments, positive or negative expertise, moral appeal, and many others.

1. Create a Need

One method of persuasion involves creating a need or an appealing a previously exiting need. This type of persuasion appeals to a person's fundamental needs for shelter, love, self-esteem and self-actualization.

2. Appeal to Social Needs

Another very effective persuasive method appeals to the need to be popular, prestigious or similar to others. Television commercials provide many example of this type of persuasion, where viewers are encouraged to purchase items so they can be like everyone else or be like a well-known or well-respected person. Television advertisements are a huge source of exposure to persuasion considering that some estimates claim that the average American watches between 1,500 to 2,000 hours of television every year.

3. Use Loaded Words and Images

Persuasion also often makes use of loaded words and images. Advertisers are well aware of the power of positive words, which is why so many advertisers utilize phrases such as "New and Improved" or "All Natural."

The examples above are just a few of the many persuasion techniques described by social psychologists. Look for examples of persuasion in your daily experience. An interesting experiment is to view a half-hour of a random television program and note every instance of persuasive advertising. The amount of persuasive techniques used in such a brief period of time can be astonishing.

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