Cover image for
Persuasive communication / James B. Stiff, Paul A. Mongeau.
Stiff, James B. (James Brian), author.
New York : The Guilford Press, [2016]
Third edition.
xvi, 383 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Other Authors:
Mongeau, Paul A., author.
1462526845 paperback

9781462526840 paperback


Material Type
Call Number
Book P301.5.P47S855 2016

On Order



Providing an accessible integration of theory and research methods, this text prepares students to critically analyze persuasive appeals and to design effective messages and campaigns. The book draws on key ideas from both communication and social psychology to explore the mutual influence of cognitive and affective processes and the characteristics and production of messages. It gives the reader a solid grasp of foundational issues in persuasion research, the core components of persuasive transactions, and major theoretical models. Instructive concrete examples illustrate applications of the concepts in such settings as health promotion, political campaigns, the courtroom, and advertising.

New to This Edition
*Engaging topic boxes on college drinking, attitudes about same-sex marriage, the "birther" movement, and other timely issues.
*New or expanded discussions of the integrative model of behavioral prediction, the use of guilt appeals, social media, individualized tailoring of political messages, and numerous other topics.
*The latest data and theoretical perspectives.
*Epilogue on current and future trends in the field.

Author Notes

James B. Stiff is Senior Director of Jury Consulting at The Focal Point, a national trial consulting firm.
Paul A. Mongeau is Associate Director and Professor at the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Fundamental Issues in Persuasion Researchp. 1
Chapter 1 Concepts, Definitions, and Basic Distinctionsp. 3
Defining Persuasive Communicationp. 4
Box 1.1 The Rise and Fall of Herman Cainp. 6
Considering the Attitude Constructp. 12
Box 1.2 How Are Attitudes Measured?p. 15
The Role of Attitude in Persuasion Researchp. 23
Summaryp. 30
Notesp. 30
Chapter 2 Methods of Investigating Persuasive Communicationp. 31
Commonsense versus Social Science Theoriesp. 32
Box 2.1 Conventional Wisdom on Trialp. 35
Scientific Methods of Persuasive Communication Inquiryp. 36
Box 2.2 Evaluating Experimental Treatmentsp. 42
Cumulating the Findings of Individual Investigationsp. 51
Summaryp. 54
Notesp. 54
Chapter 4 The Effects of Behavior on Attitudesp. 82
The CAA Research Paradigmp. 83
A Theory of Cognitive Dissonancep. 84
Box 4.1 Psychological Commitment in Relation to the Low-Ball Techniquep. 92
Box 4.2 Self-Perception and Fish Camp 95 Self-Perception Theoryp. 95
Arousal, CAA, and Attitude Changep. 97
Integrating Cognitive Dissonance and Self-Perception Theoriesp. 102
Applications of Cognitive Dissonance Theoryp. 105
Summaryp. 107
Notep. 108
Chapter 5 Cognitive Response Models of Persuasionp. 109
The Persuasive Effects of "Mere Thought"p. 111
Box 5.1 Mere Thought and Performance Evaluationsp. 113
The ELMp. 115
Box 5.2 Johnnie Cochran and the Peripheral Route to Persuasion 115 The HSMp. 127
Box 5.3 Assessing the Credibility of Witness Testimonyp. 129
The Unimodelp. 131
Summaryp. 132
Notesp. 133
Part 2 Components of Persuasive Transactionsp. 135
Chapter 6 Source Characteristics in Persuasive Communicationp. 137
Source Credibilityp. 138
Box 6.1 Credibility (Like Stock Market Investments) Can Be Here Today and Gone Tomorrowp. 143
Source Credibility and Attitude Changep. 144
Attributions about Message Sourcesp. 147
Box 6.2 Expectancy Confirmation and Familiar Speakersp. 149
Persistence of Credibility Effectsp. 152
Related Source Characteristicsp. 155
Box 6.3 Guilt by Associationp. 157
Summaryp. 162
Notesp. 163
Chapter 7 Persuasive Message Characteristics: Rational Appealsp. 164
A Note about Rational and Emotional Appealsp. 165
Rational Persuasive Appealsp. 165
Persuasive Effects of Evidencep. 166
Box 7.1 Politicians' Use of Statistical and Narrative Evidencep. 169
Box 7.2 "Birthers" Need No Evidencep. 172
Modeling the Effects of Rational Appealsp. 173
One- and Two-Sided Rational Appealsp. 178
Box 7.3 Contrast Advertisements in Political Campaignsp. 179
Filling in the Blanksp. 181
Summaryp. 182
Notesp. 183
Chapter 8 Persuasive Message Characteristics: Emotional Appealsp. 184
Fear Appealsp. 186
Box 8.1 Fear Appeals in Driver Training Classesp. 187
Box 8.2 Response Efficacy, Self-Efficacy, and Lung Cancerp. 195
Guilt and Persuasionp. 198
Box 8.3 Has Cognitive Dissonance Morphed into Reactive Guilt?p. 201
The Choice between Rational and Emotional Appealsp. 204
Summaryp. 205
Notesp. 205
Chapter 9 Receiver Characteristicsp. 207
Sex/Gender Differences in Persuadabilityp. 208
Box 9.1 Knowledge and Persuadability in Juriesp. 210
Message Discrepancy and Persuasionp. 212
Box 9.2 Source Derogation and Message Discrepancyp. 217
Receiver Involvement and Persuasionp. 223
Function Matchingp. 227
Summaryp. 228
Notesp. 228
Chapter 10 Characteristics of Persuasive Settingsp. 230
Traditional Modality Researchp. 231
Online Persuasionp. 234
Box 10.1 Social Media and the Arab Springp. 235
Persuasive Effects of Distracting Stimulip. 237
Persuasive Influences of Collectivesp. 243
Polarization in Group Decisionsp. 247
Box 10.2 Group Majorities in Jury Deliberationsp. 254
Summaryp. 254
Part 3 Persuasion Modelsp. 257
Chapter 11 Models of Interpersonal Compliancep. 259
Compliance-Gaining Message Selectionp. 260
Sequential Request Strategiesp. 262
Box 11.1 FITD and Political Campaign Contributionsp. 264
Box 11.2 The Prius Lowballp. 275
Summaryp. 277
Notesp. 277
Chapter 12 Producing and Resisting Influence Messagesp. 279
Goals, Plans, and Action in Interpersonal Influencep. 280
Box 12.1 Plan Complexity and Witness Testimonyp. 286
Message Design Logics and Message Productionp. 290
Resisting Influence Attemptsp. 293
Summaryp. 299
Notesp. 300
Chapter 13 Persuasive Communication Campaignsp. 301
Persuasive Communication Campaignsp. 302
Box 13.1 Microtargeting in Political Campaignsp. 310
Social Cognitive Theoryp. 311
Inoculation Theoryp. 318
Box 13.2 Refutational Arguments in the Courtroomp. 320
Box 13.3 Preemptive Refutation in Political Campaignsp. 323
Summaryp. 327
Notesp. 327
Epiloguep. 329
Referencesp. 331
Indexp. 369
About the Authorsp. 383