Persuasion in Society: Second Edition / Edition 2

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Persuasion in Society introduces readers to the rich tapestry of persuasive technique and scholarship, interweaving rhetorical, critical theory, and social science traditions. This text examines current and classical theory through the lens of contemporary culture, encouraging readers to explore the nature of persuasion and to understand its impact in their lives. Employing a contemporary approach, authors Herbert W. Simons and Jean G. Jones draw from popular culture, mass media, and social media to help readers become informed creators and consumers of persuasive messages.

This introductory persuasion text offers:

  • A broad-based approach to the scope of persuasion, expanding students’ understanding of what persuasion is and how it is effected

  • Insights on the diversity of persuasion in action, through such contexts as advertising, marketing, political campaigns, activism and social movements, and negotiation in social conflicts
  • The inclusion of "sender" and "receiver" perspectives, enhancing understanding of persuasion in practice
  • Extended treatment of the ethics of persuasion, featuring opposing views on handling controversial issues in the college classroom for enhanced instruction.
  • Case studies showing how and why people fall for persuasive messages, demonstrating how persuasion works at a cognitive level

Highlights of this second edition include:

  • An extensively revised approach, written with the needs of today’s undergraduate students in mind
  • Contemporary examples, selected for relevance, currency, and appeal
  • Updated discussions of theory and research, including cognitive psychology and neuroscience
  • Current illustrations from advertising, politics, social movements, propaganda, and other sources.

To reinforce the topics covered in each chapter, discussion questions, exercises, and key terms are included. Additional resources are available on the Companion Website (, along with materials for instructors, including supplements for lectures and sample exam questions.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415965149
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 3/8/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 584
  • Sales rank: 1,567,218
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Herbert W. Simons taught persuasion and related topics in communication at Temple University from 1960 until his retirement in 2007. He has served as Director of the National Communication Association Forum (NCA-F) and is currently on its Advisory Board. Recipient of the National Communication Association’s Distinguished Scholar Award, he has authored or edited eight books. A frequent media commentator, visiting professor, and guest lecturer, he directed Temple’s London Study Abroad program, lectured at Peking University and at other institutions in China, and served as a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Hong Kong and Jakarta.

Jean G. Jones is professor of communication at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, and has over two decades' experience studying, teaching, and writing about rhetoric and persuasion. Named Edinboro University's "Educator of the Year" in 2006, Jones also has an active life in politics, having run for office and served on her city council. Jones currently serves as president of her local faculty union, where she puts her persuasive skills into practice at the negotiations table, bargaining on behalf of the hundreds of professors and coaches she is elected to represent.

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Table of Contents

Part I: Understanding Persuasion

The Study of Persuasion

  • Why Study Persuasion?
  • Methods of Studying Persuasion
  • Toward a Definition of Persuasion
  • The Ethics of Persuasion
  • Summary
  • Questions and Projects for Further Study

The Psychology of Persuasion: Basic Concepts and Principles

  • Beliefs, Values, and Attitudes
  • A Preview of Theories
  • Persuasion by Degrees: Adapting to Different Audiences
  • BVA theory: Beliefs and Values as Building Blocks of Attitudes
  • From Attitudes to Actions and the Role of Subjective Norms:
  • The Theory of Reasoned Action
  • The Role of Emotion: Westen’s Critique of Expectancy-Value Theories
  • Priming Effects
  • "Two Systems" Theories
  • Persuasion as a Learning Process
  • Persuasion as Psychological Unbalancing and Rebalancing
  • Summary
  • Questions and Projects for Further Study

Persuasion Broadly Considered

  • The Globalized Rhetorical Hypothesis
  • "Persuasion" Versus "Non-Persuasion"— God terms and Devil terms
  • Preview to the Globalized View of Persuasion: Five Key Communication Principles
  • Impression Management as Persuasion
  • Deception about Persuasive Intent
  • Persuasion in the Guise of Objectivity
  • How Multiple Messages Shape Ideologies
  • Persuasion and Ideology: McWorld
  • Summary
  • Questions and Projects for Further Study

Part 2: The Coactive Approach

Coactive Persuasion

  • Using Receiver-Oriented Approaches
  • Being Situation Sensitive
  • Combining Similarity and Credibility
  • Building on Acceptable Premises
  • Appearing Reasonable and Providing Psychological Support
  • Using Communication Resources
  • Summary
  • Questions and Projects for Further Study

Resources of Communication

  • Resources of Language
  • Nonverbal Resources
  • Visual and Audiovisual Resources
  • Resources of the New Media
  • Summary
  • Questions and Projects for Further Study

Framing and Reframing: The Coactive Approach

  • What are Frames?
  • Metaphors as Frames
  • Frames as Metaphors
  • Cultural Frames and Verbal Repertoires
  • Research on Frames and Reframes
  • Metacommunicative Frames
  • Framing in the News Media
  • Reframing in Political Confrontations: "Going Meta"
  • Reframing in Psychotherapy
  • Summary
  • Questions and Projects for Further Study

Cognitive Shorthands

  • Cialdini’s Seven Principles
  • The Highly Persuadable Persuadee
  • Case Study One: How Doctors Using Shortcuts Puts Your Health at Risk.
  • Case Study Two: How Financial Advertisers Using Shortcuts Puts Your Money at Risk.
  • Case Study Three: How Crooks Using Shortcuts Steal from People Both Gullible and Wise.
  • Summary
  • Questions and Projects for Further Study

Reasoning and Evidence

  • Propositions of Policy, Fact, and Value
  • Changing, Repairing, or Retaining a Policy: The Stock Issues Revisited
  • Types of Evidence as Resources of Argumentation
  • Fallacies Reconsidered
  • The Case of Gulf War Syndrome
  • Summary
  • Questions and Projects for Further Study

Part 3. Context for Persuasion

Going Public: Delivering a Presentation that Persuades

  • The Genuinely Committed Persuader
  • Strategic Planning: A Three-Step Process
  • Making Ideas Stick
  • Organizing Persuasive Presentations
  • Issues in Message Design
  • Adapting to Different or Multiple Audiences
  • Summary
  • Questions and Projects for Further Study

Persuasive Campaigns

  • Campaign Stages and Components
  • Types of Campaigns
  • Summary
  • Question and Projects for Further Study

Staging Political Campaigns

  • Persuasion in the Four Stages of Presidential Campaigning
  • Machiavellianism in Political Campaigns: A Guide to Getting Elected to High Office
  • Campaign Decisions That Matter: Five Case Studies
  • Summary
  • Questions and Projects for Further Study

Analyzing Product Advertising

  • Analyzing Product Advertising
  • What is Advertising?
  • The Changing Character of Advertising Campaigns
  • Today’s Phase: Hypercommunication
  • Breaking With Tradition in the Phase of Hypercommunication: Anti-Ads
  • Misdirection in the Language of Advertising
  • Visual Misdirection in Product Advertising
  • Summary
  • Questions and Projects for Further Study

Talking Through Differences

  • Persuasion in Social Conflicts
  • What are Social Conflicts?
  • Cooperation and Competition in Mixed-Motive Conflicts
  • Symmetrical Versus Asymmetrical Conflicts
  • Destructive versus Productive Conflicts
  • Dealing with Conflicts Productively
  • Doc Reardon’s Negotiating Strategies
  • The Persuasion Dialogue
  • Moving to Dialogue in Interpersonal Conflicts
  • Case 1: A Taped Conversation about a Taped Conversation
  • Case 2: A Structured Conversation about Abortion
  • Summary
  • Questions and Projects for Further Study

Leading Social Movements

  • What Are Social Movements?
  • Types of Social Movements
  • Tactics of Social Movements
  • Social Protests and Mass Media
  • Leading Social Movements: The Requirements-Problems-Strategies (RPS) Approach
  • Open- and Closed-Minded Movements
  • The Fate of Social Movements
  • Summary
  • Questions and Projects for Further Study

More About Ethics

  • The Ethics of Faculty Advocacy in the College Classroom
  • Ethically Problematic Forms and Genres of Persuasion
  • The Mindful Society
  • The Ethics of Being Ethically Sensitive
  • Communication Activism Revisited
  • Summary
  • Questions and Projects for Further Study
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